Who doesn’t love chocolate truffles? How can one fail to fall for their silky, yet devastating, texture? No offence to those of you who, for some reason, dislike these smooth balls of bliss, but I may find myself sorely tempted to call into question your sanity and/or reprimand your taste buds. Not only this, but truffles are the ultimate form of expression in food – one can truly make them one’s own by adding whatever flavour one desires, almost anything goes. Though most people don’t realise it, chocolate is one of those incredibly versatile ingredients that is only very rarely at odds with the flavour one chooses to couple it with. Such versatility also implies that they make the perfect gift, for if the generous party knows whether the receiver has a penchant for a certain fruit, drink, or something a little more adventurous, then that flavour can almost certainly be instilled within the confines of a truffle.
This recipe is taken from the Green and Black’s chocolate recipe book, which is a goliath among its kind. The book is incredible; it is impossible to open any one of the pages without one’s salivary glands wanting to get in on the action. If you are looking for a cookbook specifically geared towards the cooking and preparation of chocolate, look no further, the Holy Grail of cocoa-literature has been found.
Since this is a blog about frugal gastronomy, one feels one must say a few words regarding this aim. I thoroughly dislike all recipes that call for ‘good quality’ chocolate to be used. There is, in my opinion, very little difference between chocolate that costs 50p per 100g and chocolate that costs £2 per 100g, particularly after said chocolate has been cooked and mixed with other ingredients. I am perfectly confident that I could cook two batches of truffles, one using the more expensive brand and one using the less expensive brand and there would be no way to tell them apart. It is true that they may not taste exactly alike, or be of exactly the same quality, if eaten as a snack, but for the purposes of cooking using the more expensive brand is merely an appalling waste of money. Perhaps there would be a discernable difference if one plumped for a fantastically expensive brand of chocolate, the type only found in specialist shops, but that smacks of imbecility.
That turned out to be quite the rant, didn’t it? This is why I am, at the best of times, to be left in the dank corner of a basement, whilst my guests enjoy their freshly cooked and entirely personalised selection of chocolate truffles. As one or two of you will have hopefully discerned this recipe aims to provide you with two types of truffle. However, I see very little point in making two distinct recipes for such a simple variation. The first type of truffle will be a very basic, yet wholly delicious, dark chocolate truffle. The second will be an entirely more interesting chocolate orange truffle. To perform the transformation all one must do is add two teaspoons of finely grated orange zest to half of the mixture – the flavour this brings is really quite striking.
• 275g dark chocolate, finely chopped
• 250ml double cream
• 50g unsalted butter at room temperature
• 50g cocoa powder
• 2 tsp of orange zest, finely grated
• 50g white chocolate, optional
1. Place the dark chocolate in a large bowl, heat the cream until it has just started boiling and pour it over the chocolate. Stir this gently until all of the chocolate has melted. Leave this mixture to cool for a few minutes and then gently stir in the butter until it has been fully incorporated. If one wants to make chocolate orange truffles divide the truffle mixture into two bowls and mix the orange zest into one half of the mixture. Leave the truffle mixture to cool and set in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours.
2. Remove the ganache from the fridge about 15 minutes before you want to make the truffles. Dust your hands with cocoa powder and begin rolling spoonfulls of the chocolate mixture into cocoa covered balls roughly 2-2.5 cm in diameter. If one would like some added decoration one may melt a little white chocolate and flick it over the truffles, we did this in order to distinguish between the two types of truffles. Be careful to do this on greaseproof paper and allow the white chocolate enough time to set. The truffles can then be returned to the fridge and kept for up to 2 days in an air tight container.
Cost: These truffles may seem decadent, but the price one should expect to pay for the entire batch is £2.20. This is simply fantastic when you consider that a box of chocolates containing this many truffles would bring one to one’s financial knees.