Keeping up my tradition of making Christmas hampers for family and friends, this past week has been rather chaotic in our kitchen !
Kathryn (my cousin) moved to Norfolk at the beginning of this month and has joined us as a full time staff member. Unaware of how much work needed to be done to create the hampers, she was quite keen on me roping her in for some extra assistance.
Home made and hand rolled fresh cream truffles are a real luxury. They are very different to store bought chocolates and generally have a much shorter shelf life - although they'll store 1 to 2 weeks if refrigerated, longer if you use long life cream.
As you can see - we made a LOT of truffles and unfortunately it turned out there were not even any left overs. I'm guessing there were around 180 truffles in total.
Truffles are actually quite easy to make - but this is time consuming and messy. If you can't bear getting sticky and messy, then making these may not be a project you will enjoy. However, if you can ignore that bit and prepared that chocolate WILL get everywhere, then the resulting chocolates look really good indeed.
A bit of pretty packaging really sets them off !
We'll be stocking the chocolate box inners, stock card to create them and Crafters Companion Boxer Tool, boards and Ultimate Companion Pro at www.siliconemoulds.com from January 2013.
The actual box is made using A4 card stock and a simple box making tool - both of which we will also be offering for sale (including many card designs). The boxes are simple and easy to make and will really make the difference by giving the end product a very professional finish.
I'm currently in the process of noting down some sizes for boxes I'm making to fit around the various sizes of chocolate box inners. Hopefully I'll be able to do a pdf or tutorial post very soon showing both the finished boxes with the dimensions which will make it simple for blog followers to re-create these at home.
In this finished box of 24 truffles, there are 4 different types :
Whisky and honey in a milk chocolate shell
Sour cherry and dark chocolate rolled in cocoa powder
Malibu and toasted coconut in white chocolate
Coffee cream in a double thick white chocolate shell
To make the ganache fillings, you will need to scald some double cream by bringing it to the boil I like to add a tablespoon of corn syrup or glucose to the cream. This helps extend the lifespan a little and but without affecting taste and helps the cream and chocolate emulsify for a smoother feel in your mouth.
Pour the scaled cream over some good quality Belgian chocolate. Allow the cream to melt the chocolate and then stir to combine. If the chocolate has not fully melted, carefully zap for a few seconds in the microwave if required.
Add any flavourings or add ins at this point and then allow to set. Setting can take several hours in the fridge (preferably over night) or an hour in the freezer.
Some ganaches will be softer than others, and the ratio that you use of chocolate to cream may depend on the chocolate brand and type. Dark chocolate is generally a 1 : 1 ratio of chocolate to cream. Use less cream for milk chocolate and less again for white.
Whisky and Honey - 300g of milk chocolate, 200g of double cream, 1 tablespoon of whisky, 1 tablespoon of honey
Sour Cherry and Dark Chocolate - 300g of dark chocolate, 300g of double cream, 1 teaspoon of liquid glucose, 4 tablespoons (about 100g) of sour cherry jam
Malibu and Toasted Coconut - 350g white chocolate, 120g double cream, 1 tablespoon of Malibu, 3 tablespoons of toasted dessicated coconut ( plus an extra tablespoon or two for sprinkling later ), 1 teaspoon of liquid glucose
Coffee Cream - 300g milk chocolate, 250g double cream, 1 x sachet of Starbucks Vie instant ground coffee, 1 teaspoon liquid glucose
To make the ganache fillings, put the cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer (stirring constantly) to scald. Add the liquid glucose and then pour over the chocolate.
Leave for a minute or so - the heat of the cream will start to melt the chocolate and then stir from the centre outward until all combined. When the chocolate has melted, add in the alcohol if using and any other extras (such as coconut or jam)
Allow to cool and then refrigerate until chilled until firm.
Take about 1/2 to 3/4 size teaspoon amounts of the ganache and roll into balls. NOTE - your hands need to be as cold as possible. This stuff is sticky and melts fast !
Dust your hands in either icing sugar (for dipping in any chocolate) or cocoa powder before rolling in milk / dark chocolate.
Refrigerate the balls until firm before dipping in tempered chocolate of your choice.
After dipping, drizzle with contrasting melted chocolate, sprinkle nuts / coconut etc on top, or roll in cocoa powder for an intense chocolatey hit.
To make the tartan chocolate box shown, I used one sheet of A4 Tartan card stock and one sheet of A4 gold card stock. Trim the card to 21cm wide x 27cm long.
Use your Crafters Companion Boxing Tool and score the card for the box lid at 2.5cm all the way round. Turn the Boxing tool round and 2.5cm for the base on the gold card. The tool is specially designed for the box tops and bottoms to be a slightly different size so the two slot neatly together.
Fold the edges on the score lines and cut the corners as shown in the instructions for the Boxer tool. You will need to glue these or use double sided sticky tape. See my chocolate packaging video on Youtube for a demonstration of a box being made.
I used 2 x 12 cell chocolate blister packs inside this box. I cut out the front and put acetate behind.