A day spent at Bord Bia is a day spent well, in my humble opinion. So when the lovely Maeve contacted us about a day to learn some new photography and style skills I jumped at the opportunity. Our last visit to the Bord Bia headquarters resulted in a fantastic day, a serious improvement in my photography skills, and lots of new friends. And today resulted in the same. Today also resulted in SERIOUS food loot. I think Maeve thought she was chancing her arm when she suggested we could always bring a few baked treats for tea. Little did she know the Bord Bia tables would soon be groaning under the weight of insane amounts of sweets and treats. (Now I am groaning under the weight of said sweets and treats. Happy…)
I’m going to put the photos up in a separate post, I didn’t take too many as I was, as always, (pffft) being an attentive and eager student. Heh. So for now, I am going to bequeath onto you my mostly made up but pretty darn good chocolate truffle recipe. I made these at christmas for presents, and for my last coffee/tea course in my Come Dine With Me night, and boy are they tasty.
Without further ado…
What you need:
Makes about 15 2 bite truffles per 200g chocolate. Depending on how many or who you’re serving, you can do more or less!
For the praline coating/filling
What to do
1. Break your chocolate into small pieces and put into a heatproof bowl along with your cream.
2. Making sure the bowl isn’t touching the water, melt over a pan of simmering water. Don’t worry if it looks bitty and grainy, give it a good beating with a whisk or wooden spoon and the two will combine to make a delicious looking amalgam of chocolate creamy goodness
3. As soon as the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat, make sure it’s evenly mixed, and add your spoons of butter and your baileys to the chocolate. Give a good stir so that the butter melts and baileys gets distributed into the mix. Taste after each spoon to make sure it tastes amazing. It will.
4. Now comes the impatient part. Leave in a cool place for mixture to chill out and harden slightly. You don’t want to freeze it, and you may get away with chilling it in the fridge if your house is warm. Every 20 minutes or so, give it a good stir so that it all chills evenly.
5. I’d say don’t go eating it but you should probably test it. In spoonfuls. Yummy yummy spoonfuls. For quality control of course. Not because it’s delicious.
A. This is when I usually make my praline. First, get some tinfoil or baking paper and line a tin. Spray a little oil (just a little) to prevent sugar sticking. Ok. Now. Add your sugar and water to a pan, give a quick stir and then put away the spoon, put on a medium heat, and leave to melt. I use a thermometer for this but you don’t have to. You want to get it to caramel stage- which is when it turns deep golden but not burnt red. Keep a bowl of ice water near the pan in case of sugar burns, which are horrific, so be careful. I speak from experience. As it’s melting, work with your hazelnuts.
B. Put your hazelnuts on a baking tray, and pop under a medium grill for about 3-4 mins, give a wee shake, and put back in. You want them toasted, not burned. Alternatively, you can pop them in a 180 degree oven for 5-10 mins. Take out carefully, and take a few sheets of kitchen roll. With a piece or two of kitchen roll in each hand, take a small handful of nuts at a time and roll between the paper until the skin flakes off. You can be rough here, nothing is going to hurt those hazelnuts, hardy nuts they are. Do this until all the nuts are skinless or mostly skinless. Set aside and wait for your caramel to be cooked.
C. When your caramel is cooked, take it off the heat quickly, and add your hazelnuts immediately and stir to coat them all. Empty on to your prepared tin, and spread out so that it’s about one hazelnut thickness. This makes it easier when it comes to the fun part. Leave to cool/harden
D. When the praline is hard, wrap it up or put it in a ziplock bag, and proceed to bash the living daylights out of it. This is fun. Enjoy it. You can leave it chunky, or blitz it to a finer powder in a processor. Beware though, it’s hard on the blade of your processor. This gives you a wonderful golden powder. And lot’s of it. But that’s the way I threw stuff in the pan and it’s yummy over everything, so put about half into an airtight container and store it for desserts. The other half you can spread on the sheet where your truffles are going to rest. You’ll be rolling them in it and preventing sticking. Suhweet. Literally. Set aside for laters
6. Now. You want to work with your chocolate when it’s just setting. If it’s too warm, they’ll turn to mush. If it hardens too much, the outside will melt in your hands and you still won’t actually be able to shape it into anything. Whilst licking your fingers after is super fun, it’s quite unproductive as a method. My advice is that when it begins to get difficult to stir, but you still aren’t just scraping at hard chocolate, start shaping your truffles. If they do get to hard, leave in a warm place for a few minutes, give a good stir and set to work when they’re the right consisitency
- 7. Shape into balls, or your preferred shape. Sometimes I just scoop out a spoonful and shape into pyramids by scooping it off with another spoon. Don’t bother trying to make them too regular shaped, homemade truffles aren’t perfect by a long shot, and they do look nice when they’re craggy or irregular. In my humble opinion. Top tip: I use a mini ice cream scoop for massive truffles, or a teaspoon measuring spoon for smaller cutesy ones. But that way they’re about even sized at least
- When you are happy with your shape, then roll in your previously prepared praline powder, or perhaps one of the alternative coatings above. You can also leave them plain, but hey, where’s the fun in that. Leave to set as they will have melted somewhat in the making. I generally store in an airtight container in the fridge (I don’t know if that’s the wrong thing to do, but it works for me, and there’s cream in them). They’ve never lasted more than two days. Oh actually no, there were a few that got forgotten about and were still good after about 5. To me anyhow. But they won’t last 5 days. They rarely last 5 hours. Eat them. Yum.
Well there you have it. Home made chocolates, and easily made. Despite the essays for each point above. Sorry. But I tried to cover any possible questions. Should you have any, feel free to leave me a comment below, and do let me know if you try them and how you liked them. I sure do love a comment.
I’m off to eat chocolate. I like chocolate. I don’t know if you noticed. It may come as a shock, I know. Enjoy your truffles!