By: Katy Boys
Meal Type: Dessert
Cook time: 3 Hours
Servings: A hearty portion
A box of homemade truffles makes a very special gift for a loved one. They are so easy to make (if a little messy!) and the flavour variations are endless. If you’ve ever struggled with chocolate seizing when working with chocolate, try our ‘hands-off’ ganache – it is foolproof and results in a beautifully silky ganache with minimal effort. Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, play around with favourite flavours and finishes to create a bespoke selection of melt-in-the-mouth chocolates.
The addition of butter is optional – it makes for a very smooth texture. If you prefer a firmer truffle, feel free to omit!
- Break the chocolate into pieces and place in an ovenproof dish along with the cream, sugar and butter. Place on a grid shelf in the centre of the simmering oven for 20-30 minutes until completely melted. Give a little stir halfway through.
- Remove the dish from the oven and gently stir until combined and you have a smooth, glossy ganache. Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine. Set aside to cool (do not cover) for 2 hours at (cool) room temperature. Once the ganache is cool, move to the fridge for around half an hour to firm up further.
- Scoop small spoonfuls of ganache and roll into balls (this is messy – I recommend using disposable gloves). If you like your truffles to be perfectly round you can then put them back in the fridge to firm up again and lightly re-roll before decorating. Otherwise, roll the truffles in cocoa powder, decorate with raspberry pieces or drizzle with a little melted white chocolate.
Tips for use with Aga range cookers...
- The gentle heat of the simmering oven is ideal for melting a large quantity of chocolate. Do ensure that your bowl and spoon are totally dry – water is the enemy of melting chocolate!
- Melt any chocolate for decorating by sitting in a small dish on the top of the cooker.
- When the ganache is cooling, move away from your Aga range cookers warmth. Ideally move to another, cooler room.
Notes and variations...
- It may sound obvious, but do choose a chocolate that you like! If you have a sweet tooth, you may prefer to choose a chocolate with a lower cocoa content – Lindt do a great 51% cocoa content dark chocolate. Higher is not always better. If you use a higher cocoa content, you may want to add a little more sugar. You could also try using a flavoured chocolate. Don’t be tempted to use milk chocolate though as the ganache won’t set with this quantity of cream.
- The ganache can be flavoured in many ways – most supermarkets now stock a host of excellent natural extracts – orange, coffee or caramel are all great combinations. If you want to give your truffles a bit of a hit, try rum or amaretto. If using alcohol, you will need to add this at the beginning, before the chocolate melts. If you add at the end, you risk the ganache splitting. Do be aware that the more liquid you add to the ganache, the longer it will take to set. Too much and it won’t set at all!
- Decorate the truffles as you wish – you could dip the truffles in melted white or milk chocolate. Ideally you would ‘temper’ the chocolate so that it has a pleasing snap and shine, but regular melted chocolate will also give a nice effect. Toasted chopped nuts, flaked milk chocolate, desiccated coconut, crystallised ginger or bright green matcha powder all look great and compliment the dark chocolate.