Why hello there and hello 2018! This is my first blog first in quite a while. I'm not entirely sure what happened to blogging in 2017. I certainly had good intentions to begin with, and you can see from my instagram that I definitely had lots of tasty food in 2017, I just didn't seem to be able to write much of it down. Hey ho, it's a new year and I will try again. There are plenty of exciting things going on in 2018 that will keeep me busy in the kitchen and with my camera - not least the wedding of my little sister. I'm in charge of cake decorating for this, most special of occassions and currently have more ambition than skill so there will be plenty of cake practice recorded on these pages in the months to come. We've also set ourselves a bit of a challenge to waste less food in 2018 but more on that some other time.
This post is all about chocolate. It may be January and you may be full of good intentions about eating healthily but I'm all about the 'everything in moderation' philosophy. I went to a chocolate making class a couple of years ago so every now and then I like to fool making truffles. The run up to Christmas brought with it the nostalgia of ferrero rocher - a Christmas treat from my childhood (back when I could enjoy milk) and I was inspired to have a go at making my own. It's been a long time since I last had a ferrero rocher so I had to do a bit of Googling to remind myself of the technical details - I could remember the whole hazelnut on the inside but had forgotten about the wafer. Apparently, the whole commercial process is incredibly secretive so there could be other steps that both the Internet and I are not aware of but I got the gist. Anywho, armed with this knowledge I set out to make my own.
I've kept the ganache plain so you really focus on the hazelnut-y goodness inside and outside the truffle. Otherwise, there's a whole hazelnut in the centre, silky-smooth ganache around it, then a little tempered chocolate, a coating of chopped hazelnuts and a final layer of tempered chocolate. All of this is dairy-free (and vegan!) but mostly delicious.
I'll set out the step by step instructions below but first a word about tempering chocolate. It's not as scary as you might think. But a digital thermometer is important, possibly essential. From my incredibly unscientific point of view, there are three steps - 1) melting your chocolate, 2) rebuilding it - using non-melted chocolate both to cool your melted chocolate down and to remind it of the molecular structure it should once it has cooled, 3) cooling it down to the right point. This is where the thermometer comes in! You're aiming for 31-32C.
This recipe makes around 40-50 truffles.
- 250g good quality dark chocolate (around 55-60% cocoa solids)
- 160ml coconut cream (I use Waitrose)
- 250g hazelnuts, roasted (leave around 40 whole for the centre of your truffles then blitz the rest to coat the truffles)
- 300g tempered chocolate plus a few extra squares
1. Melt the dark chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water. In a separate saucepan, heat the coconut cream until melted. Gently stir the coconut cream into the melted chocolate. This will take a few minutes, don't rush it. This is your ganache.
2. Once combined, pour the ganache into a disposable piping bag (no nozzle required). Snip the end off the piping bag and pipe onto baking parchment. I snake the ganache around the sheet - with the snake about 1.5-2cm wide. Leave to cool and harden in the fridge for around 30 minutes.
3. Take the ganache out of the fridge. Using a butter knife, cut the ganache into lengths about 5cm long ready to roll into truffle shapes. Roll this ganache into a ball around a roasted hazelnut and then set aside on your baking parchment. Repeat until you have used all your ganache. For these truffles, I would err on the side of making them small as the remaining layers will definitely add heft! Place these naked truffles into the fridge while you temper your chocolate.
4. Now to temper your chocolate. Gently melt 300g good quality dark chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water. Once all the chocolate has melted remove from the heat. Place your digital thermometer in the bowl - the chocolate will be around 55-60C, you're aiming for 31-32C. I'm impatient so I place the glass bowl in a dish with some cold water in the bottom (if I'm really impatient, I add ice), this will kick start the cooling process. Stir the melted chocolate around the bowl. Add in a square of unmelted chocolate and continue stirring. You will notice the temperature of the chocolate is dropping. Continue this process, stirring and adding in squares of chocolate (one at a time) until the thermometer shows a temperature between 31-32C.
5. This tempered chocolate will set very quickly so you'll need to get to work fast. Each truffle needs to be lightly dipped into the tempered chocolate, coated in chopped hazelnuts and then immersed in tempered chocolate again. To do this, drop your naked truffle into the tempered chocolate, roll it around using a fork allowing the excess to drip off before rolling in chopped hazelnuts. I did this for all the truffles by which point my tempered chocolate had set so I re-melted and went through the tempering process again to do the final chocolate-y coating.
6. Once complete, the truffles can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, although they never last that long in our house....