Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chocolate Truffles

Christmas recipe makes: 2 dozen

Calories per truffle: 65

Preparation time: 30 – 60 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

Suitable for freezing

Christmas recipe ingredients:

Truffle Mixture:

* chocolate, bitter, plain or milk 225g (8 oz)
* double cream, 75 ml (3 fl oz)
* brandy, 75 ml (3 fl oz)
or rum,orange liqueur, coffee liqueur, coconut liqueur

Rolled Truffles:

* cocoa powder
* chopped nuts
* coconut, dessicated or grated
* chocolate vermicelli or grated choclate for rolling

Dipped Truffles:

* chocolate, plain, milk or white (350 g (12 oz)
or mixture of all three

Christmas recipe instructions:

1. Truffle Mixture: Add the cream to grated chocolate and melt in a bowl over water at boiling point, stirring until smooth. Allow to cool and thicken.
2. Add your alcohol of choice and whisk until the mixture is strong enough to stay 'up' when a strand of mixture is pulled up by the whisk. Then put the mixture into a shallow tin (covered) and cool till firm.
3. Rolled Truffles: Place teaspoonful size amounts of truffle mixture onto a tray sprinkled with cocoa powder and roll into ball shapes. Alternatively you can substitute the cocoa with grated chocolate, chopped nuts, coconut, or chocolate vermicelli. Cool in a refrigerator for at least two hours.
4. Dipped Truffles: Roll the truffle mixture into 2.5 cm (1 inch) size balls and freeze overnight until rock hard. [If you wish you could push some edible decor into the balls before cooling, such as nuts, ginger or cherries.]
5. Prepare some melted chocolate over water at boiling point. If you can, check the temperature is in the range 46-49 degrees centigrade (115-120 F) or for white chocolate, 43 degrees centigrade.
6. Taking two or three truffles at a time, use cocktail sticks to dip them into the melted chocolate before placing them on non-stick paper. Transfer to a refrigerator for cooling for at least two hours to harden. Repeat for the remaining truffles.
7. Present the truffles in paper cases and store in boxes. Keep in a refrigerator for up to ten days.

Fragrant Indian Brittle


• Vegetable oil for greasing parchment paper
• 1 teaspoon green cardamom pods (about 8 pods)
• 2 cups sugar
• 1/4 cup mild honey
• 1/4 cup light corn syrup
• 1/4 cup water
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup raw cashews, coarsely chopped (4 1/2 oz)
• 1/2 cup shelled pistachios (not dyed red; 2 1/4 oz), coarsely chopped
• 1/2 cup sliced almonds (preferably with skin; 2 oz)

Special equipment: parchment paper; a candy thermometer

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 300°F. Lightly oil 2 (16- by 12-inch) sheets of parchment paper with vegetable oil and put 1 sheet, oiled side up, on a heatproof work surface.

Crush cardamom pods with side of a large heavy knife and scrape out seeds, discarding pods. Coarsely crush seeds with mortar and pestle or side of heavy knife.

Bring sugar, honey, corn syrup, water, crushed cardamom seeds, and salt to a boil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, then boil, stirring occasionally, until mixture registers 350°F on thermometer, about 9 minutes.

Add nuts and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture returns to a boil, about 1 minute. Carefully pour hot caramel mixture onto parchment on work surface (use caution when pouring hot liquids) and carefully cover with remaining sheet of parchment, oiled side down. Immediately roll out mixture between parchment sheets, pressing firmly with a large wooden rolling pin to 1/4 inch thick (use caution; mixture will still be hot). If brittle hardens before it is thin enough, transfer to a large baking sheet (still between parchment sheets) and warm brittle in oven 5 minutes to soften, then continue rolling to 1/4 inch thick.

Cool brittle until firm enough to hold its shape but still pliable, 2 to 5 minutes, then remove top sheet of parchment. Lightly oil blade of a large heavy knife or a pizza cutter and score surface of brittle into 1 1/2-inch squares. If brittle hardens too much to score, transfer to a large baking sheet and warm on parchment, uncovered, until surface softens, about 5 minutes, then immediately score remaining lines. Cool brittle completely, uncovered, about 30 minutes. Invert brittle and peel off bottom sheet of parchment, then break into pieces.

Brittle keeps in an airtight container, layered between sheets of parchment or wax paper, at room temperature 1 month.