To me, love from me.x
This is my first foray into the world of making chocolates, and I’m pleased to report it has been a resounding success! Loved ones were the recipient of early Christmas presents as I was far too excited to wait for the big day, oops! I really must work on my patience, but I’m sure if you make these and can bear to give them away then you won’t want to wait either. These also work without the Baileys as a chocolate ganache, you could always experiment and make the ganache with white chocolate and the case with milk chocolate and vice versa. Prepare to become very popular…
If you’d rather start off a little simpler, forget the ganache and follow the stages for the cases, but instead of thin layers, fill some festive moulds to make solid chocolate shapes which are just as tasty!
I would recommend doing some research into tempering chocolate (that is, the technique of melting the chocolate so that it remains glossy with a nice ‘snap’ when you bite into it, avoiding the unsightly white bloom that you sometimes see when chocolate has got too warm in summer), there are some excellent details guides floating about but I will do my best to explain what I have learned.
The #1 golden rule: Don’t let any water come into contact with your melting chocolate, not even a drop. It will cause it to ‘seize’ and form a solid lumpen mess, and it’s a crying shame to waste good chocolate.
Chocolate chips should also be avoided, as they are formulated to hold their shape during baking, when you want the opposite! Some people find success by microwaving the chocolate, but I prefer to temper it in an improvised bain marie set up, with a pyrex/heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water, just enough so that it doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl, complete with my trusty thermospatula to keep an eye on the heat.
For this recipe, because the ganache can sometimes take a while to thicken in the fridge (an hour and a half the first time I made these!) I prefer to make the ganache first and then make the shells while it sets, but you can do it the other way round if you like.
You will need
Silicone chocolate mould (I got mine from http://www.lakeland.co.uk/16442/Silicone-Chocolate-Box-Shapes)
For the outer shells/cases:
200g milk chocolate (I use Tesco Finest milk chocolate for cooking, as I’ve had excellent results without breaking the bank. You can use any good quality chocolate though.)
For the ganache:
35ml Baileys (or 50ml if you want a stronger flavour)
120ml double cream
60g unsalted butter
140g milk chocolate
For the ganache:
1) Chop up the 140g milk chocolate for your ganache into small pieces.
2) In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the cream and heat until it just reaches boiling, stirring all the time.
3) Remove the pan from the heat. Add the Baileys and chopped chocolate, stirring while it melts.
4) Place in a bowl in the fridge with cling film over it to thicken (this can take an hour or so, you could even do this overnight if you like but it might make it a bit harder to distribute evenly.) Check every half hour or so and stir.
For the casing:
1) Chop up the 200g milk chocolate. Set 50g to one side.
Resist. It’s worth it!
2)Pour about 2 inches of boiling water into a saucepan. Set a heatproof/pyrex bowl over the top, ensuring the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Add 150g of the chocolate to the bowl, and stir until it melts, until it reaches 110f/43c for milk or white, or 115f/48c for dark.
3) Remove from the heat, wrap the bottom of the bowl in a tea towel. Add the remaining 50g of chocolate, the heat of the existing chocolate will melt this down. Keep stirring until the temperature drops to 28c/82f.
4)Heat again slowly to 32c/88f. Do not let it exceed this. Using a spoon or a silicone pastry brush, spread a thin layer around the moulds. You can do two or three thin layers if you like, so don’t worry if the first one looks a little thin. Put in the fridge to set for a few minutes between layers.
Don’t worry if it’s a little messy!
5) Pipe (or spoon if you don’t have a piping bag) the ganache until each mould, ensuring it doesnt go all the way to the top.
6)Spoon the remaining melted chocolate over the top to form a ‘lid’. Place into the fridge to set.
See? Messy! Chocolatey, tasty mess.
7)Ideally after an hour minimum, the chocolates should pop out of the mould easily. You can trim any of the excess chocolate from the edges for a neat appearance.
Trimming any excess from the edges. Note the nice shine from the tempering.
Lonely truffle. It’ll be sad if you don’t eat it.
8) Enjoy! I put this into bags of five for gifts, you could mix these with solid chocolate shapes or other flavours of truffles.
Once you’re feeling a bit more confident, you can experiment with different flavour combinations/decorations. Next up is white chocolate truffles with chambord liqueur filling! Check back soon.