Sunday, 21 December 2008


For Christmas, I decided to make boxes of truffles to give to people. I made some a while back, but they were plain ones just coated in cocoa. I was ready to be a bit more adventurous this time. I decided to make 5 flavours: Baileys, champagne, cappuccino, praline and plain.

After gathering a rather large quantity of ingredients (including 12 bars of chocolate!) and raiding the cupboards in my mum's house, I got to work. The first job was making the praline. I used this recipe although I only followed the praline section and used other recipes for the final truffles. It was pretty simple, and was a basic caramel of sugar and water with chopped hazelnuts added at the end. However, since the caramel cake the other week had suffered from crystallized caramel which I had to separate, I was super careful this time about not stirring it too much and regularly brushing down the sides of the pan with cold water.

Making the caramel syrup

Once the caramel started to turn brown, I added the nuts and poured it in to a lightly oiled tin to cool.

The praline as it cooled

Next up was making the basic truffle mix. I combined several recipes, and even then did my own thing for the flavourings. I used a recipe from Green and Black's for the ganache base, and then used this recipe from Suite 101 to get a guide on how to flavour them.

825g of chocolate!

I was planning to make 4 large boxes, one for my mum, dad, next-door neighbours and T's parents. The Green and Black's recipe made 36, so I tripled the quantity to get enough (plus a few extra for me to sample...)

Melting the chocolate over a pan

I melted all the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. This took quite a while as there was so much! Once that was done, I added the cream, and split the mixture into 5 bowls, one for each flavour. For the Baileys one, I added a whole Baileys miniature, as adding a small amount didn't seem to give much taste. Similarly, the champagne truffle mix (strictly it was Cava but who can really taste the difference in this context?) didn't seem to take on much flavour. Reading up about it since, I think I should have used Marc de Champagne as well as fizz to give it a more intense taste. The coffee truffles were fairly simple to do, and only a couple of teaspoons of espresso gave a good flavour. For the praline one, I whizzed up the praline in a blender until it was very finely chopped, and added a few spoonfuls of this until the melted chocolate had some taste as well as a bit of crunch in it.

Chilling the 5 flavours

Once all the flavours had cooled, I attempted to shape them into balls. This was not easy and my hands seemed too warm. Everytime I tried to shape the ganache it seemed to melt away. I also tried using a melon baller. In the end, my mum helped me , using a combination of hand rolled and melon baller, as we worked out that the only way to do it with such a large quantity was to work in batches and constantly return the mixture to fridge once it become too soft. Eventually we ended up with 5 trays of vaguely spherical truffles.

My original plan was to dip the truffles in melted chocolate, but I didn't have enough to be able to submerge them fully and quickly remove them. This meant that I had to roll them in melted chocolate, which wasn't ideal as they would start to melt instead of taking on a shell of hard chocolate. Instead, I lined them up on a tray and poured the melted chocolate over the top. This wasn't perfect, as there were gaps in the enrobing, and it would have been better to do it on a wire rack so excess chocolate could drip away. However, I eventually managed to complete all the chocolates. I decorated each type differently so they could be identified in the box.
  • Plain - Piped in to swirl shapes with cocoa dusting
  • Cappuccino - White chocolate coating with cocoa dusting
  • Champagne - White chocolate coating with sugar dusting
  • Baileys - Milk chocolate coating with dark stripes
  • Praline - Milk chocolate coating with crushed praline topping
Baileys truffles

Praline truffles
Champagne truffles being trimmed

The problem with doing the coating on a baking sheet was that when it was time to pack them in the boxes they were a bit messy around the base, so I had to trim each one with a knife to get a smooth edge. I packaged them all up in petit fours cases, and packed them into three layered chocolate boxes.

Packing the chocolates (Cappuccino and a plain truffle)

For a first attempt I was quite happy with how they turned out, although they weren't as pristine looking as I hoped. I would try these again, and would quite like to go for some more adventurous flavours next time.