When I meet people for the first time and tell them what I do, the response is ALWAYS the same – ‘You make chocolates? WOW! I’ve always wanted to do that, but it looks so complicated! I’d never be able to do it!’. My response to that is ALWAYS the same – ‘Yes! You can!’. I firmly believe that everyone has the capability to make, at home and with the minimum of specialist ingredients and fuss, gorgeous chocolates that will make everyone else gasp and say (with the most satisfying degree of envy) ‘Did you really make those!?’
You don’t have to be a trained chef, or even really have any experience in the kitchen to make your own basic chocolate creations, and to prove it to you, I’m going to give you a crash course in the basics of chocolate making
So, your journey towards home chocolate-making demigod status starts with a basic ganache truffle – essentially, a thick, creamy mixture made by using equivalent amounts of double cream to chocolate, then flavoured by whatever method you choose. The fantastic thing about ganache is that you can quite literally flavour it any way you like – if you like things on the tipsy side, add a little of your favourite alcohol; if you prefer things a little more zingy, add some zest and juice to the mix; if nuts float your boat, chop some up and chuck them in – the choices are endless, and entirely yours!
Ultimately, the basic truffle mixture, whilst being smooth, chocolatey and moreish in the extreme, can be altered and enhanced to make it…whatever you want it to be. This is the beauty of chocolate 😉
A basic ganache truffle is absolutely the EASIEST thing in the world to make, with no need for any fancy-pants equipment or ingredients, so you should be able to pull what you need out of your kitchen cupboards.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES
There are number of ways in which to finish your truffles – coating the completed balls of amazingness in high quality cocoa powder, rolling them in crushed nuts – or you can make them look REALLY awesome and dip them in melted chocolate, which will give you a finish similar to those truffles that you’d buy from an artisan chocolatier; the entire truffle will be coated by chocolate, thus ‘enrobing’ the soft centre. Personally, I believe that an enrobed truffle is, quite simply, the best. They not only look amazing, but the contrast between the crunch of the hardened chocolate exterior with the smooth flowing interior really is hard to beat. If you choose to do this (and I highly recommend that you do!) then you’ll need the following:
Professionally enrobed chocolates are coated with tempered chocolate – this is chocolate that has been heated then cooled to specific temperatures, thus changing the structure of the molecules within the chocolate, making it easier to work with and enabling it to dry to a high shine. Tempering chocolate manually can be a tricky business, because actually getting it to temper in the first place takes practice, while keeping it in temper takes ALOT of practice.
So! With this in mind, it may be politic NOT to temper the chocolate that you’ll be enrobing your truffles with! In which case, you now have two options remaining:
If anyone really does have a burning desire to learn how to temper chocolate then let me know and I’ll devote another post to it 😀
The truffles themselves really are the work of moments, involving heating the cream, mixing it with the chocolate and flavourings, and leaving it to cool before rolling small amounts into balls and re-cooling them. If you then choose to just encase them in crushed nuts, or cocoa powder, then they’ll be finished in no time. If, however, you choose to enrobe them in chocolate, coating or otherwise, then it’ll take a little more time, but not obscenely so.
So!! How do you make truffles? That’s how! Super easy, super quick!! Go on…give it a try 😉
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