I must admit I never really bought into the whole homemade gifts thing. Then a couple of years ago I made chocolate truffles for work colleagues at Christmas. As an impoverished charity worker, this was more by necessity than desire. However, the truffles were so well received that I wouldn’t hesitate to do the same another year.
The truffles I made on that occasion were these melting middle ones from BBC Good Food. It’s still one of my favourite homemade sweet recipes although they are extremely messy to make. For something a little more decadent, Dan Lepard’s dark chocolate truffle cubes from “Short and Sweet” are also good. Laced with mascarpone and honey, Dan’s truffles are creamy, rich and utterly luxurious.
With December fast approaching, I figured that it was the ideal time to perfect some new truffle recipes for Christmas. Taking boozy inspiration from some South African favourites, I decided to flavour them with Shiraz and Amarula. (Not together I hasten to add as that would surely be gross!)
The Shiraz truffles are adapted from a recipe I saw in Taste magazine. I was intrigued by the pairing of red wine and dark chocolate but it is a winner. The wine isn’t that detectable in the finished product but what you do get is a lovely rich, dark truffle with soft berry notes – very similar to a high end dark chocolate. (It reminded me of Willie’s Cacao.) You could use other red wines instead of Shiraz but make certain it’s a glass of something fairly robust to ensure the flavours come through.
The Amarula truffles are made with white chocolate and I must admit that I feared these were going to be rather sweet. However, I needn’t of worried as they were absolutely gorgeous – creamy, dreamy and rich. I would suggest buying a pretty decent white chocolate for these though. I used Lindt white chocolate with a hint of vanilla and it was perfect.
These white chocolate truffles do take longer to set than their darker counterparts so I would suggest chilling the mixture in the freezer to speed up the process. Do bear in mind though that I made these on a scorching South African summer’s day so the setting duration will depend on the temperature of your kitchen. Each recipe makes about 10 truffles but can be easily multiplied.
Chocolate Truffles Flavoured with Shiraz and Amarula
For the Shiraz truffles:
- 30ml whipping cream
- 100g dark chocolate
- 10g butter
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 60ml Shiraz or other robust red wine (South African, of course!)
- cocoa for dusting
1. Gently melt the cream, chocolate and butter on the hob or in the microwave. Beat lightly with an electric whisk until smooth.
2. In a small pan, bring the wine and sugar to the boil, stirring to ensure the sugar is dissolved, then remove from the heat. Allow to cool slightly.
3. Beat the wine into the chocolate mixture and continue to whisk until the chocolate is at room temperature. (A tip I gleaned from Dan Lepard is that beating the truffle mixture as it cools gives the truffles a nice, smooth texture.)
4. Transfer the truffle mixture to the fridge and chill for 2 hours or until set. With cocoa dusted hands, take small teaspoons of the mixture and roll it into balls and then coat in cocoa powder. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
For the Amarula truffles:
- 150g white chocolate
- 10g butter
- 60ml whipping cream
- 2 tsp Amarula liqueur
- desiccated coconut for dusting
1. Gently melt the chocolate, butter and cream on the hob or in the microwave. Beat with an electric whisk until smooth, fluffy and slightly lighter in colour.
2. Whisk in the Amarula and continue to beat until the mixture reaches room temperature.
3. Freeze the mixture for 2 hours or until set. If the mixture is not set after 2 hours, spoon dollops of the mixture on to a lined baking sheet and return to the freezer for another hour.
4. Once firm, roll teaspoonfuls of the mixture into small balls and then coat in desiccated coconut. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.