Valentine’s Day is the marmite of all the celebrations; people seem to either love it or hate it (I’m actually fairly in the middle on the whole thing, much like my relationship to marmite). The US tends to go mad for Valentine’s*…but let’s be fair, they’re a lot more chipper about everything than the rest of the world anyway. We Brits stay true to form, far more cynical, but with the inherent sense of obligation that both forces us to celebrate something, and then resent the enjoyment we get from it.
Chocolates are a typical Val Day gift, but they tend to lack the personal touch that well, let’s face it, is the fault of the whole shebang. I figure if you’re going to do it, do it right, make your own.
Whatever continent you live on, and whatever occasion you’re celebrating this February, here’s another recipe fresh from my kitchen. Great for gifting or gorging on, I present milk chocolate truffles with a hint of salty maple goodness.
* source: Pinterest…which is a completely accurate representation of American life.
You will need:
500g Milk chocolate
75ml Evaporated milk
50ml Double cream
1 to 1 and a half tbsp Maple syrup
2 tsp Salted butter
Pinch of table salt
Rock salt to decorate
Makes 20-30 truffles
Chop 250g of the chocolate finely, and place in a bowl. The more you chop the easier the cream will melt it. Use a bread/serrated knife for this…you can thank me later…I just changed your life.
Put the cream, evaporated milk, maple syrup, a pinch of salt, and the 2 tsp of butter in a small pan.
Don’t put more than a tablespoon and a half of maple syrup in your truffle filling – whilst tasting delicious it won’t set up, ergo it won’t be easy to cover in chocolate (yes, I did find out the hard way, but I’m kind enough to give you recipe 2.0).
Place on a low heat and bring to the boil, stir regularly. Leave that heat on low, I mean it! Patience is the way to go with cream, it’s the hormonal teenager of the baking world (volatile and breaks down easily).
Once the cream starts to bubble, take off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir quickly with a hand whisk until all the chocolate is melted and it’s thick and glossy.
Once your truffle mix is holding its shape (pull the whisk out and dribble it around, if it’s not merging back into one clump then it’s good to go) put into a piping bag/good quality sandwich bag. If you’re impatient then stick it in the fridge or freezer to help it along (but don’t forget about it – you don’t want it to be un pipe-able)
Snip off the corner and pipe into evenly sized blobs. Don’t worry if they are a bit misshapen, this is just to ensure evenly sized truffles more than anything. My mix wasn’t quite solid enough when I did it above (this is partly because it was the too-much-maple batch) so wait a while longer than that.
Leave for another 15-20 minutes.
Roll truffles into balls. You will need cold hands for this, I found washing them in cold water a few times throughout helped. You might need to give them a little squash first so that they roll (you’ll understand when you get there).
Melt the remaining chocolate (keep about 50g back for a moment). You want to put it in a fairly small bowl so it’s nice and deep for dunking.
Do this in a microwave, but watch it closely, it turns in seconds. Pop it in for 30 seconds to start it off and then 10 second intervals, stirring in between.
Once it’s fully melted put the remaining 50g in and allow the heat from the rest of the chocolate to melt that too. This will help to temper it making the texture and shine better in the end product.
Find something to dip with. You can buy fancy tools for this but I happened to have a metal kebab skewer with a whirly bit on the end. If you don’t, then snap the middle two prongs off a plastic fork.
I’ve tried to show the stages above, but essentially: 1. Tilt bowl and put truffle on dipper 2. Drop into melted chocolate 3. Lift out using dipper 4. Flip over and drop back in to coat the other side 5. Lift out and allow excess chocolate to drip off.
Don’t tap dipper on the side of the bowl, or your truffle will get stuck onto it. If you are overwhelmed by the urge to tap, then sort of thwack it on the melted chocolate, sounds counter productive but it does work.
Dip all the truffles and rest on greaseproof paper in rows, leave to set for 10 minutes or so before decorating.
Put excess melted chocolate into a piping/sandwich bag and snip a small opening in the bottom. Allow the chocolate to start pouring from the bag and move your hand back and forth over the rows of chocolate. This creates the stripey bits on the top. There’s no need to squeeze really, it will pour out of the bag at the right speed.
Don’t worry about the bits that fall down the middle, you can put them on top of your ice cream. Nothing wasted when it comes to chocolate.
Put a little bit of rock salt on the top of each truffle. Don’t overdo this or it will be unpleasant, but a little salt is actually really nice with sweet or caramelly things like maple syrup and chocolate.
Leave them to set. Have a little taste. Go on. You’ve got a few to spare. They’ll never know. Unless of course you write a blog about it, and then never actually produce any of the chocolates (sorry boyfriend).
Oh, and I made a little baggy…
Stay tuned to fabrefaction for the making of the bag, and the using up of the left over dipping chocolate.
Until next time friends!