Secret Santa. Always a tricky one. It's inevitably someone you've barely ever spoken to for more that 5 minutes. Or if it is someone you know and love and you know exactly what would be the best prezzy ever for them...you only have £10, and that barely even covers the fancy wrapping paper that you want so you can wrap all Kirstie Allsopp like.
So this year, for a worky Secret Santa, I thought I'd add the homemade touch. The perfect way to make an 'ok' gift, smile-worthy.
Truffles are the perfect answer. Not time consuming in the slightest and nice and bargainous, they are much more the sum of their parts when tied up in a ribbon and nestled under a twinkly tree.
But these don't have to be the reserve of the Secret Santa. Even if it's a gift which you will put your name to, a little homemade bag of lovelyness will make anyone thankful as the almost bitter chocolatey taste explodes in their mouth. (Ooooor everyone else can bugger off and you can just plain old make these for number one...I wont tell). With Love and Cake. xxxx
From the brilliant Nigel Slater and his brilliant book Real Food.
A few notes:
- These are plain, super chocolatey truffles. You could add booze if you wanted, but I think the smack in the face chocolateyness is enough for me.
- You're meant to be able use two warm spoons to shape a nice truffle from the mixture without getting messy hands. I always start out this way, with good intentions, but end up getting frustrated and just scooping out bits of mixture and rolling into balls with my hands. Eating the mixture off your hands is optional but highly recommended.
- If you want to fancy up your truffles a bit, instead of rolling them in cocoa you could dip them in melted chocolate for a nice smooth coating. If that's still not fancy enough for you, how about dipping them in melted chocolate and then rolling them in something else...coconut, chopped nuts, white chocolate chopped super fine...
Makes around 250g; enough for 1 gift with a few treats left over for you
You will need
225g lovely proper dark chocolate
140ml whipping cream
cocoa powder for dusting
- First lets chop the chocolate. you can either do this on a chopping board with a nice big knife; it's a messy job but a rather a delicious one, or you can pulse it in a food processor. Either way you're looking for rubble; sort of gravel sized chunks.
- When that's done, pop it all in a nice big bowl, and put that next to the hob, which you're about to use, so the bowl looses any chill it might have.
- Heat the cream slowly in a pan until just boiling and pour it on top of the chocolate.
- Let everything sit and mingle for a moment or two and then turn everything over, slowly slowly, with a wooden spoon.
- The chocolate should melt into a thick, glossy sauce but if you have lumps (I did), simmer some water in your dirty cream pan and sit the chocolate mixture over it for just a moment and stir around again.
- Now stick the bowl of chocolate lovelyness into the fridge to set for around 1 hour.
- It sound now be firm but not too solid, so you can scoop out blobs, shape into balls and roll them around in a saucer of cocoa to coat.
- Tie with a ribbon and store them in a cool place.