It’s been ages since I did a recipe and this week I have had a very strong hankering for chocolate. I don’t know whether it’s the stress of the key-pinching scenario at the weekend, or the result of catching a few minutes of ITV’s Sugar Free Farm. Obviously 6 alleged celebrities declaring they are absolutely fine without sugar wouldn’t make for great telly, so I wasn’t sure if the assorted hissy-fits and bizarre withdrawal symptoms were genuine or being desperately ramped up for the cameras. If they were real, then I have done hugely well being sugar-free for months now, with no tantrums at all – that I remember. Possibly TL and the children would tell a different story but you know what? No one’s asking them and they all can get their own blogs if they feel the need to. So as you can see I am pretty much the same tolerant, patient, understanding saint that I’ve always been, perfectly sweet without sugar.
Luckily for everyone within a five mile radius, dark chocolate with 70 per cent or more cocoa solids doesn’t count as sugar. It’s not me making these contradictory rules, no, no, no, it’s my bible, the Anti Cancer book I’ve been swearing by for months now. It finally dawned on me, in the nick of time, that this means dark chocolate truffles are virtually health food.
Here’s an easy peasy recipe for chocolate truffles. If you want to include them in your strict, sugar-free diet, I’m giving you the official go-ahead. You’re welcome.
300g 70 per cent cocoa chocolate (three bars of Lindt, for example)
300ml double cream (one pot)
50g butter (large knob)
Flavourings – vanilla essence/orange and lemon pith/fresh raspberries/chopped mint leaves/a spoonful of Earl Grey tea/a spoonful of coffee
Coatings – 100g 70 per cent cocoa chocolate/50g cocoa powder/desiccated coconut/crushed pistachio nuts
Heat the cream gently in the microwave, in 30-second bursts, or on the hob if you are more patient than me. You want it to be very hot but not boiling. When heated, drop in the chopped chocolate (I hit the packets with a rolling pin, quite satisfying and the bits are contained within the silver foil making no mess) and stir until melted. If you are going to add flavourings (and you don’t have to, the truffles are delicious as they are) separate the chocolate soup into a number of bowls, add your chosen flavours and stir well. Then cover the bowls and pop into the fridge to set, which should take about three to four hours.
When the mixture has set, take a melon baller, or ice cream scoop if you are very generous, and a cup of hot water to dip it in, and scoop out the little balls of goodness. If you don’t mind getting down and dirty, you can shape the truffles with your hands. I find there is plenty of natural wastage at this point, yum. Coatings come next. If you’re using more chocolate, melt it carefully in the microwave in 30-second bursts. Spear the truffle on a fork, skewer or cocktail stick and hold over the bowl of molten choc. Spoon some over the truffle and twirl to coat. If you’re using one of the dry coatings, put them in a bowl or on a plate and roll the truffle until covered to your satisfaction. Unfortunately, this recipe does create a lot of washing up, with large numbers of plates and bowls stacking up in the sink. Fortunately, they’re all covered with chocolate!
Now for the best bit – thoroughly test every flavour of truffle. Then, if there are any left, enjoy with your family later.