Monday, 13 February 2012

Je t'aime

Chocolate 'Kettle' Truffles
It's that time of year again; we're already being bombarded by big glossy campaigns for ready-made meals, microwave chocolate fondants and the obligatory bottle of pink wine for a neat 20 quid. Of if you prefer, many chefs and food writers are busy planning delicious menus for you to slave over instead which is wonderful if you have the patience of a saint, love cooking and know for sure your other half is going to arrive precisely on time (otherwise an argument about fallen soufflés or burnt steaks is clearly inevitable). I'm not going to write you a menu because I think you should eat something which is either super easy (like toast) or something, which is special to you. Also, I figured if I linger too long on this soppy subject my single friends might stab me with pencils.
I'm not completely shirking my food writing responsibilities for the 14th; instead I want to share with you these recipes for some ridiculously easy and speedy chocolates and sweets. Share them with a friend, give them as a romantic gift or scoff them on your own watching Vin Diesel films.

Chocolate 'Kettle' Truffles
(They're made in the kettle, that's right, kettle)

200g bar of ordinary dark chocolate (do not use the really fancy 85%+ stuff for this, the best I have found for these is actually Cooperative own brand, Fair-trade dark chocolate) or 200g of dark chocolate chips
a slice of butter (about the size of a credit card and about half a centimetre thick)
2 dessert spoons of extra thick double cream
2 dessert spoons of cocoa powder

Chop up the chocolate and the butter into approx 1cm squared pieces (unless using the chocolate chips) and put into a small microwave-safe food bag and seal with a knot.
Fill the kettle and boil. As soon as it has boiled put the bag of chocolate and butter into the kettle with the water, leaving the knotted end of the bag hanging out of the kettle and making sure the bottom of the bag doesn't touch the bottom/element in the kettle. 
Close the lid and leave to sit there in the hot water for about 5 minutes. Take the bag out - the chocolate & butter should be completely melted. Dry the outside of the bag a little on a towel then slit the bag open with scissors over a bowl and squeeze out the contents. 
Quickly add the cream and stir vigorously so that it is completely combined. You need to do this quickly and really mix it with loads of gusto because it will start to set as soon as the cold cream is added and you need it to come together as a smooth, thick paste.

Put the cocoa powder onto a plate and then drop teaspoonfuls of the chocolate & cream mixture onto the cocoa covered plate. Using a spoon turn the truffles over in the powder so that they are coated fully and then transfer to a serving plate. Repeat this process until all the mixture has been used up. Try not to breathe too heavily or cough around this plate of cocoa or you will end up with a very messy room indeed. In a cold room these will set on their own quite quickly, otherwise stick them in the fridge for a short while. 

Rose & Coconut Hearts
Rose & Coconut Fudge
2 tablespoons of condensed milk
200g of icing sugar
few drops of rosewater
1 drop of red food colouring
2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut
40g of melted butter

Stir all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and then knead until the dough is a nice even pink colour. 
Dust the work surface with a little more icing sugar and roll out then cut into shapes with a small heart shaped cutter. Lay on a plate and leave to firm up slightly in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. 

Pistachio & Cardamom Burfi
Pistachio or Chocolate & Cardamom Burfi
2 tablespoons of condensed milk
200g of icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom seeds
Either 12g of cocoa powder or 30g of crushed pistachios
40g of melted butter

As with the fudge recipe above; mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, then knead until all the ingredients are full combined. 
I left the pistachio ones to set in a baking tray in the fridge for half an hour before slicing into squares and sprinkling with a little more crushed pistachio
For the chocolate ones I rolled them into small balls as soon as the dough had been mixed and was still slightly warm. Once completely cold I topped them with small pieces of edible gold leaf. 
Chocolate & Cardamom Burfi

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