Rum & Raisin Dark Chocolate Truffles

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INGREDIENTS:

Makes about 20 truffles

  • 200g of good quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) – broken into pieces
  • 1/4 cup raisins – chopped
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (or 1 tsp of vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp of strong espresso or instant coffee granules (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of cocoa powder

Coatings:

  • Cocoa powder
  • Finely chopped nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans or almonds)
  • Shredded coconut
  • Spices like cinnamoncayenne pepper, orange zest, etc

METHOD:

  1. In a bowl, soak the raisins in rum for one hour (at room temperature).
  2. In a saucepan, over low heat, bring the cream to a simmer. Then add the butter and stir with a plastic spatula until melted.
  3. Next, add the chopped chocolate, and when it begins to melt, turn the fire off and continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted (be careful not to burn the chocolate).
  4. Then mix in the cocoa powder, vanilla paste, and espresso, and stir until smooth. Finally, stir in the raisin rum mixture, and transfer to a bowl.
  5. Once the chocolate ganache has cooled on the counter, cover the bowl and place it in the fridge. Chill for an hour until the ganache is firm.
  6. Lay out a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Prepare coatings in separate bowls. With your palms or a small spoon, form the chocolate into balls, then roll each one in the coating and place them on the baking paper. Transfer the truffles, along with the baking paper, to an airtight container and refrigerate.
  7. Truffles can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks or for a few months in the freezer. Before serving, let the truffles sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Tips on making truffles: 
– It’s important to keep the ganache mixture cool after it is removed from the refrigerator, so it doesn’t melt too much when you are forming the balls and coating them. Try placing the small bowl of ganache on top of a bigger bowl layered with ice. (Also, coat your hands with some cocoa powder to prevent your warm fingers from melting the chocolate)
– If the ganache gets too soft for shaping, just pop the ganache back in the freezer for five minutes. If you are making a bigger batch, divide the ganache into separate containers.

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Raspberry Dark Chocolate Ganache Chocolates

INGREDIENTS:

makes 48-64 chocolates, depending on mold size

for dark chocolate ganache:
(this recipe should make more ganache than necessary for these chocolates, but ganache is always a great thing to have around and it keeps very well in the fridge. Use the excess ganache for truffles, if you want, or save for more chocolates later!)
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used Gittard, but any good quality dark chocolate will do)
  • 6 Tbspn heavy cream (preferably manufacturing cream, if you can find it)
  • 1 Tbspn butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbpsn Godiva chocolate liquor
METHOD:
  1. Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, heat cream and butter until just before boiling.  Immediately pour hot cream over the chocolate in a bowl.  Allow this to sit for about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the chocolate and cream until a homogeneous mixture forms.  Stir in the chocolate liquor.
  4. Place overnight in the fridge until firm.
for chocolates:
  • 1 lb. dark chocolate, split into two half pounds
  • dark chocolate ganache, recipe above
  • raspberry preserves
METHOD:
You will also need plastic chocolate molds.
  1.  Chop a 1/2 pound of the dark chocolate and place in a double boiler.  Melt this chocolate.  Turn off stove.
  2. Add the other 1/2 pound WHOLE, without chopping!, to the melted chocolate in the double boiler.  Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  This is the easiest way to temper chocolate that I’ve found.  No need to mess with marble pastry boards or thermometers!  But, if you have your own method, feel free to temper the chocolate as you wish.
  3. Once the chocolate is tempered, make sure to keep it only hot enough to keep it melted.  Turn on the stove to simmer the water in the double boiler if heat is needed.
  4. Pour a teaspoon of melted chocolate into the molds one at a time. Once the chocolate is poured into one mold, use a paintbrush to spread the chocolate evenly to coat the inside of each mold.  Do not pour chocolate into all of the molds first and then spread later–your chocolate will cool!  Do this one single mold at a time.
  5. Once the molds have been coated, place them in the freezer for about five minutes.  Be careful not to leave them in for too long–the goal is only to let the chocolate set.
  6. Meanwhile, heat the raspberry preserves in the microwave until easily spreadable consistency.  Fill a pastry bag with the preserves, and set aside.
  7. Remove the molds from the freezer.  Using the pastry bag, squeeze a small amount of raspberry preserves into the bottom of each chocolate mold.
  8. Roll small pieces of the dark chocolate ganache.  Press the ganache into the chocolate molds on top of the raspberry preserves, leaving a tiny bit of space at the top of each mold.  Take care not to overfill the molds.
  9. Pour melted chocolate into the molds to cover the ganache.  Jiggle each tray a few times, and tap them gently on the counter to allow the melted chocolate to settle and to release any air pockets.
  10. Return the molds to the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.  Remove from the freezer and turn out onto a cutting board.  If needed, use a round cookie cutter to trim the excess chocolate around the candies.
  11. You should probably store the chocolates in the fridge, but since the chocolate is tempered, they will survive a bit of time outside the fridge as well, as long as it’s not too hot outside!

Passionfruit-coconut Dark Chocolates & Raspberry Mocha Dark Chocolates

Passionfruit-coconut dark chocolate ganache
INGREDIENTS:
The recipe for the filling ganache is included below. For directions on molding the candies, please use the recipe here.  For lemon curd see below

  • 6oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbspn butter
  • 2 Tbspn passionfruit concentrate syrup (available at Asian markets)
  • 1 Tbspn dark rum
  • shredded dried coconut, unsweetenedlemon curd
METHOD:

  1. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cream and butter. Stir and bring to just barely a boil.
  3. Remove the cream mixture from heat and pour over the prepared dark chocolate in bowl. Allow to sit for two to three minutes, then stir until the chocolate melts into the cream.
  4. Stir in the passionfruit syrup and rum. Then add in as much shredded coconut as desired.
  5. Allow the ganache to set in the fridge overnight before use.
  6. When filling the chocolate molds, pipe a bit of lemon curd in first and then fill the molds with the passionfruit-coconut ganache.

Lemond Curd:

makes ~2 cups

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbpsn corn starch
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed meyer lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbspn butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups boiling water
  • 1 Tbspn freshly grated meyer lemon zest

METHOD:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually blend in the cold water and lemon juice.
  2. Add the egg yolks and butter, blending until smooth.
  3. Gradually add in the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  4. Place the saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a full boil, stirring gently with a spatula and scraping the bottom (to prevent burning). Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for one minute.
  5. Remove the curd from heat and mix in the lemon zest. Cool completely.
Raspberry mocha dark chocolate ganache
The recipe for the filling ganache is included below. For directions on molding the candies, please use the recipe here.

  • for raspberry filling:
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 4 Tbspn sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tspn cornstarch, sifted

METHOD:

  1. In a nonreactive saucepan, saute the raspberries on medium high until they begin to release their juices.
  2. Add the lemon juice, sugar, and sifted cornstarch to the raspberries, making sure to whisk to combine the cornstarch.
  3. Stirring constantly, bring the contents to a boil and simmer until the raspberries have reduced and are thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Set aside.

for mocha ganache:

  • 6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbspn butter
  • 3 Tbspn instant coffee (or 1-2 Tbspn espresso powder)
  • 2 1/2 Tbspn Bailey’s Irish Cream liquor

METHOD:

  1. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cream, butter, and instant coffee/espresso powder. Stir and bring to just barely a boil.
  3. Remove the cream mixture from heat and pour over the prepared dark chocolate in bowl. Allow to sit for two to three minutes, then stir until the chocolate melts into the cream.
  4. Stir in the Bailey’s liquor.
  5. Allow the ganache to set in the fridge overnight before use.
  6. When filling the chocolate molds, pipe a bit of raspberry reduction in first and then fill the molds with the mocha ganache.

Ginger Carrot Dark Chocolates

INGREDIENTS:
Makes about 48 chocolates, with leftover ganache

  • 8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbspn butter
  • 2 heaping tspn ground ginger
  • 1 Tbspn brandy
  • 1 medium carrot (preferably organic), julienned into short and thin, thin strips*
  • 16 oz. dark chocolate

METHOD:

  1. Place 8 oz. chopped dark chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl.  Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cream, butter, and ground ginger.  Stir and bring to just barely a boil.
  3. Remove the cream mixture from the heat and pour over the prepared dark chocolate in a bowl.  Allow to sit for two to three minutes, then stir until the chocolate melts into the cream.
  4. Stir in 1 Tbspn brandy into the chocolate ganache.
  5. Add the cut carrots in the ganache.  Allow the ganache to set in the fridge overnight.
  6. Chop 8 oz. of the remaining dark chocolate and place in a double boiler.  Melt this chocolate.  Turn off the stove.
  7. Add the last remaining 8 oz. of dark chocolate WHOLE, without chopping!, to the melted chocolate in the double boiler.  Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
  8. Once the chocolate is tempered, make sure to keep it only hot enough to keep it melted.  Turn on the stove to simmer the water in the double boiler if heat is needed.
  9. Pour a teaspoon of melted chocolate into the molds one at a time.  Once the chocolate is poured, use a paintbrush to spread the chocolate evenly to coat the inside of each mold.  Do not pour chocolate into all of the molds first and then spread later–your chocolate will cool!  Do this one single mold at a time.
  10. Once the molds have been coated, place them in the freezer for about five minutes.  Be careful not to leave them in for too long–the goal is only to let the chocolate set.
  11. Remove the molds from the freezer.  Roll small pieces of the ginger-carrot ganache–about the size of a small cherry.  Press the ganache into the chocolate molds, leaving a tiny bit of space at the top of each mold.
  12. Pour melted chocolate into the molds to cover the ganache.  Jiggle each tray a few times, and tap them gently on the counter to allow the melted chocolate to settle and to release any air pockets.
  13. Return the molds to the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.  Remove from the freezer and turn out onto a cutting board.  If needed, use a round cookie cutter to trim the excess chocolate from around the candies.

*I chose not to shred the carrots because then you don’t get the crunchy texture of carrot chunks that contribute so nicely to these chocolates.  Instead, I used a mandolin to slice the carrot, cut those into strips, and finally, chopped the strips into one-to-two centimeter long pieces.

 

 

 

 

Saffron-honey Dark Chocolates & Blackberry-cassis Dark Chocolates

Blackberry-Cassis Dark Chocolates

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbspn butter
  • 3 Tbpsn creme de cassis liquor
  • Blackberry jam

METHOD:

  1. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.  Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cream and butter.  Stir and bring to just barely a boil.
  3. Remove the cream mixture from heat and pour over the prepared dark chocolate in bowl.  Allow to sit for two to three minutes, then stir until the chocolate melts into the cream.
  4. Stir in the creme de cassis liquor.  Allow the ganache to set in the fridge overnight before use.
  5. When filling the chocolate molds, pipe a bit of blackberry jam and then fill with the cassis ganache.
 For directions on molding the candies:
  1. Chop 8 oz. of the  dark chocolate and place in a double boiler.  Melt this chocolate.  Turn off the stove.
  2. Add the last remaining 8 oz. of dark chocolate WHOLE, without chopping!, to the melted chocolate in the double boiler.  Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
  3. Once the chocolate is tempered, make sure to keep it only hot enough to keep it melted.  Turn on the stove to simmer the water in the double boiler if heat is needed.
  4. Pour a teaspoon of melted chocolate into the molds one at a time.  Once the chocolate is poured, use a paintbrush to spread the chocolate evenly to coat the inside of each mold. Do not pour chocolate into all of the molds first and then spread later–your chocolate will cool!  Do this one single mold at a time.
  5. Once the molds have been coated, place them in the freezer for about five minutes.  Be careful not to leave them in for too long–the goal is only to let the chocolate set.
  6. Remove the molds from the freezer.  Roll small pieces of the  ganache–about the size of a small cherry.  Press the ganache into the chocolate molds, leaving a tiny bit of space at the top of each mold.
  7. Pour melted chocolate into the molds to cover the ganache. Jiggle each tray a few times, and tap them gently on the counter to allow the melted chocolate to settle and to release any air pockets.
  8. Return the molds to the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.  Remove from the freezer and turn out onto a cutting board.  If needed, use a round cookie cutter to trim the excess chocolate from around the candies.
Saffron-Honey Dark Chocolates
The recipe below is for the ganache. For directions on molding the candies read above
INGREDIENTS:
  • 6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 Tbspn honey
  • A generous pinch of saffron threads (~10-15)
  • 1 Tbspn butter
  • 2 Tbspn Godiva chocolate liquor

METHOD:

  1. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.  Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the cream, honey, and saffron threads.  Stir and bring to a near-boil, remove from heat, cover, and let steep for ten minutes.
  3. Return the cream, honey, and saffron to heat and add the butter.  Bring to just barely a boil.  Make sure the honey is completely dissolved.
  4. Remove the cream mixture from heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer over the prepared dark chocolate.  (to remove saffron threads, but if you don’t mind the threads, skip the strainer.  I did.)  Allow to sit for two to three minutes, then stir until the chocolate melts into the cream.
  5. Stir in the Godiva chocolate liquor.  Allow the ganache to set in the fridge overnight before use.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cake

INGREDIENTS:
For the cake:
  • 130g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 100g peanut butter (I used crunchy)
  • 45g unsalted butter, soft
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 75g (1.5) eggs, lightly beaten
  • 75ml buttermilk

For the chocolate ganache:

  • 150g dark chocolate (approx 72%)
  • 125ml double cream
  • 25ml buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar

To finish:

  • small handful of peanuts (I used salted)
  • approx 1 tbsp cocoa nibs

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter and flour a 6″ cake tin (double all ingredients for a 9″ tin or two 8″). Sieve the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl.
  2. Weigh the peanut butter, butter, caster sugar and brown sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream together, beating for about 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Add the egg in small splashes, beating very well in between. When the egg is incorporated, clean down the sides then add half the flour. Mix on low speed until the mixture starts looking uniform, then add the buttermilk in a steady stream. Once you’ve added all the buttermilk, take the mixture off the stand mixer. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and fold in with a spatula.
  3. Transfer to the prepared tin and level. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick can be removed cleanly from the middle. Leave in the tin for five minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool. When the cake is totally cool, split it into two or three layers with a serrated knife.
  4. To make the ganache, chop the chocolate up into small chunks and place it into a bowl. Put the double cream, buttermilk and brown sugar in a small pan and warm over a medium heat. When it starts to steam, pour over the chocolate, pushing all of the chunks into the liquid. After a few moments start stirring in the centre, slowly incorporating the rest of the liquid until you have a thick, glossy ganache. Leave to cool for a few minutes to thicken slightly.
  5. Place the layer that was the top of the cake upside down on the serving plate on top of some strips of parchment paper. Smear some ganache over the layer, then add the next cake layer. Repeat for the next layer if you cut into three. Cover the cake with a thin layer of icing – a masking coat – then put in the fridge to chill. Finally cover the cake with a full layer of ganache, trying not to overwork it. Arrange the peanuts and cocoa nibs on top of the cake for contrasting crunch.
  6. Best served at room temperature, though it keeps well covered in the fridge for a few days.

(Makes approximately 8 slices)

Malteser Layer Cake

INGREDIENTS:
For the cakes:
  • 130g room temperature butter
  • 130g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 130g self raising flour
  • 70g Horlicks/ Cadbury’s Drinking Chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp boiling water

METHOD:

Note: As I wanted a tall cake, I used a 5″ tin. I only had one so I made a half batch of the above, baked it, and then repeated the process. If you want to use normal 7-8″ sandwich tins, just make the above and split between the two tins as usual (it’ll make a shorter cake than the one in the pictures but will taste the same).
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter and line the bottom of the tin(s).
  2. Cream the softened butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add an egg, beat in, then add the other and beat again.
  4. Sieve the flour, Horlicks and baking powder into the bowl and then fold in until nearly combined.
  5. Add the milk and fold again, then finally add the boiling water. Quickly spoon into the tin(s) and put in the oven. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until deep gold and a skewer comes out clean.
For the ganache:
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 150 ml double cream

METHOD:

  1. Break the chocolate up into small pieces and put into a bowl. Heat the cream until it starts to steam then pour over the chocolate. Leave for a few minutes and then stir in until you have a smooth, glossy ganache.

To assemble:

  • 2 packets of maltesers

METHOD:

  1. Split the cakes carefully into two.
  2. Sandwich them with some of the ganache, then cover with a crumb coat. Put it the fridge to set slightly.
  3. While it is cooling, chop the maltesers – I found using a sharp knife in a quick decisive motion worked best.
  4. Remove the cake from the fridge and use the remaining ganache to cover the cake.
  5. Starting from the top, arrange the maltesers in the desired pattern, then go down the sides, being careful when placing the pale-side-out halves. Put in the fridge for ten minutes or so, then serve.
  6. Best eaten on the day, due to the malteser insides getting damp and disintegrating!