Christmas chocolate truffles – two ways

I just love Christmas. Basically, it’s a great big excuse to bake and make all the things I love to eat, but don’t normally allow myself to have. But when Christmas rolls around there is NO holding me back – I am going to indulge!!

Normally I make the Christmas Pudding truffles that Nigella Lawson calls Puddini Bonbons, and they are lovely, in fact they are just about the only way you are ever going to get me eating Christmas pudding (I despise dried fruit… but don’t get me started on that!).

This year however, I’m kindly giving Gordon Ramsey a turn. I took his Chocolate Mint Truffle recipe and divided it up into two basic recipes – a mint version, and an orange, brandy and pecan version.

chocolate mint truffles
My truffle tin runeth over… thanks Gordon!

 

The truffles get their flavour from steeping fresh mint in gently heated cream. I did the same for the orange version by adding orange zest to the cream and gently heating it. Once the flavoured cream was hot (but nowhere near boiling) I poured it over chopped chocolate, butter and honey. For the orange version I also added brandy and chopped pecans.

Once the chocolate, butter and honey have melted into the cream, the whole lovely smooth dark mess goes into the fridge to firm up. It took about two hours before the mixture was firm enough to roll into little balls. Then I rolled the balls in good quality dutch-processed cocoa, and voila – these little balls of deliciousness are ready for eating!

Helpful Mr Ramsey suggests keeping the truffles in the fridge and warns they won’t keep longer than a few days… but with me around, slyly popping one into my mouth each time I pass by the fridge, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.

Macaron madness

I tried making macarons today for the first time. I don’t know why… I never seem to have much success with egg-related dishes. I can’t make omelettes and I can’t made meringues, no matter how hard I try.

I was inspired by Rachel from the “Me, Myself and Mommy” blog, who directed me to her wonderful and inventive recipe for a mint-flavoured version of Pillow Cookies called ‘Mint On Your Pillow‘ (such a cute name). I love the combination of mint and chocolate – it’s kind of 80’s in a fun way, don’t you think? So I used a recipe for chocolate macarons and substituted the chocolate ganache filling for a mint filling instead. Unfortunately I kind of went overboard with the green colouring and the macarons have a hint of ‘kermit’ about them… but they taste good!! They didn’t rise as much as I expected either, certainly not the way the ones in recipe book picture had. I’m guessing it might be because I didn’t beat the egg white for long enough – does anyone know??

My piping skills need some practice
The finished product - looking a little on the 'kermit' side