I wanted to put up links to, or recipes for, the items that went in last week’s sample box. These are mostly sourced from around the internets, so you would think this would be an easy enough post to put together. So far, it’s taken me five attempts to write this post; time just keeps marching on past the point of midnight and the risk of turning into a pumpkin is too great to carry on. I’ve been pretty immersed in cooking and baking for various events, you see, so at least when I do have time to sit down and write I’ll have plenty to write about. Still though, I’ve missed the writing. I’ll just have to quit my day job and secretly live the G man’s house, and just make him think that I’ve brought a bit more stuff over than usual. G: ‘What’s this for?’ Me: ‘I thought you’d like it.’ G: ‘But it’s a box full of all your stuff…’. I reckon a round of ‘well if you loved me you’d like it’ ought to smooth over any cracks in this plan.
Back to the baking. I’ll stick with the recipes for the chocolate truffles, for now, since I just can’t get the time to post anything longer until next week, and celestial abode of your choice forfend that you should have to go a moment longer without a Rock Salt post. I know you’ve all come to rely on my wit and insight. Et cetera.
I haven’t made chocolates in a while. I went through a bit of a phase of it a while back, even made a very small selection box for someone with four different kinds in. The rum truffles are an old favourite recipe, which I got from the back of a bar of chocolate and modified accordingly. Honestly, they’re straightforward to do, if a bit time consuming and potentially messy. I did find myself chocolate sprinkled up to the max at one point, which inevitably meant that so were my surroundings. I’m still finding them in my hair. I’m not really still finding them in my hair, that would be disgusting. I’m finding them in the turn-ups of my jeans though, like when you’ve been to the beach.
- 2oz milk chocolate
- 2oz plain chocolate
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 to 2 tbsp dark rum, to taste
- 4 tbsp icing sugar
- chocolate sprinkles (preferably ones made of actual chocolate, though I do have a high tolerance for the sugar ones)
Melt the chocolate together, add milk, rum and sugar, stir well. It’s easier to mix if you sift the icing sugar in so that you don’t get little pockets of sugar that you have to break up and mix through. Cool to room temperature, then chill for about two hours. Once chilled, shape into balls and roll in the sprinkles. That is, roll the chocolate in the sprinkles, don’t fill a paddling pool with them and dive in. Keep chilled until about half an hour before serving so they don’t get too melty.
The buttercream truffles were a new invention and require some work to get the chocolate coating really crisp. Not sure if I have to add something to it (crisps? no…) or whether I just need to temper the chocolate. Technical term, I won’t be throwing a tantrum at it in the hopes that it will co-operate. Here’s the recipe as it stands, this should make about 16:
- 75g plain chocolate – I don’t usually use a chocolate with a very high cocoa percentage, even though they’re the best quality, because I have a really sweet tooth and prefer milk chocolate, but choose your own favourite if you have a more sophisticated palate
- 100g butter
- 200g icing sugar
- 150g plain chocolate, melted in the smallest bowl you can find; this is for coating the truffles, and if you melt it in too big a bowl you won’t be able to get it off the sides and on to the buttercream, and wasting food is doubly sinful if it’s chocolate. This amount might be off, I didn’t write it down…
Melt the 75g of chocolate. While this is happening, use a hand held mixer to soften the butter, then add the icing sugar a bit at a time. Once these are combined, beat in the chocolate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and let the buttercream chill in the fridge for a couple of hours until cold and solid enough to shape into balls. Once shaped, re-chill for half an hour or so, then dip in to the second lot of melted chocolate to coat. Lay them out on a lightly greased sheet of greaseproof paper, or maybe on a fine cooling rack. To get the fancy swirly bits, run a toothpick through the coating, then put the finished chocolates back into the fridge, again until about half an hour before serving. I added a sprinkling of fleur de sel to mine to take the edge off the sweetness, but using a more bitter chocolate would probably have done the trick, or if you have a sweet tooth you’re probably all good to go with them as they are.
For bigger batches I’m thinking a bowl full of chocolate sprinkles to drop the rum truffles into should make it quicker and easier to coat them, though will require a lot of chocolate sprinkles. I’m also thinking of spearing the buttercream truffles on cocktail sticks, dipping them into the chocolate for coating and then wedging the other end of the stick into a fine-holed colander till they all set enough to be transferred to a plate or box, and into the fridge. This will avoid the inevitable flat place on the base of the chocolates, or lines where they’ve been sitting on a cooling rack. Also thinking of lightly dusting them in cocoa so they can be stored in a box without sticking to each other. Will hopefully have occasion soon to make a large-ish batch of each of these, so will try out these ideas and see how they work. Mainly I just like the image of a colander with dozens of chocolates sticking out of it, like a really weird orrery. See how I use the word orrery in the correct context? Worth waiting for.
That has to be all for now, next week will see at least one update, and the week after should be back to more regular postings. For now, a slideshow of Chinese food, albeit Chinese food in a very British, and not properly Chinese, way. Photos not great quality, taken in a hurry as it took me two hours to make it all and I didn’t want to hold things up any further by taking ages photographing everything.
Baked chicken wings FTW.