Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Chocolate Truffles

The last couple of weeks have been rather stressful, dear readers, and a 4000 word essay is to blame.  Essays are not something I like doing.  I did not take an essay subject for my undergraduate course for a reason.  Sure, we wrote reports but it's not quite the same thing.  This one ended up being particularly awful and culminated with me being up until 2:30am the night before it was due, resulting in only 4 hours sleep.  That has never happened to me before with any piece of assigned work.  I have always finished at a reasonable hour, sometimes even a day or two ahead of the deadline, and been able to get plenty of sleep.  It was dreadful.  But it's been handed in now so I can put it out of my mind for a couple of weeks whilst it is being marked.  Anyway, said essay-that-is-not-on-my-mind is responsible for a serious delay in getting this post together.  I actually made these the day after the brownie post went out which was...three weeks ago.  Oh dear.  We're here now though so better late than never? 

Okay, so you might be looking at these and thinking, 'those don't look like truffles, they're the wrong shape'.  Well yes, you would be right.  Truffles get their name from their round shape and these are not round; they're square-ish.  That's because this recipe was actually supposed to be fudge.  You know me and fudge.  I love the stuff but still haven't quite mastered the art of making it.  I was attracted to this one because it looked nice and simple to make, which is one of my favourite qualities in a recipe.  And to be fair, it was simple.  Problem was, I did not end up with fudge.  

Admittedly, that's probably my own fault.  It's possible I did not cook it long enough.  And I wasn't sure how I would know when the condensed milk was almost boiling.  I went with waiting until bubbles were forming around the edges.  That's what I do when I cook milk for making custard anyway.  It may also be because some of the amounts are off.  For instance, a can of condensed milk over here ways 397g/14oz.  Apparently in America, it's 12oz cans, which I did not realise until after I had made it.  Oh well.  The rest of the recipe was easy enough.  Tangentially though, I do feel the need to complain about another encounter with the bizarre measurements they have in the US.  'Squares'?  Really?  When I first read the phrase I thought it meant individual cubes of chocolate, since bars come in rows of cubes.  But nope.  Apparently one square is equal to one ounce.  You learn something new every day.

Anyway, I came to the conclusion that this was not fudge after I cut it up and ate some.  It was too sticky for a start, which is why I rolled it in icing sugar, so the squares would not stick together in the container.  Then when I bit into it, it was too soft rather than slightly firm like fudge should be.  However, it wasn't until much later that it occurred to me that the texture resembled that of a truffle.  The mixture involved is essentially a ganache after all.  So hence the change in name.  If you make this using my recipe, you're going to have soft, truffley things.  If you follow the original better than I did, you'll get fudge.

Not to say that these aren't yummy, because they are.  Very rich and creamy.  I personally cannot eat more than one in a sitting though, but that's just me.  

Recipe - adapted from Little House Living
Makes 36 pieces
  • 125ml/4.5fl.oz double cream
  • 1 x 397g/14oz can condensed milk (sweetened if you're American)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 450g/16oz milk chocolate chips
  • 115g/4oz milk chocolate
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar, for dusting
  1. Grease and line a 20cm/8inch square pan with greaseproof paper. Leave a slight overhang so you can get the fudge out easier after it has set.
  2. Put the cream and condensed milk into a pan and cook over a medium heat.  Stir continuously and do not allow to boil.
  3. Once bubbles have started forming around the edge of the pan remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips, chocolate and vanilla extract.  Stir.
  4. Return the pan to the heat, and cook gently, whisking the mixture until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and then chill in the fridge overnight.
  6. Once it has set and is quite firm to the touch, take it out of the fridge, remove it from the tin, peel off the greaseproof paper and use a sharp knife to cut it into 36 pieces (6 cuts down and 6 along).
  7. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and toss the truffle cubes in it to lightly coat all sides.

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