Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Sweet Little Gifts

A tradition we used to have in my family around Christmas time was to make truffles, either for us to eat, or to give away as little gifts. When Ju said he wanted to eat chocolate as part of our Christmas countdown activities, I thought he too might enjoy making and giving truffles. We will take some to the nursery Christmas party tomorrow and also take some with us to give to family when we travel on Friday. If I can keep them hidden from Darling Him long enough, that is.

I made the chocolate preparation (a ganache) the night before, melting 300g dark 70% chocolate on a double-boiler, then mixing it in with 200 ml almost boiling double cream. I refrigerated this overnight, to allow it to set.

Melting dark chocolate over a double boiler

Mixing hot double cream into the melted chocolate
Today, we all washed our hands thoroughly twice and then I shaped little walnut-sized balls out of the chocolate preparation. I passed them to the boys to roll in the cocoa powder and then place in the little paper petit four cases.
Ju rolls the truffles in the cocoa powder

Ju puts the ready truffle in a paper case

Lilo puts the truffles on the plate
They both enjoyed doing this, although Lilo's first three went into his mouth. Hands and mouth were covered in dark chocolate and cocoa powder. This is certainly not an activity for the faint-hearted!
Truffles all ready
We made 36 truffles in total with the recipe above. They have to be refrigerated and will keep for up to a week this way.

We then made little heart boxes out of card using this template. It's a very handy one as it doesn't require glue or staples, just cutting, scoring with a butter knife and folding. Each box fits 4 truffles, which is plenty, as these truffles are very dark and rich. The boxes are a bit too fiddly for little hands, but older children might be able to make them by themselves. Ju decorated them a little bit. I wrote down the ingredients and the use before date on the box.
Heart box template all cut out

Box with 4 truffles

Ju shows off the box

I also have started making "marrons glaces", which are candied chestnuts, which are very Christmassy sweet gifts. However, they take 3 days to make according to this recipe I am following. So here is the progress so far: I have boiled the chestnuts and peeled them.
Boiling chestnuts
Chestnuts all peeled

I am now ready to introduce them to their first syrup. Wish me luck and I'll keep you posted about the result on Friday!

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