I’ve been a bit quiet for the last week or so, and for a very good reason – I’ve been busy baking. Christmas is pretty much THE best time to be a baker, with all the cookies, marzipan, chocolate, and booze-soaked fruit you can imagine. So I took a couple of weeks out from publishing recipes to make a great head-start on the festive goodies.
And seriously, there are so many festive goodies coming your way in the next two months.
So let’s get things merrily rolling along with the first bake of the festive season – some silky smooth mulled wine chocolate truffles.
If you’re anything like me then you’ll love making truffles. Firstly, they’re made of all the good things – chocolate, butter, and cream. Unhealthy as hell, but they make fantastic gifts this time of year. Or you can always just eat them all yourself of course.
They aren’t hard to make either, and I’ve even got a couple of tips to help you out if things start to go a little pear shaped.
Chocolate truffles are, in essence, just a mixture of melted chocolate and double cream. Yeah, we’re going to add in some butter for smoothness, some mulled wine for the Xmas-Factor, and a pinch of ground cinnamon for that little extra spice, but everything good in a truffle starts and ends with the chocolate. Please use good quality chocolate, and preferably dark chocolate – at least 60% cocoa solids. If you don’t like the taste of the chocolate you are planning on using, then adding some cream and mulled wine isn’t going to make it any better. Trust me.
If you’re new to the world of truffle-making, then you might still be familiar with chocolate ganache. Ganache is the yummy product of mixing melted chocolate and warm cream together, and is great for filling layer cakes with, or for making chocolate tarts. But the thickest (and bestest) ganache is reserved for chocolate truffles. Once you’ve mastered ganache, you will very rarely have problems, but if you’re a newbie then there are a couple of core things to remember to avoid turning your silky smooth ganache into something split, oily, and gross.
- Melt the chocolate first, and add hot (almost boiling) cream to it. The heat is the only way to get the chocolate and cream to blend together, and helps to avoid an oily mess.
- Gently stir the chocolate and cream together. Don’t go in all heavy handed. Ganache is a delicate beast, and needs a bit of TLC to make sure it fulfils its true potential.
- If the ganache does split, then don’t panic. Warm up a couple of tablespoons of cream in a saucepan, and add it into the split ganache. Give it 20 seconds, and then gently stir together. This will usually be enough to bring everything back together. If not, ignore tip 2 above, and whisk the hell out of it with an electric hand mixer, until it’s nice and smooth.
The mulled wine flavour in these gorgeous truffles is subtle, but they’ve got that underlying boozy cinnamon taste that makes them the perfect way to ease yourself into the festive season. You can definitely mull your own red wine if you like, although I have to confess that I just went out and bought some pre-mulled stuff from the shop. It’s much easier, much less time consuming, and tastes great.
When you’re standing in your kitchen with a bowl of ganache and a jug of mulled wine, it’s going to seem like this recipe isn’t going to work. Surely this is too much wine, right? I promise you it isn’t. Add the wine to the ganache in a couple of separate additions, mixing together gently to avoid splatter. It will all mix together perfectly, and with a few hours of chilling in the fridge, it will set firmly enough to roll into truffles.
Trust me 😉
So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself in the kitchen and get making some truffles. Can’t stand mulled wine? I’ve got Ferrero Rocher truffles, champagne truffles, and limoncello truffles, all ready and waiting for you too. But I’m sure you’ll agree that mulled wine chocolate truffles are so much more Christmassy! And there’s only 52 sleeps to go…
- 450g (16oz) dark chocolate (bittersweet)
- 240ml (1 cup) double or heavy cream
- 15g (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, softened
- 180ml (3/4 cup) mulled wine
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 75g (3/4 cup) cocoa powder
- Melt the chocolate, either in the microwave or in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Just before the cream starts to boil, remove from the heat and pour into the melted chocolate. Leave for a minute, and then gently stir together until a creamy ganache forms. If the mixture looks oily or split, heat a couple more tablespoons of cream as before, and then stir into the mixture. This should bring it back together.
- Add the butter to the warm ganache and stir in until completely melted. Pour the wine into the ganache and gently stir together until all the wine has been mixed in. It will seem like a lot of extra liquid, but I promise it will make perfect truffles! Finally, add the ground cinnamon and stir in well.
- Cover the top of the bowl with clingfilm or plastic wrap and place in the fridge until set (at least three hours).
- Once set, use a teaspoon or melon-baller to scoop balls of the ganache. Roll them into nice smooth balls in your hands (it will get messy) and then roll in the cocoa powder to coat. Place on a lined baking tray, and pop back in the fridge for an hour. Keep the truffles in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
- When completely set, remove from the fridge. Roll the mixture into small balls, and roll in cocoa and then icing sugar. Put back in the fridge for an hour or so, and then eat.
- These truffles will keep for up to 7 days when kept in the fridge. They can be frozen, and will keep for 3 months - just defrost overnight in the fridge.