Homemade gifts seem to have received much more coverage by the mainstream media in the past couple of years. There does still seem to be confused option though about homemade gifts: the handmade gift giver is seen to be either smug and ocd about giving the perfectly made gift, or they are cheapskate and willing to give something shoddy and poorly made.
Personally, I think there is another way. I think that handmade – if you enjoy making – is a really good way to get more in touch with the process of making and trying to maybe get past the consumerist Christmas celebrations. If you have a skill or a talent that you enjoy – why not give to others? I appreciate that not everyone has the time, energy or inclination for handmade – I’m just saying that given that I’ve had all three this year, I’ve enjoyed thinking about what I can make and give.
Here’s the first in the guide – gingerbread truffles.
I cannot think straight having just eating one of these gingerbread truffles. I don’t think I’ll need to eat chocolate again for perhaps another month or so. Good thing they aren’t intended to be eaten by me! These are so decadent and rich, and the spice of the gingerbread centre is luxury.
If you are looking for a last minute gift to make for friends and family – then I would recommend these if you have the time and headspace to be bothered.
They do take a while to make – not because of hands-on time, but because of the time taken to wait for things to set. So if you are in a hurry, it might be a bit stressful trying to wait for each layer to set before being able to move on to the next step. As always, perfection – namely getting perfectly spherical balls of the gingerbread filling – takes a lot more time, but I don’t think it matters if they are a bit more oblong and the white chocolate topping is a little bit uneven.
Pros – They taste amazing and look great!
Cons – Good quality chocolate can be expensive; there is a lot of waiting for things to set.
Recipe after the jump.
¾ cup double cream
10 whole cloves
½ teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon light treacle
1 ½ teaspoons grated peeled ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
200 grams plus 340g grams dark chocolate
200 grams plus 150 grams white chocolate
1) Place cream, cloves, allspice, treacle, grated ginger, cinnamon and salt into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, and then remove from the heat and let steep for an hour.
2) After the hour is up, melt together the 200 grams of dark chocolate and 200g of white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Once melted and smooth, strain in the cream mixture and stir in until blended. Chill filing for at least 3 hours.
3) Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Using a melon baller or teaspoon, scoop out filing and roll between your palms into a sphere. This gets a bit messy if you have warm hands! Chill for at least 2 hours.
4) Line another sheet with greaseproof paper. Temper the 340g dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Remove from the heat and then leave to cool and thicken for a couple of minutes – this helps to make the chocolate thick enough to coat the truffles evenly. Submerge a truffle on a fork into the melted chocolate so that it is evenly coated. Remove, and tap the fork against the side of the glass to help remove the excess melted chocolate. Slide the truffle onto the sheet of greaseproof paper, and then repeat with remaining truffles. Chill until set, approx 40 minutes.
5) Temper the white chocolate in another bowl, and again, let cool and thicken for a couple of minutes before using on the truffles. Using a knife, dribble the white chocolate over the truffles in whatever pattern you wish! Leave to set.