St Valentine’s Day is, if nothing else, an opportunity to impress. If your usual level of effort is to stop at the service station on your way home for a nondescript box of overpriced chocolates, I have a better idea for you this year: homemade chocolate truffles.
A little bit of planning ahead is required (by way of shopping for a few ingredients and a little preparation time) but I promise that making your own chocolate truffles, and adding some bespoke flavourings to step them up, will go down a treat.
There are two ways forward with this plan; you can either make the truffles a day or two in advance and box them up ready to present to your partner on the day/evening itself, or you can make the truffle mixture closer to the day and then bring out the bowl of chocolate at dessert time, ready for you both to have a go at making the truffles together. For the latter you’ll need around ten minutes of prep time and two hours for the mixture to cool.
To test this out, I followed Jamie’s recipe for his Amazing DIY chocolate truffles and found them to be a breeze to make. It simply involves heating up some double cream to just bubbling point, adding a knob of butter and a sprinkle of sea salt and stirring through the chocolate until it melts with the heat of the warm cream.
Then it’s just a case of flavouring your truffles. In Jamie’s recipe, he suggests adding a splash of brandy, so I tried making the truffles with a splash of vodka (you can use any flavoured vodka, too – cherry vodka works particularly well, or Krupnik, Polish spiced honey vodka) and I made a second batch with a splash of Grand Marnier and some finely grated clementine zest. Rum, whisky and even gin truffles work, too!
Other (non-alcoholic) additions could be a drop or two of peppermint extract, some Valencian orange extract, or perhaps some rose ‘spice drops’. I’ve even seen some salted caramel extract in the shops, so you can get creative with your flavourings. If you want to try more than one flavour, once the chocolate has melted into the cream you can split the truffle mixture into a couple of separate bowls and stir through your flavourings.
You may notice that Jamie suggests adding a splash of boiling water if your mixture splits – this really does work. Once you’ve added the water, use a big whisk and give the mixture a really good stir to make it smooth again. Be brave and don’t panic!
When you are ready to serve your DIY dessert, simply take the truffle mixture out of the fridge and have some chopped nuts (hazelnuts and pistachio nuts are great), a little cocoa or some freeze-dried strawberry powder set out in small bowls. I used some salted caramel hot chocolate powder leftover from Christmas. Serve your truffles with a couple of small glasses of liqueur or vodka shots. Don’t forget to bring out a little teacup of hot water with some teaspoons to scoop up the truffle mixture and roll into little balls, too.
Let me know how you get on, and what you flavoured your DIY truffles with!
You can find plenty more romantic meal ideas here.