5.30 am: A darling boy saunters into the bedroom of his parents, climbs on the bed, babbles a bit and falls right asleep. His mama, rudely awakened lies still – eyes wide open and sleep is gone – that’s how my ‘great weekend’ started out.
6.30 am: Since I couldn’t go back to bed, I came down and got to work fleshing out a guest post for Rebecca of Chow and Chatter. Rebecca was as fascinated as I was in the discovery of a ‘slurping-noodles’ style of eating, common in some Asian countries. I had also been replaying what my friend, M said weeks ago about ‘burping in Hong Kong’ so it fitted quite nicely and the results are titled People, places and food: the good, the new and the different?? Hope you enjoy it!
7.30 am: While my entire family slept on, I went for a long, long walk…to a meadow where Elderflower trees line the paths, a reconnaisance to see if the Elderberries were out, and they were. One for another day.
8.30 am: Back home, everyone was awake and that’s when the first wave of inspiration hit me: Why not finally make the Caramelised White chocolate I’d had on my TTD list (Things-to-do). After agreeing with myself, I set to work….and it all went well, all according to plan….and then I added some chopped up dried chilies to finish it off – beautiful.
So first and foremost, here’s how to Caramelise White chocolate
Caramelised White Chocolate
Makes almost 2 cups. Preparation time: 1 hour
You’ll needWhite chocolate (of course!) – I used 2 cups of callets Sea salt Clean, washed jars Optional: Dried red chilli, chopped
Preheat the oven to 120 degrees C (250 degrees Fahrenheit)
If you’re using a block of white chocolate, chop it into small pieces – I don’t know if grating will work but it just well may.
Spread the white chocolate on a rimmed baking sheet (not a cookie sheet, though it takes a while before it gets fluid) and heat for ten minutes then bring the tray out and mix it with a spatula. (At this stage, my callets had just started to melt and formed a rather creamy lump, which I did my best to spread out)
Continue to cook for an additional 40-60 minutes, stirring and spreading every 10 minutes. (My expectations were very high – My aim, a brown caramel colour, and so after about 50 minutes, it was ready!)
Get it out of the oven (don’t forget to turn the oven off) and while its still on the tray, sprinkle some sea salt (flakes). According to David, if it’s lumpy, scrape it into a bowl and smooth it out with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Mine seemed fine and just because I heard oil was good for seized chocolate, I decided to stir a little bit in even though…nothing was wrong!
Pour into a clean jar and store at room temperature, until ready to use if you love the ‘salted caramel taste’!
Now if you want to go a step further and jazz it up a little bit, then stir in the seeds and chopped skin of one dried red chilli or vary according to your preferences. Apparently, it should keep for several months, if stored in a cool, dry place.
Well, I used up part of one jar to make the truffles….
and had some on bread – chilli and all.
The other jar stayed in my cupboard but by today, it was no longer runny – it appears to have ‘dried out’. I still had it like that though (on bread, again) – kinda like choco flakes! I’ll investigate it much later!
Now on to the Truffles and the main reason for my excitement: The making of Dark Chocolate truffles; and with the Caramel ready I figured I’d be able to make two flavours….the more, the merrier right? That was only one half of the story. The second part involves a very special book I got in London, called Hot! Hot! Hot! by 2 Finnish ladies, the source of this Chilli Truffle recipe (my book is in English!) A book that has resulted in this post and ‘Saag Chicken stew’! I’m actually quite suprised that I seem to be cooking my way through (only) one book and I say that because I have a few more recipes from it I’m desperate to make like Chicken in Chocolate sauce! I could go on but I won’t spoil the fun.
Then to top it all, I found that for once there is a blog event that
1) I know of;
2) Have the grace to take part in (recipe and time permitting); and
3) Am really excited about.
So overall: Book + Joy + Time = Delightful Truffles
Try it sometime!
If you have nightmares about working with chillies, read my how-to: deseed chillies
For Dark Chocolate Truffles (makes about 24)100g creme fraiche or soft tofu 200g dark chocolate 1/2 fresh red chilli pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
For Caramelised White Chocolate Truffles (makes about 24)100g creme fraiche or soft tofu 200g Caramelised White chocolate 1/2 dried red chilli pepper, finely chopped
GarnishesDark cocoa powder Dessicated coconut Hagelslag aka Hundreds-and-Thousands Nougatine Aniseed powder
Grate or chop dark chocolate.
Heat Creme Fraiche or tofu gently and mix in chocolate till it has melted (for the dark chocolate). For the white chocolate, add the (hopefully) fluid white chocolate into the heated Cream Fraiche and mix well
Add chopped chilli to the different chocolate mixtures: chopped, dried red chillies to the Caramelised white chocolate and the chopped fresh red chillies to the dark cocolate. Stir each combination well to mix.
Allow paste to cool at room temperature and then refigerate for a few hours. When you’re ready to make the balls, lay out the garnishes seperately …or as you desire
When cool, use a teaspoon to measure out portions and roll them into truffle balls
Dip each truffle ball into a garnish, roll round to coat and then set on a flat plate or in a container
Store in the refigerator or in a cool, dry place
The results: Lovely, chocolatey with a hint of spice…and not a lot of heat but the pleasure it gave…and the sense of accomplishment: can’t quantify
You can stud them with dried fruit and nuts by pushing them to the centre for a nice suprise
Using white powders like icing sugar and aniseed powder don’t work, they dissolve into the darkk chocolate…and don’t look the best: they taste great though
These make great gifts and can be boxed up nicely so next time you want to make a gift of chocolates, get-a-truffling!
So waking up so early was more than a blessing for me….all things work together for good! Saying that, please tell my little boy not to make this a habit or else you’ll get more fun, easy recipes to make 🙂
Do you love Chillies in ‘sweet’ recipes? Which recipe is your favourite? Let me know, ok.
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