There is always something intensely satisfying about making chocolates, not least because you can have whatever flavours, fillings and adornments you want – and at a fraction of the cost from those you buy from the artisan chocolate shops.
Mind you, I do have a real weakness for artisan chocolate shops!
Crisp chocolate shells with soft centres
These chocolates have a very crisp chocolate exterior and a soft, almost oozing coffee ganache inside. I often prefer a softer filling when it comes to chocolates. However, if you want a firmer filling, go for up to 200g chocolate.
I temper the chocolate in the microwave (it is easier!), so that the finished chocolates are shiny and crisp, but if you just use melted chocolate they will still taste excellent.
I have several silicone chocolate moulds, which are absolutely fine but can be a bit of a faff to get the chocolates out of them once they have set. These moulds, using a new 27-hole chocolate mould I bought from Squires Kitchen in Farnham, Surrey, are excellent and drop out of the mould with total ease by rapping the moulds upside down on the work surface.
I am so fortunate to live a few minutes away from this veritable Aladdin’s cave of treats for all manner of baking and cake decorating needs!
Coffee: yes, please!!
While instant coffee granules dissolved in water work excellently in cakes and buttercreams, for the ganache/truffle filling it really needs to be “proper” coffee.
This filling has a real adult coffee kick, but you can decrease or increase the coffee if you prefer: just adjust the amount of cream accordingly so you have 180ml liquid.
I use the espresso function on my coffee machine for the coffee, but you could instead simply let ground coffee infuse with the hot double cream, before straining over the chocolate for the ganache filling. You can use more ground coffee for a stronger flavour, or let it infuse for longer.
A great ingredient, adding simply decorative flourish, you simply heat it gently in its bottle until it become runny, pour some into a small bowl and then splash it randomly (or go for more precision) inside the moulds using a small brush or even a small spoon.
Once it has set you then pour in the chocolate for the outer shells.
Recipe: cappuccino chocolates (makes at least 27)
- 200ml good quality white chocolate: melted or, ideally, tempered
- coloured cocoa butter, melted – optional
- 150ml double cream (or a mixture of milk and cream)
- 30ml strong espresso coffee
- 130g good quality milk chocolate (or use plain)
- a pinch of fine sea salt
(1) Randomly slash or brush the cocoa butter, if using, inside the moulds and leave to set for a few minutes in the fridge. Pipe or spoon the chocolate into the moulds coming to the top of the moulds.
(2) Invert the moulds a few inches over a sheet of greaseproof for about a minutes to let the excess chocolate drip out onto the greaseproof. Invert and run a palette knife across the top to remove excess chocolate between the holes.
(3) Place the mould, hole-side down onto a clean sheet of greaseproof and leave to set: leaving the mould facing downwards prevents the chocolate from pooling into the base of the moulds.
(4) For the ganache, put the chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the cream, coffee and salt in a small pan just until it comes to the boil, and then remove from the heat. Pour it over the chocolate and leave for a few minutes before stirring until the chocolate melts and you have a shiny, smooth mixture. Leave until it has cooled, but still a bit runny.
(5) Spoon or pipe the ganache into the moulds, coming to within a few millimetres of the top. Chill for about 30 minutes until the ganache has set.
NB: be careful not to over-fill,; if you do, the filling will ooze out when you smoothen off the surface once the rest of the chocolate is added.
(6) Pipe or spoon the rest of the white chocolate on top of the ganache and give the moulds a gentle shake to let the chocolate settle flat. Run a palette knife back over to give a smooth surface. Chill until the chocolate has set.
(7) Remove the chocolates and enjoy. The chocolates turn out of these moulds like a dream: you simply rap the edge on the work surface a few times and out they pop.
Other chocolate recipes
I adore tangy fruit fillings in chocolates, and the two recipes below often more than satisfy that sweet-sharp chocolate fix for me: