Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Candy Cane Peppermint Truffles

Back in the golden years of my youth, my parents and grandparents would host these dinner parties and without fail, the “after dinner” mints would emerge, usually with plunger coffee if things needed to wrap up or nips of scotch and/or port if the night was getting started.  It was all so sophisticated and those after dinner mints of days gone by were a surefire signal of guests ie the ultimate people watching for 8 year olds and dinner, generally a much improved one, with the almost guaranteed leftovers for picking through the next day.

I remember hanging about the kitchen for days, trying to snaffle the after dinner mints then hiding under my bed, precariously lifting them out of their little envelopes and melting them all over my hands as I tried to lick the chocolate off first.  These candy cane chocolate truffles are my Christmas equivalent of the after dinner mint – a version that can be eaten out in the open rather than under the bedded confines of your Sealy junior single. Slightly naff candy canes are crunched up in delicious dark chocolate and dusted in cocoa. They are “fancy” enough to mark the occasion and definitely tasty enough to sustain the child within. The best bit, the candy cane chunks soften in the ganache, tasting like some kind of lustrous minty nougat. Should someone wonder if you had, in fact, been toiling away in the kitchen making mint nougat before rolling it into ganache in preparation for their arrival, well your secret is safe with me. I just can’t promise any leftovers.

Makes 20 – 25 (depending on how much mixture you eat)

100g candy canes
225g dark chocolate, chopped
150ml pouring cream
40g butter
Good quality dutch cocoa powder for dusting

Break the candy cane into pieces and transfer to a food processor. Blitz the candy canes – you want them to be tiny little chunks rather than ground to a powder style consistency. Set aside

Add the chocolate, cream and butter to a heat-proof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir constantly until the chocolate has melted and the ingredients have combined. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before adding the candy cane chunks. Stir to combine then place covered in the fridge for 15 minutes to cool. The mixture should be cool to touch but still slightly malleable.
Scoop out tablespoons (or smaller if you’d prefer) of mixture and roll into balls. Dust the balls in the cocoa powder and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Repeat until all the mixture is used. Refrigerate overnight or until firm before serving. 

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