A few weeks ago I took a Friday off work (one of the most awesome things you can possibly do, ever!) and headed to Matlock in Derbyshire for an afternoon of Chocolate Truffle making! It was the first food course I’ve been on, and I really enjoyed learning a new skill (tempering chocolate) and wandering around Matlock for a few hours. It’s a beautiful little town (somewhat marred by the quarry lorries thundering past you) full of vintage and antique shops and pretty boutiques, and with a river trickling through. Oh, and there’s delicious cake at the Cosy Cup!
My friends bought me the 2 hour course from Choc Art for my 30th birthday and it was under £50. I spent two hours in Taeke’s lovely cottage on the hills of Matlock (amazing views!) learning about how to make the perfect chocolate truffle. These weren’t the kind you make with double cream and melted chocolate – but the more traditional kind which lend themselves to a flavoured filling (such as with liequer or in my case, praline!) which is then dipped in chocolate and rolled in more chocolate!
The basic recipe (this one is similar to what I made) is incredibly simple, and lends itself wonderfully to customisation for the person you’re making the truffles for – do they love baileys / gin and tonic /strawberries and cream – make it into a truffle!
I was really pleased to see that Taeke uses the same kind of chocolate that I do in my baking – Callebaut! I stocked up a few months ago on three 1kg bags of the chocolate chips (white, plain, and dark) and it’s SO good! The quality is wonderful and it comes pre-tempered, making it perfect for this kind of recipe (but also just for stuffing ito cookies, like these!). I buy mine at the Chocolate Trading company currently.
But the most important reason why I love Callebaut? A 1kg bag of chocolate chips is less than £7, which means that per 100g, the cost is just 70p. That’s less than the Silver Spoon or Dr Oetker chocolate chips you get in the supermarket, and also less than the Tesco/Asda own brand chocolate chips! Plus, they taste A WHOLE LOT better! I even love their white chocolate and white chocolate that’s not high quality and Belgian can be really … bad.
So, onto the truffles! First, you make the filling. Butter meets melted tempered chocolate (like callebaut) meets a filling of your choice. Everything is stirred until thoroughly combined and the butter is melted, and then it goes into a piping bags to be piped into these….. little poo looking things. They go off to the fridge for ten minutes and they should become quite set.
Next, we’ll dip the filling in melted tempered chocolate, and this needs to be 32 degrees exactly (ideally). Although if its 33 or 31, I’m pretty sure it will still taste delicious! The chocolate can be melted over a double boiler, and then gradually stirred to bring the temperature down – dropping in more chocolate chips and stirring until they melt also helps to bring it down! Once the temperature is 32 degrees, we can dip our truffle filling. I used a special tool, but you could use a fork too. A good tip I learned for chocolate dipping – If you gently bob the fork repeatedly on top of the chocolate (not at a height – right on top) it will stop dripping and you’ll be able to move it away safely.
I then deposited my coated truffles onto a bed of chocolate flakes or rich Callebaut cocoa powder. The best way to do it is to decisively turn your fork upside down and drop the truffle down. Then, do another truffle, and by the time that one is done, your first truffle is ready to be covered with more chocolate flakes or cocoa powder! In just a few minutes they’ll be set and ready to eat and they keep for up to 6-8 weeks.
It’s hard to say which truffles were the best but possibly the ones rolled in cocoa powder. The Callebaut cocoa powder is unlike anything I’ve ever used (or smelled)! It’s so rich and good quality that it literally smells like chocolate cake already. I’d love to get some and bake an actual cake with it!
So what became of my truffles? One thing I have to say about this 2 hour course, other than recommending it if you want to learn how to make truffles (of course!) is that you end up with like 40 amazing freshly homemade chocolate truffles. Which of course would cost rather a lot more than £50 to buy! QUITE a lot of them food their way into my mouth and then to save my waistline, I packaged up the rest for the lovely ladies who’d bought me the course – that’s savvy gift buying right there!
Have you ever been on a food course? We’re so lucky to have the School of Artisan Food here in Nottinghamshire – I would LOVE to go on any of their courses in the future (but especially this one!).