Today, March 19th, it’s Saint Joseph or Father’s Day.

I don’t feel so much this holiday for a very simple reason: it is part of the so-called “for traders” holiday, invented to sell flowers and chocolates (Valentine’s Day), mimosas and tickets for party with skimpy and disturbing patterned G-strings dressed men (Women’s day), other flowers and chocolates (Mother’s Day) or aftershave and liquors (Father’s Day). I don’t understand yet what good is Grandparents day, but sooner or later I’ll understand what kind of traders earn from this holiday.

Despite these holidays are questionable in their motives, they may represent a further moment to remember our loved ones (but if they become the only moment when we remember them, it’s time to run for cover): so, rather than replenish the cash of some pastry shop or perfumery, why don’t we make it an occasion to give a small handmade gift, which has a completely different value than a gift bought at the corner store (if you have as corner store a pharmacy or a Funeral Home, perhaps it is best to avoid the gift at all)?!

So today I propose you some sweets that everyone likes, that you can realize with a few simple ingredients, that don’t require great cooking skills: therefore, everybody can make them (even with your children’s help). Here is to you my chocolate truffles.

Also, these sweets are very customizable, depending on the tastes of the guest of honour or the maker, since you can flavor them with almost anything. I give to you the standard recipe, the flavors that I used and some tips on other flavorings that you may add.

DARK CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

Ingredients (about 40 truffles, approximately 3 cm in diameter)

* 300 g 70% dark chocolate

* 200 g whipping cream

* 30 g unsalted butter at room temperature

* unsweetened cocoa powder (to garnish)

Procedure

Chop the chocolate with a knife and melt in a bain-marie, stirring it with a whisk, so it melts completely. Meanwhile, bring to the boil the whipping cream and, as soon as it boils, turn off the heat. Pour the cream into the chocolate in three times, stopping each time to mix with a whisk, so that it mixes well with chocolate. Then remove from heat, add the soft butter and stir again, so that it incorporates well. Finally, pour the mixture into a bowl and put it at least two hours in the refrigerator.

After this time, remove the bowl from refrigerator and put the cocoa powder in a shallow dish, so you have at your fingertips everything you need to make the truffles: with the help of a teaspoon, take some hazelnut mixture, made a ball with your hands and pass it in cocoa. When the truffles are all ready, arrange them in a little box (or a plate, a container) and place them in the fridge to cool down (I made them yesterday and this morning they were simply perfect).

 

Tips about flavors

I made three different kinds of truffles, some natural (without other flavors), some with candied ginger and the others flavored with Manchester tea!

For those with ginger (but the same is true for other solid ingredients: chopped hazelnuts or other dried fruit, pieces of meringue, candied orange, chocolate chips, etc. …), just add to the final mixture candied ginger chopped into small pieces.

To flavor them with tea (I used Manchester tea, but you can use whatever tea you like: Earl Grey, black tea, green tea etc…), instead, you have to bring to the boil the whipping cream, and then put in infusion for about 10 minutes a tablespoon of tea leaves: after 10 minutes, filter the cream and use it as explained in the recipe; truffles will smell so good! Likewise, you can flavor them with instant coffee or other infusion flavorings.

Obviously you can flavor them with liquor (brandy, rum or other), using the method just described, but eliminating the infusion time. Or you can flavor with the tahini (like Juls) or other cream (chestnuts cream, Nutella etc. ..).

Well, I hope you got some ideas from me, but the flavors and combinations are endless: you can replace some of the dark chocolate with milk chocolate, you can use chopped chocolate (or chopped hazelnuts/pistachios, dried coconut flour) instead of cocoa to garnish the truffles!

In short, do as you wish, but the result is guaranteed! And a hand-made gift, though quick and easy, it’s always a better gift than anything money can buy .. Try them!

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