These truffles will make wonderful gifts for friends – if you can bear to give them away, that is! For a different flavour, add rum, Cointreau or whiskey instead of the crème de menthe and mint or experiment with different coatings, such as grated chocolate or finely chopped pistachio nuts or toasted almonds.
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp crème de menthe
225g plain chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), broken into squares
For the coating
50g plain chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), broken into squares
25g good-quality cocoa powder
Put the cream in a small pan with the mint and crème de menthe. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and allow to cool. Set aside for 1 hour to allow the flavours to infuse.
Pour the infused cream through a fine sieve into a small clean pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, then whisk in the chocolate until smooth and melted. Put in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to cool in the fridge for 2-3 hours, until the mixture is cold and set.
Remove the bowl from the fridge about 30 minutes before you intend to finish the truffles. Scoop into 30 even-sized balls – a large melon baller works best for this. Make sure to dip the melon baller in hot water between each scoop to make the job easier. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper. Wearing clean rubber gloves and with cold hands, roll the balls into slightly more rounded shapes. Chill while preparing the final stage.
To make the coating, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave, then leave to cool a little. Sift the cocoa into a small bowl. Again, wearing clean rubber gloves, dip the tips of your fingers in the melted chocolate and rub it all over a truffle to lightly coat. Toss in the cocoa powder until completely coated, then arrange on a clean baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper. Repeat until all the truffles are coated, cover with cling film and chill until needed.
Pop the chocolate truffles into gift boxes or bags with tissue paper, tie with ribbon and share them. These will keep happily in the fridge for up to two weeks. To serve, arrange the truffles on a plate or platter.
Extracted from Neven Maguire’s Perfect Irish Christmas (Gill Books, €22.99). Photograph by Joanne Murphy.
Catch Neven’s Christmas Menu on RTÉ One next Tuesday at 7pm.
For more Christmas inspiration, pick up the December issue of IMAGE Magazine, out today.