Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Chocolate Bailey's Truffles

So it was National Chocolate Week last week! 
I love chocolate! (Who doesn't?)
It's just so versatile! It's used for near enough anything nowadays, although there are some really weird concoctions about. I am not a brave enough baker to experiment with the more daring ideas, but sometimes I think that simple is best.
I love making chocolate cakes or biscuits, and I was tempted to make some this week, except our oven wasn't working. Sigh.

So I thought I'd do something I haven't actually made before:
I apologise for my decorating skill, after all it is the first time I've done them.
They do say 'Practice Makes Perfect'!

I don't know why I haven't made them before, because they are actually quite simple to make. 
Of course the traditional truffles are made with dark chocolate (remember, your chocolate must be at least 70% cocoa), but I've had some that were made with white chocolate. Yum!

Let's not forget you can make them extra special just by adding an extra flavour to the mixture.
I used Bailey's Irish Cream as my extra flavouring for this batch, but next time I may go a bit more out there with some orange, mint, or pistachio. Or I could go straight for the chilli!

12oz Dark Chocolate, chopped (I used 85% cocoa)
6 tbsp Bailey's Irish Cream
4 tbsp Double Cream
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Mix the double cream, Bailey's and vanilla extract in a heatproof bowl, and put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
Heat the mixture until it's close to boiling.
Then add the chopped chocolate, and melt it into the cream.
Remove the bowl from the heat, and pour the mixture into a square baking tray.
Put the tray in the fridge for about an hour, or until it is soft enough to play around with.
Once cooled, use a small spoon to scoop out some of the chocolate.
The size of the scoop depends on how big you want your truffles :)

To decorate:
Roll the chocolate into a ball, and then into what you wish to cover the truffles with.
I used cocoa powder (which is the traditional coating), and some chocolate sprinkles.
You can coat them in some more melted chocolate, to give it a nice crunchy coating, or some desiccated coconut.
Once decorated, put them back in the fridge for another couple of hours.

These are perfect as a present, or just as a solution for when you're craving sugar.
By the way my housemates were chomping these down, I can only assume that they were a success :)

Let's Run Away To The Circus

I can't believe I'm into my third year of university already. It's all gone so quickly. 
I remember being in that first lecture two years ago, sitting with people that I didn't know, people that would soon become my friends, and the lecturer saying that the next three years will be over before you know it. Obviously at the time you think, 'What? As if!' And it is unbelievable, until suddenly you realise that was two years ago, and you're now in your last year. 
That as of June next year, you are never going to sit in another lecture theatre, listening to the lecturers' (sometimes) funny anecdotes; you will no longer be sitting in the canteen with your friends laughing and playing Trivial Pursuit on someone's iPod; and you won't be nervously revising for your exams in the library anymore.

But hey, let's not get too upset just yet. After all, that's nearly nine months away...

Anyway, since moving into my uni house, my housemates and I have had the problem of not having access to the internet for two weeks. So for a lack of things to do in the evenings (after all there is a limit to how much partying or watching TV/movies you can handle) I decided to read some of the books I didn't manage to read over the summer.

The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern

How can I describe it?
It is just... 


Honestly, I just loved it. It was everything I had hoped for in a book. 
I grew up as part of the Harry Potter generation (God I miss it!) and as such I've always had a love for a book that contains magic. Which is (partly) why I loved The Night Circus.
It's not often that I get so involved in a book, but while reading I honestly wished that Le Cirque des Rêves was real. I became a rêveur just from reading the book.

Obviously, the book is not just about the circus. Although the descriptions given are so mesmerising, I wouldn't have minded if it was.
It has a charming plot, containing a slow, but wonderfully written romance. So wonderful that it made me so happy and warm just reading it. Although I think the magic helped a little with the romance.

If there is one thing you should definitely do, it is to read this book. 
You will not regret it. Not one little bit.