A Christmas treat that is as easy to make as it is delightful to receive.
Chop 225g of fine dark chocolate into small pieces about the size of gravel, then put it into a heatproof china or glass bowl. Pour 135ml of double cream into a small saucepan and heat gently. As the cream approaches the boil, remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate, stirring slowly until melted. Put the mixture in the fridge for an hour to chill. Remove heaped tablespoons of the mixture and roll very gently into balls or small logs. Drop into cocoa powder and roll them around gently to cover, then remove and serve. Makes 15 large truffles.
Use a good-quality dark chocolate with about 70% cocoa solids. Chop it very finely so that it melts in the warm cream. If the chocolate refuses to melt, place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir gently. Don't leave the chocolate mixture in the fridge for more than an hour or it will become too stiff to roll easily. Make certain your hands are cool for the rolling, or better still, leave the truffles rough-edged.
You can, of course, add brandy or rum to the mixture, but other flavourings, such as spices, work nicely, too. Add these to the cream rather than the truffles. Put the crushed cardamom, cinnamon sticks or vanilla pods into the cream and bring to the boil. Cover and set aside to cool for an hour. Strain to remove the spices, then warm the cream again before using it to melt the chocolate. Instead of cocoa powder, cover the truffles in melted chocolate and leave to set to a crisp coating.