Ariel's trufflesMaia's truffles

Take: 300g of good dark chocolate; half a pint of double cream; 2oz unsalted butter; a capful of vanilla essence; and some good cocoa powder for dusting.

1. Take the butter out of the fridge.
2. Break up the chocolate into smallish pieces, into a largish bowl (a Pyrex bowl is good if you have one). Don’t be tempted to try and do this during step 3, you won’t have time! You can afford to eat a couple of small squares, but no more!
3. Bring the cream gently to boiling point in a small saucepan. Don’t let it boil and froth up, just bring it up to simmering point and then take it striaght off the heat and pour the cream over the chocolate.
4. Stir the mixture gently (avoid bubbles and froth) until the chocolate has melted.  Then leave it to stand for a couple of minutes while you cut the butter up into smallish chunks – say 8 little cubes.
5. Add about half the butter, and stir gently for a minte or so. Then add the rest of the butter and stir gently for a bit more. Add the vanilla essence. Stir until all the butter has been incorporated into the chocolate. This should look glossy and smooth. If it doesn’t (and I’ve never had this problem) I’m told a food processor will sort it out.
6. Put in the fridge until the mixture has set hard. Takes at least 3 hours. Aah. Time for some lunch and a nap!
7. Truffle-making time! Put some cocoa powder in a dish. Take a spoonful of ganache and roll it in your cocoa-powder-dusted hands. When you have a ball shape, roll it around in the cocoa, shake off any excess powder, and voila! Your hands will get sticky every couple of truffles, so you will need to re-dust them with cocoa frequently, and have a clean tea-towel to hand for wiping purposes.
8. Best served chilled.

Makes – depends on the size. We made, as you can see, thirty.
Careful – the fresh creams means you should keep these in a fridge and eat them within a couple of days. Shouldn’t be too hard!

Toddlers are very good at stirring, and very good at helping you to eat those spare 2 squares of chocolate. They can also join in the actual truffle-making at the end*, and are very good at licking spoons and cleaning bowls. But be warned. Chocolate WILL get everywhere.

[*Ariel’s are the slightly lumpy ones in the first picture. Mine are the far more polished and sophisticated ones (ahem) in the second picture.]