DIY Chocolate Truffles

Hello fellow DIY-ers! For New Year’s Eve I made my fiancé a romantic at-home meal, which I finished with a trio of homemade pear-liqueur truffles. They were delicious! I adapted my original recipe using Ferran Adriá’s book “Repas de famille” (a Christmas gift from my wonderful fiancé).

Here is the recipe and how-to. This will make about 10 truffles:

*Truffles are not an exact science – you need to adjust based on taste and texture. *

60 g of semi-sweet chocolate (I used the brand Baker’s – 4 cubes)

60 ml 35% whipping cream

1 tbsp butter (cut into small pieces)

1.5 tbsp liqueur (I used pear this time, but I’ve also used amaretto, ice wine, scotch, kahlua etc.)

1. Assemble all your ingredients.

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2. Chop your chocolate into fairly fine pieces. Put them in a small baking dish or bowl.

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3. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan until it is gently simmering.

4. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Cover and let the cream melt the chocolate (about 3 minutes).

5. Uncover and whisk until smooth. Sometimes the cream is not quite enough to melt all the chocolate. In this case, place the chocolate over a pot of gently boiling water (like a double-boiler) and whisk until smooth. 

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6. Incorporate the butter pieces into the chocolate mixture. (Again, use the double-boiler method if the butter won’t melt). Whisk until smooth.

7. Add the liqueur and whisk until smooth.

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8. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is fairly firm to the touch.

9. Sift some cocoa into a small bowl.

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10. Roll the truffles into small balls (they don’t have to be perfectly round) and coat them in the sifted cocoa. Enjoy at room temperature. YUM!

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DIY All-White Floral Centrepiece

As I said in my previous post, my fiancé and I had a wonderful, romantic New Year’s Eve dinner at home this year. Here is what our table looked like:

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To really set the ambiance, I created a lush, all-white floral centrepiece for our table. I used my grandmother’s silver rose bowl as the vase, and most of the flowers I bought up at Loblaws.

Recipe: All-white floral centrepiece

8 stems white-cream spray roses (4-6 blooms per stem) ($10)

15 stems white spray carnation (3-4 blooms per stem) ($6)

1 large white hydrangea ($4.50)

1 branch cedar (approximately 8 off-shoots) ($3)

Floral shears (clean, sharp kitchen shears will do)

Vase or bowl

Glass stones

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1. Gather all your flowers in a large pot, filled with warm-ish water and flower food. I bought the spray roses and carnations the day before making my arrangement. The hydrangea and cedar I bought the day-of. Make sure to trim the stems of your flowers.

2. I filled the bottom of the rose bowl with a layer of glass stones, and water. I originally tried to use floral foam, but I hated it so I re-started with just the stones. The problem with the foam is that once you insert a flower, you can’t pull it out really because the hole stays there forever. Also, if you insert a flower too deeply and need to adjust it, you’ll create an air pocket under the stem, and the flower can’t get water. 🙁

3. Place your hydrangea in the centre of the bowl. You’ll have to hold it up at this point. Keep in mind that you want to create a dome shape.

4. Surround the hydrangea with a combination of carnations and roses. For this, keep most of your multi-bloom stems intact.

5. Once the arrangement is secure, fill it out with individual carnations and roses. The nice thing about hydrangea is that the cage-like understructure will hold other flowers in place.

6. Add your trimmed cedar shoots.

7. Ta-da!

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You could easily re-create this look using fewer flowers, in a smaller vase. The rose bowl has a very wide opening, so I required plenty of flowers to give a lush look. In a smaller vase, you’d probably need only 5-6 stems of spray roses, 8-10 stems of spray carnations, 1 hydgrangea, and cedar.

Chèvre-stuffed figs

My fiancé and I decided that this New Year’s Eve would be a quiet one for us. We’ve had a very busy Christmas season (which seems to have started Nov. 30th), so it was really lovely to have a bit of time à deux.

Those who know me know that I LOVE to cook; it really is an obsession of mine.

I planned a delicious, gourmet meal for the two of us, and had an excellent time shopping around for all my ingredients. 6 grocery stores later, I had everything I needed.

Here’s a sneak peek of the table setting I created for our romantic dinner:

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Today I’m going to walk you through how to re-create the appetizer from this meal.

The Menu: 

Chèvre-Stuffed Figs with Prosciutto, Toasted Walnuts, and Maple-Balsamic Drizzle (paired with the 2010 Cave Spring Semi-Dry Riesling)

Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup with Black Truffle Shavings

Rack of Lamb Dijonnaise with Roasted Red Pepper Purée, Green Beans, and Carrots (paired with the 2007 Strewn Terroir Three)

Trio of Pear Liqueur Chocolate Truffles (paired with Mumm Napa Brut)

How-To: Chèvre-Stuffed Figs

1. Make your maple-balsamic drizzle by combining 2 tbsp of maple syrup with 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar.

2. Make the chèvre mixture by combining 2 tbsp of soft, unripened goat cheese with two tbsp of 35% whipping cream.

3. Toast some walnuts and chop them coarsely.

4. Prepare figs by cutting an X in the top, about 2/3 of the way down the fig.

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5. Fold a slice of prosciutto lengthwise (the long way) and wrap it around the bottom of the fig. Tuck then end of the prosciutto slice under the fig to hide it.

6. Spread the sections of the fig and spoon in some of the chèvre mixture.

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7. Top the fig with the toasted walnut pieces.

8. Just before serving, drizzle some of your maple-balsamic mixture over the fig. Not too much, or it’ll end up too sweet.

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Delicious!