Pink and Glitter: Recipe Advent Calendar 11th

When it comes to festive fare, no one can say no to a tipsy truffle. Homemade, these goodies will wow your friends, and be the perfect end to any meal. They aren’t rocket science to make either. These little lovelies make wonderful gifts, a pretty special addition to any Yuletide buffet, and, since you are making them yourself, can be flavoured to your taste. If you have a favourite tipple, chances are it’ll go with chocolate. And if you are teetotal or might be feeding these to youngsters, these are easily flavoured with extracts including vanilla, mint, orange or lemon. Go wild!

Since my chosen form of presentation is to roll these goodies in sprinkles and non pareil, I have always thought of these as my ‘Pink and Glitter’ truffles after a seasonal Tori Amos song of the same name. However, these treats can be simply finished with cocoa powder, melted chocolate, chopped nuts…

I must note that this recipe works best in terms of texture with dark chocolate. However, you can use this recipe with white or milk chocolate too- the finish is just softer the further away from dark you go. If you go for white, your truffles won’t be as pretty, but they are so tasty I think my friends would revolt if I stopped making them. The ganache recipe works great to fill chocolate moulds too, and can be spread on cakes as frosting.

Pink and Glitter Truffles

  • 300g chocolate
  • 200ml double cream
  • knob of butter
  • OPTIONAL: 1-2 generous shots of your chosen spirit OR 1/2 tsp flavour extract
  • Cocoa powder, non pareil, chopped nuts etc to coat.

Break the chocolate into chunks in a mixing bowl.

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In a milk pan, melt the butter into the double cream and bring up to boil.

The instant it boils, take it off the heat and pour over the chocolate chunks. Leave to melt for 3-5 minutes.

Beat the chocolate and cream together into a uniform mixture. Air at this stage will help to thicken the mix.

If you are flavouring the chocolate, add a generous shot of liquor, or 1/2 tsp extract and mix it through. Taste, and add more if needed, then beat again

Pour out into a piping bag and refrigerate overnight. This mix will keep in the fridge for a week or so if needs be.

When you are ready to make your truffles, line a baking sheet or food storage box with parchment.

Get your coatings ready- pour whatever you are using out into some bowls.If you are intending to dip your truffles in chocolate, melt a further 200g of your chosen choccie.

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Pipe blobs of the ganache into the toppings and roll around and shape with your fingers or a fork. If you are dipping, pipe out onto a fork and use this to dip the truffles in. N.B if your ganache gets too warm and runny, pop it back in the fridge for an hour or so to firm up again.

Lay out the truffles on the parchment, and place somewhere very cool, or in the fridge to set.

 

Alas, I haven’t got any pictures of the finished product to show you, as they vanished in about 5 seconds flat. But trust me, they were camp, sparkly, and delicious. Full on festively ridiculous, even. I flavoured mine with Bailey’s (milk), Cointreau (dark) and Ginger Liqueur (white) but as afore mentioned, you can pretty much flavour these to your taste. Bright, light flavours like citrus-y Limoncello go great with white, a robust Whisky will go with pretty much anything, and why not go a little wilder with Vodka, or Port, with dark?

Merry Chocolatemas!

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Festive Libations: Recipe Advent Calendar 5th-9th

Sorry tee-tollers; this post is not going to be for you.

I like my Christmas ‘merry’, and for me there is nothing so festive as a swanky Christmas cocktail party. Not that I get invited to too many of those, but an evening under the Christmas lights, martini glass in one hand and wrapping paper in the other does me just fine.

I like my cocktails fruity and sweet, so this ‘menu’ leans quite a bit that way. Some are long, most are strong, but all are instant festive favourites and I just know you’ll love getting ‘jingled’ on them as much as I do.

I dedicate this post to Simon, Davi, Pam, Amber, David, Gary, Holly and Izzy, who dutifully ‘tested’ these out for me over the weekend.

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Cheery Chocolate Cherry-tini

For a ‘martini’, this isn’t the strongest drink around, but it is so tasty and festively red. I adore it. If you really can’t get hold of creme de cacao you *can* use a sweet clear liqueur like Malibu, but I really recommend getting yourself a bottle of this stuff. One, you’ll need it for another recipe later on. Two, you deserve it. Three, it isn’t too difficult to find- a well stocked drinks specialist/off license should have it, or try amazon or thedrinkshop.com.

  • 1 part cherry juice
  • 1 part creme de cacao
  • 1 part vanilla vodka

Add ingredients to a shaker and shake over ice. Serve in a martini glass with a glacé or maraschino cherry garnish. If you like your drink a little longer, use two measures of cherry juice.

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The Grinch

I love love LOVE this cocktail because it is such a step away from the usual christmas flavours, whilst still being pretty darn festive, colour accurate and refreshingly delicious.

  •  2 measures midori
  • 1/2 measure lemon juice
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • OPTIONAL: a tap of confectioners glitter in Holographic White (for the snow of Hooville)

Shake ingredients over ice and serve in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a glacé or maraschino cherry. For extra cheer, wet the rim of your glass with the rind of the lemon and rim it with coloured sugar- I recommend red.

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Poinsettia

This fruity, oh-so-red holiday favourite is a great pitcher drink for parties, but here are the measurements for just one glass… if you can restrain yourself to that. There is debate on the the orange liqueur to use, and the sparkling wine, but for me it has to be Cointreau, and I’m not fussy on the wine. White or pink, Champagne or reasonable-but-drinkable plonk- I don’t think you need to go all out on a wine you are using in the mix. If you can drink it on its own, you’re doing it right. If you’re breaking the bank to buy a bottle, you’re doing it wrong.

  • 1/2 measure Cointreau
  • 2 measures Cranberry juice
  • Sparkling wine or Champagne

Pour the Cointreau and chilled cranberry juice into your champagne flute and stir well. If the juice isn’t chilled before hand, use a shaker full of ice to bring the temperature of it and the liqueur down. Top with the fizz.

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Black Forest Martini

There are lots of versions of a Black Forest or Chocolate Raspberry Martini, but this is my favourite. I find this recipe irresistibly festive and delicious, so I’ve included it. Because I love you and I want you to get proper merry this season. This one is really very strong- you have been warned.

  • 1 measure Raspberry Vodka
  • 1 measure Cherry Brandy
  • 1 measure Creme de Cacao

Add all ingredients to a shaker and shake over ice. Serve in a cocktail glass rimmed with sugar and confectioners glitter, like a touch of hoarfrost. Beautiful and delicious.

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Lets Get Sauced

I saw this fun and, essentially, frugal take on a Cosmopolitan on Mamrie Hart’s genius Youtube show ‘You Deserve a Drink’. If you’ve got some Cranberry Sauce that needs some love, fix yourself one of these. Please note that I’ve erred on the side of, erm, caution with these measurements.

  • 2 shots citrus vodka
  • 1 shot lime juice
  • A generous tablespoon of cranberry sauce

Add all your ingredients to a shaker and shake thoroughly over plenty of ice. Strain and serve in a martini glass with a slice of lime to garnish.

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After one of each of those you’ll probably be a little worse for wear, so please remember to drink responsibly, particularly around this feast season: you shouldn’t let anything spoil your celebrations.

That aside, the above concotions also make an excellent cocktail menu if you are planning a christmassy party- try writing or printing them up in a calligraphy style font to set out for your guests to order from or serve themselves with.

I’ll see you again on the 10th with another recipe. Have a Merry-in-more-ways-than-one evening, everyone!

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