Reindeer Christmas chocolates
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Reindeer Christmas chocolates ARE Christmas to me. Little bites of festive joy. Really, it seems a little meanspirited to eat them but goodness, they make the party table so jolly! Gorgeous double chocolate, velvety smooth truffles covered in even more chocolate and the cutest Rudolph red nose and eyes with pretzel antlers to add the final holiday flourish. Once you’ve made these I’m confident that they’ll become a permanent feature of your festive routine.
For the truffle
500g chocolate (I divide this between 300g of dark chocolate and 200g of milk chocolate)
200ml double cream
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp freshly brewed strong coffee
½ tsp vanilla extract
For the finishing touches
300g chocolate (150g dark chocolate and 150g milk chocolate)
Edible red large sprinkles
Royal icing eyes
Approx 50g salted pretzels, broken into pieces
This will make about 30 truffles. Once made, they will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge.
Method for Reindeer Christmas chocolates
Make a cup of strongly brewed coffee and leave to one side to cool slightly.
Finely chop the chocolate. Add to a glass or metal bowl (something that is heat proof).
Add the double cream to the bowl. Place the bowl on top of a pan with gently simmering water on a low heat. This will melt the chocolate gently and is a good way to avoid the mixture getting too hot and splitting or burning. (A sad end to a promising food adventure).
Stir the chocolate and cream occasionally. If it looks like the bowl is getting too hot, lift it out of the saucepan and stir the mixture. Then return to the heat until the chocolate has completely melted into the cream. It will look luxuriously smooth and glossy. It should take about 10 minutes.
Add the vanilla extract, salt and coffee to the chocolate ganache and stir to combine.
Dampen a sheet of parchment paper, scrunch and remove excess water. Place the paper right on top of the ganache. This will help the mixture not to form a firm layer when refrigerated.
Place in the fridge and cool for about 1-2 hours.
Take the truffles out of the fridge and using a melon baller or teaspoon, take small amounts of the chilled ganache and gently roll into a ball and place on a lined baking sheet. (This is a bit messy, so keep a bowl of soapy water and towel nearby).
Put the truffles into the fridge to set a little. Approx. 10-15 minutes.
Decorating the Reindeer Christmas chocolates
While this is happening, melt the chocolate for the coating. The easiest way to temper chocolate without a thermometer is to use the microwave. Break the chocolate into small chunks. Put about 2/3 of the chocolate into a heat-proof bowl and melt the chocolate in short bursts. Every 30 secs check the mixture and stir occasionally.
When the chocolate has just melted, add in the remaining 1/3 of the chocolate and stir to combine until the chocolate pieces melt into the rest of the mixture. By doing this it will reduce the temperature of the chocolate and make it better to work with.
Prepare a sheet pan/or wire rack with some non-stick parchment paper on the top. Take the truffles out of the fridge.
One by one, balance a truffle on a fork and with your other hand spoon some of the melted chocolate over the truffle, ensuring that you cover the whole thing. Tap off the excess chocolate and place on the parchment paper. Repeat.
The chocolate dries very quickly, so do a few then add the red nose, eyes and pretzel antlers to each of the truffles to make the reindeers come to life.
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