(Image Source, http://www.pinterest.com/pin/536280268099033150/)
Struggling to think of that perfect gift for that special someone this Christmas? Well these little beauties will do just the trick!
For years I always thought using lavender in food would evoke the smell of bath oils and scented candles, relaxing yet not appetizing. I remember the exact day it changed, I was at a beautiful ice cream bar in Sardinia when I tried my very first scoop of Lavender and Honey ice cream, I was instantly a convert! I absolutely love the flavour of floral lavender in food. Lavender Scones and Chocolate Lavender Truffles are just a few of my absolute must try’s!
Chocolate and Lavender are a perfect match which makes these truffles taste like a little slice of heaven. The lavender’s flavor is earthy but really pops in the chocolate. The chocolate is so silky smooth and is like eating a cloud.
My 2 favourite truffle recipes are Chocolate & Lavender and White Chocolate, Lavender and Almond Truffles. These make a wonderful little gift for all your loved ones at Christmas (if you can manage to not eat them all before bagging them up )
Chocolate & Lavender Truffles
3 Tbs dried culinary lavender
1/3 cup heavy cream
6 ounces bitter-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Place the culinary dried lavender and cream into a small sauce pan. Cook over a low flame about 10 minutes stirring with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and set aside to continue steeping until the cream is strongly flavoured with lavender.
2. Combine the bitter-sweet chocolate with the semisweet chocolate in a microwave safe glass bowl. Divide the chocolate into equal portions, and set one portion aside. Cook the remaining chocolate in the microwave on High in 20 to 30 second increments until melted, stirring between each heating. Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the cream into the melted chocolate; discard the flower heads and bits of lavender. Stir the cream and chocolate together until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator until somewhat firm, but not hard, about 1 hour.
3. After the lavender chocolate mixture has chilled, place the remaining chocolate and butter into a microwave safe glass bowl. Cook in the microwave on High in 20 to 30 second increments until just melted, stirring between each heating; set aside.
4. Line a baking sheet with a piece of waxed paper. Roll the lavender mixture into 1 tablespoon-sized balls, and dip into the melted chocolate mixture using a skewer or toothpick. Place onto the prepared baking sheet, and chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours to harden.
5. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired.
(Recipe from http://www.freutcake.com/in-the-kitchen/chocolate-lavender-truffle-recipe/ )
White Chocolate, Lavender and Almond Truffles
1 and 1/2 Cups White Chocolate Chips
2 Tablespoons Cream
1/2 Cup Ground Almonds
1 Tablespoon Dried Culinary Lavender
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
White Chocolate Coating
1 Cup White Chocolate Chips
1 Tablespoon Cream
1 Tablespoon Milk
Pinch Lavender for Garnish
To make the truffle centre, heat the cream in a double boiler over simmering water until hot. Add the white chocolate, ground lavender, ground almonds, and vanilla extract and stir until the white chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth, then immediately remove from the heat. Allow to cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours.
At this point, the mixture should have hardened enough to scoop into a ball. Use a tablespoon to scoop a heaping mound of truffle onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Continue to do this until all of the truffle mixture is on the baking sheet. Place the sheet in the freezer for 20 minutes to help it harden.
While the sheet is in the freezer, make the white chocolate coating. In the double boiler, heat the milk and cream above simmering water until hot. Stir in the white chocolate until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
After 20 minutes have passed, remove the pan from the freezer, quickly roll each of the balls between your hands to smooth them out a bit and place them on a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then drizzle the melted white chocolate over the truffles until coated and sprinkle the top of each one with a pinch of lavender, pressing down on the lavender gently to help it stick to the melted white chocolate. Place the wire rack/baking sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes to help the white chocolate harden quickly. Store the truffles in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
And finally sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour, after all I am sure the recipients wont miss a few truffles from their bags!