Nicola Galloway: Florentine Chocolate Truffles

Our food blogger Nicola Galloway shares some deliciously delightful edible gift ideas for the festive season

Words and Images: Nicola Galloway

It is that time of year when we gather gifts to share with special people in our lives. This could be for a friend or family member or an end-of-year acknowledgement to people in your community who share the load throughout the year, such as kaiako teachers, home support, courier drivers, work colleagues, and neighbours.

Edible gifts are a great option for gifting, especially with a focus on something a little special or different. Although edible gifts are often on the sweet side, savoury gifts are definitely an option. These could include jars of chutney, flavoured olive oil, chilli sauce for a chilli lover, or a spice rub for a barbecue fanatic. If you know what the recipient enjoys you can get really creative here. For others you may not know so well, something sweet, particularly with chocolate is always a good option. Below I share a simple chocolate truffle recipe with the festive flavours of citrus and nuts. And once you have decided on what to make, packaging them up is all part of the fun.

Ideas for packaging edible gifts:
-Pack sweets such as truffles or cookies into small jars. Add some colourful string or ribbon to secure some flowers or foliage, and add a gift label.
-Wrap into little fabric packages. Line fabric squares with grease-proof paper (or use cellophane bags), add your sweet treat and tie opposite corners of the fabric together to secure.
-Make little boxes from old magazines or recycled paper (find tutorials online) and secure them closed with ribbon or string. Small harakeke kete (flax bags) are another great option.
-Adding foliage, herbs, or fresh or dried flowers can be a simple way to make packages a little more colourful. Choose foliage with some structure so it won’t wild or break.

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These truffles make the perfect edible gift. They are decadently rich with a smooth chocolate base and some texture from the addition of dried fruit and nuts. Take inspiration from the florentine biscuit with festive flavours from candied citrus and almonds. Or get creative and mix up the flavours with other dried fruit, nuts or coconut, using ¾ cup total additions.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Makes about 20 truffles

100ml cream -can use coconut cream for dairy-free
200g good quality dark chocolate*, chopped
¼ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup toasted hazelnuts
3 tbsp candied citrus
3 tbsp crystallised ginger
1 tbsp apricot jam or marmalade
For dusting:
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1tbsp icing sugar

In a small saucepan, heat the cream until small bubbles appear around the sides. Remove from the heat-this is very important or the chocolate can separate if it is too hot. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until smooth. Set aside.
Chop the sliced almonds, hazelnuts, candied citrus and ginger into small pieces, about 3-5mm. You want them to be quite small so they mix evenly into the chocolate. Place into a small bowl and mix with the apricot jam or marmalade. Add this to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
Cover and chill the truffle mixture for at least 2 hours until firm.
Use a teaspoon to scoop the now firm chocolate mixture and use your hands to roll into small walnut-sized balls. Combine the cocoa powder and icing sugar on a large plate and roll the truffles balls to lightly dust. Store the truffles in an airtight container in the fridge and package up for gifting as needed – see ideas above. Consume within 1 week.

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*The quality of the chocolate is important here. Choose one you enjoy eating, but not too bitter as there is no added sugar in the recipe.

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