Christmas Confectionery

December 18, 2013


One of the best things about this time of year is the excuse it gives to make confectionary. There’s  almost nothing more calming during this hectic time than standing and stirring a spoon for 15 minutes waiting for the sugar thermometer to hit the soft ball stage. I have two staples which I’ve made for the last few years. One is super easy and the other is super yummy and I thought I’d share them as I’ve found it so hard to get  a good crumbly slightly grainy chocolate fudge recipe and this was a result of curiosity after I found traditional methods produced greasy fudge which I personally loath.Christmas Confectionary Gifting

My Chocolate Pistachio Fudge:
Chocolate Pistachio Fudge

Pistachio Chocolate Fudge Process (2)

  • oil, for greasing
  • 300 ml milk
  • 350 g caster sugar
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 40g good quality cocoa powder (or roughly a third of the Green & Blacks tin I use)
  • 50g Chopped Pistachio nuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Grease an 18cm square cake tin.

2. Put the milk, sugar and butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Heat slowly, stirring all the time, until the sugar has dissolved and the butter melted.

3. Add the cocoa powder and stir again untill the powder is fully dispersed within the milk.

4. Bring to the boil and boil for 15-20 minutes, stirring all the time, don’t stop stirring even for a few seconds as this will make parts of your fudge crystallise without consistency.

5. When the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage (115°C on a sugar thermometer, though mine is a bit dodgy so I always remove a bit earlier than this for fear of it turning into toffee), remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and chopped pistachio nuts. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.

6. Beat the mixture with a spoon for a few minutes until it starts to thicken and the gloss disappears, but only just, stir for too long and the fudge will start to set before you get a chance to pour it out.

7. Pour into the prepared tin and leave to set at room temperature (do not put it in the fridge).

8. Cut into squares, eh voila!

Easy Chocolate Coffee Truffles:

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall Three Good Things Chocolate Coffee Truffles

A very simple truffle recipe that I’ve made for the last two years is this heady coffee truffle by Tim Maddam from River Cottage. It really is so simple, you can cut into squares as Tim advises or roll balls if you prefer, however if you’re going to roll, your hands will get very dirty as this is a truffle that has to refrigerated it melts very easily. You can find Tim’s recipe here but I reproduce for ease below:

  • 500g 70% dark chocolate
  • 400ml double cream
  • golden caster sugar
  • coffee beans

1. Heat the cream in a saucepan along with a handful of coffee beans and a heaped tbsp of sugar. Once the cream starts to boil reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Then turn off the heat to allow to cool slightly.

2. Break up the chocolate into a bowl and sieve the warm cream mixture over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and you are left with a glossy velvety mixture.

3. Line a small baking dish with cling film and pour the chocolate mix into the dish. If the mixture looks too thin (it should be about 1.5cm – 2cm deep) then draw the cling film up a little to contain the mixture at one end and create a thicker layer. Leave to set in a fridge for at least 1 hour.

4. Meanwhile, grind up a handful of coffee beans until ground. Mix with an equal quantity of sugar.

5. Remove the set chocolate from the fridge. Remove and discard the clingfilm and cut the chocolate mix into even sized cubes about 1.5 – 2cm. Coat the cubes in the ground coffee and sugar mix until well dusted. Serve.