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This is once again a way overdue post! Sometime in March, I made some very sinful sweet delights for 2 good friends of mine for their birthday. Both were guys, but weird as it is, both absolutely LOVE chocolate and have such a sweet tooth they were bound to be the tooth fairy’s favourite boys when they were young! Seeing they both love sweet dessert, I decided on a chocolate trio gift box made up of chocolate coated nut brittles, profiteroles and eclairs filled with ganache and dark chocolate truffle filled brandy baskets. Except for the truffle, everything else was a first time for me. It was fun and if any of you have chocolate lover friends, you should make something like this for his/her birthday!

Chocolate-Coated Nut Brittle

   
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup assorted nuts (hazelnuts, walnut, almond was what I used)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Dark chocolate
Method:
  • Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside. Mix nuts, sugar and water in a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  • Bring to a boil then lower heat and cook till mixture turns a rich golden brown and registers 310F on a sugar thermometer. 
  • Quickly remove from heat and pour nuts onto prepared baking sheet. Spread it out evenly and allow to cool completely. 
  • Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Break brittle into bite size pieces. Dip pieces in chocolate, half coating them. Allow it to set.
Truffle-Filled Brandy Baskets:

Truffle/Ganache

Ingredients:

  • 300g dark chocolate
  • 300ml heavy cream
  • Alcohol (optional and adjust to taste)
Method:
  • Place chocolate and heavy cream into a large bowl and melt using a double boiler. 
  • When chocolate has melted, stir in alcohol if using.
  • Allow it to cool to room temperature then clingwrap and refrigerate till sets.
  • Use it to pipe into brandy baskets and to fill eclairs and profiteroles. 
Brandy Baskets
Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp brandy
Method:
  • Preheat oven to 200C. 
  • Melt butter, sugar and syrup together. Stir till smooth and remove from heat.
  • Stir in flour and brandy, making sure it is well incorporated.
  • Place small spoonfuls of mixture well apart on a baking sheet. Bake till golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few seconds – just enough time for you to be able to pick it up with your fingers. 
  • Working quickly, pinch edges together and allow it to set in a small cup. 
Eclairs and Profiteroles – Choux Pastry
Ingredients:

 

  • 20g butter 
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 egg
Method:
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Line and grease oven trays.
  • Combine butter with water in a saucepan and bring to boil. 
  • Add flour and beat with wooden spoon over heat until mixture comes away from base and side of saucepan and forms a smooth ball. 
  • Transfer mixture to another bowl and beat in eggs with electric mixer till glossy.
  • Spoon mixture into piping bag and pipe out long oval shapes for eclairs and round ones for profiteroles. 
  • Bake in oven for 7 minutes. Reduce heat and bake for 10 minutes or until browned lightly and crisp. 
  • Remove from oven and cut into half. Place it back into oven and bake till dried out. 
  • Cool to room temperature. Pipe ganache/truffle so it forms a sandwich.
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