It’s the time of year to show thanks to those wonderful people in our lives. Maybe it is a Christmas gift for family or friend, or an end of year acknowledgement to those special community members who share the load throughout the year.
At this stage of my life I am particularly grateful to my children’s primary school teachers for the amazing gift of learning they give to my children. They go the extra mile everyday and, as the year draws to the end, I make little edible gifts to say thank you.
The recipes that follow are inspired by the current gifts from my garden. The raspberries are beginning to ripen and, at the bottom of the garden, our nut-tree border is budding with nut babies for the coming season.
This autumn will be our first harvest of hazelnuts. I have been waiting four patient years for our trees to begin production, so to find the little green nut buds this spring has been very exciting. They are my favourite nuts. Fortunately, in the meantime, the hazelnut stall at the farmers’ market has been filling my basket.
Happy Christmas baking!
Chocolate Raspberry Truffles + Hazelnut Macaroons
- ½ cup fresh or frozen raspberries
- 75 ml cream
- 200 g quality dark chocolate chopped – I used TradeAid
Option one – truffles:
- 2 egg yolks optional – for extra richness
- 1 cup ground hazelnuts or almond
- 1 tablespoon each cocoa powder icing sugar and freeze-dried raspberry powder (optional)
Option two – macaroons:
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- ¾ cup ground hazelnuts or almonds
- 1 tablespoon freeze-dried raspberry powder optional - I used Fresh As from Prego Nelson
- Pinch of salt
Place the raspberries in a saucepan, cover, and cook over a low heat for five to six minutes as the raspberries sweat and soften (don't add water). Tip the raspberries into a sieve set over a bowl, and use the back of a spoon to press the pulp through the sieve – discard the seeds.
Combine the raspberry pulp and cream in the cleaned saucepan and heat gently over a low heat until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted.
Option 1 – Truffles:
Pour the ganache into a bowl and add the egg yolks, if using, and ground hazelnuts. Stir to combine. Place in the fridge to set for one hour then use a teaspoon to scoop and roll the mixture into small walnut-sized truffles. Mix cocoa powder, icing sugar and raspberry powder on a plate and roll each truffle to coat evenly. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Option 2 – Macaroons:
Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Place the egg white and maple syrup/honey in a bowl and whisk vigorously until foamy, about one minute. Add the coconut, ground nuts, raspberry powder and salt. Mix to a stiff mixture. Use hands to roll into small walnut-sized balls, and arrange on a lined baking tray.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on a rack then drizzle each macaroon with chocolate raspberry ganache. Extra ganache can be used to make a small batch of truffles. Store macaroons in an airtight container in the fridge.
Recycled Gift Jars – choose a selection of recycled glass jars to fill with truffles and/or macaroons. Make little swing tags from reused gift cards and attach to jars with salvaged twine and garden flowers.