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chocolate truffles recipe

Ahh, it’s Christmas! I made a batch of chocolate truffles yesterday, and mmmmm, they are so good! I wish I could give one to each of you, but as that’s a little unfeasible, my gift to you is the recipe so you can make your own. They only take a few minutes to make (plus time to set) and make lovely gifts, if you can bear to part with any! I think they are out-of-this-world delicious with Tia Maria, but you can use your favourite spirit instead – rum, Kahlua, etc – or even omit the alcohol and substitute with the same volume of milk for a teetotal version.

Happy Christmas!

chocolate truffles by planetjune

Chocolate Truffles (makes approx 30)

Ingredients

  • 4 oz / 120 g chocolate (semi-sweet or unsweetened)
  • 10 oz / 300 g / 2 ¼ cups icing sugar (aka powdered/confectioners’ sugar), sifted
  • 2 oz / 60 g / ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp Tia Maria (or alcohol of choice)
  • Optional: chocolate sprinkles, cocoa powder or icing sugar for decoration

Method

  1. Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
  2. Add alcohol and stir to blend.
  3. Gradually add the sifted sugar and stir until all the sugar has been incorporated.
  4. Divide the mixture into approx 30 pieces and roll each piece into a ball in your hands.
  5. Roll each ball in chocolate sprinkles, cocoa powder or more icing sugar (or leave plain if preferred).
  6. Place each truffle into a paper case and leave to set for 4-5 hours.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container – they will keep for weeks, but I doubt they’ll last that long!

chocolate truffles by planetjune

Bon appetit, and happy holidays!

Comments (6)

blueberry syrup

I got 4lbs of blueberries free as a special offer with my groceries – yum! I’ve munched my way through over 2lbs of them so far(!), but thought it might be good to try some blueberry recipes.

Blueberry syrup

blueberry syrup and pancakes

Ingredients
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Directions

  1. Bring ingredients to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Simmer for a few minutes until the berries are soft.
  3. Squash the berries with a potato masher or the back of a spoon.
  4. Either serve as is, or push the syrup through a sieve with the back of a spoon to filter out the skins.

After straining, I was left with just under 2/3 cup of fresh blueberry syrup. Simple, and delicious served over pancakes!

Comments (6)

hummingbird nectar recipe

I’m still deeply ensconced in my secret project, so I haven’t had anything crafty to post about recently – hopefully that will all change soon! In the meantime, I thought I’d share a quick nectar recipe for those of you who are lucky enough to live in an area visited by hummingbirds.

ruby throated hummingbird

Hummingbirds are fascinating little miracles – so tiny and so fast, it’s hard to believe they can exist! They are only 3-4 inches long from beak to tail and they beat their wings around 60 times per second, which produces the humming sound for which they were named. Coming from the UK, I had never even seen a hummingbird until a couple of years ago, and now I can see Ruby-throated Hummingbirds daily (in summer) in my own garden, just by putting up a little nectar feeder for them :)

ruby throated hummingbird

You can buy powdered hummingbird nectar, but it’s a bit messy to prepare, and expensive. It’s actually super-simple to make your own nectar for feeding hummingbirds: all you need is sugar and water! Hummingbird feeders are red, so the colour of the feeder will attract the birds and there is no need to add red colour to the nectar.

  • Ingredients: 1 part granulated white sugar and 4 parts tap water. (I use 1/2 cup sugar and 2 cups water, which makes a 2-week supply for my hummers.)
  • Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Cover the suacepan and boil the nectar for a couple of minutes (this retards mould growth).
  • Allow to cool to room temperature, then pour into a clean hummingbird feeder.
  • Store leftover nectar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  • Replace the nectar and clean your feeder twice a week to prevent mould.
  • Enjoy the beauty of the visiting hummingbirds!

ruby throated hummingbird

Comments (5)

low fat banana muffins

Sweet, moist, fruity and delicious – it’s hard to believe that (apart from 1 egg yolk) there is no fat in these muffins. It’s a good job they’re low fat though – it’s almost impossible to eat just one!

low fat banana muffins

I had some browning bananas lying around the kitchen this week. I didn’t want to waste them, and didn’t want the temptation of fat-filled banana bread in the house, so I invented this recipe by modifying a banana bread recipe. It’s too good not to share with the world, so here’s how I did it.

Note: This recipe makes 18 muffins. You can easily halve the recipe to make 9 muffins by beating the egg and then using half of the beaten egg with half of all the other ingredients. Or make the full batch and freeze some for later (see end of post for defrosting instructions).

Ingredients
4 ripe bananas
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar (reduce to 3/4 cup if you don’t have a sweet tooth)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
6 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce

Note: you could switch it up by adding 1/2 cup chocolate chips or your favourite dried fruit, but they don’t need the extra flavour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mash the bananas in a large bowl.
  3. Add the remaining other ingredients and mix well.
  4. Pour mixture into greased muffin pans, filling each pan to 2/3 full.
  5. Bake for approx 22 mins (check for doneness with a toothpick)

Notes:

  • Best eaten slightly warm. 10 seconds in the microwave will bring out the banana flavour!
  • You can also freeze them (if there are any left!). Defrost in the microwave for about 30 seconds on full. Yum – instant breakfast.

I hope you’ll be tempted to try my new favourite muffin recipe…

Comments (5)

banana brownie challenge

Whilst browsing the Food Network Canada website, I stumbled upon the Foodtv.ca Cooking Club Challenge: a monthly online challenge to make a specific recipe from one of their shows, with some cookbook prizes for the winners. The challenge for May is Michael Smith’s Banana Brownies, and I just happened to have all the ingredients in my kitchen already, so I thought I’d join in.

The original recipe is somewhat very high in calories and fat, so I made a few modifications:

  • Halved the recipe to make a smaller batch.
  • Substituted semi-sweet chocolate for dark chocolate (from necessity – it was all I had in stock)
  • Reduced the fat by substituting half the butter with the same weight in unsweetened applesauce.
  • Made individual brownies by pouring the batter into a muffin pan – my half-sized batch filled 12 muffin cups (3/4 full) perfectly.
  • Reduced the baking time to 1hr 10 mins to compensate for the smaller cake size.

They turned out very well – not overly sweet or rich, nicely dense, and very tasty. The banana flavour is quite noticeable, although I think that may have been due to my bananas being very ripe! With a bit of whipped cream on the top (which is entirely justified with the lower fat mods and smaller portion size) they make a very nice dessert. Have a virtual taste:

banana chocolate brownies

To enter the Cooking Club Challenge, you just submit a photo and a description of your creation. I submitted mine and now I just have to wait and see…

I really don’t expect to win, but the club is a nice motivator to try out a new recipe every month!

Comments (4)

christmas cookies

I’ve been busy today, baking tray after tray of sugar and spice cookies:

cookies

They were intended as gifts, but bad weather changed our plans, and now we’ll be eating dozens of delicious cookies ourselves! What a hardship ;)

Cookie, anyone? Help yourself…

cookies

Happy Christmas to all my readers! I hope your holidays are happy and restful.

Comments

healthy muffins

Mmmm, muffins. What’s not to love about a muffin? Delicious, convenient, and… did I mention delicious?

Of course, a regular muffin usually contains between 10 and 25g of fat, which takes the edge off the pleasure of eating it. Low fat muffin recipes are a lot healthier (e.g. my Quaker Low Fat Banana Muffin Mix contains 1.5g fat per muffin) but tend to be a bit light and unsatisfying, and lack the moist, heavy goodness of a regular muffin.

I have a solution to make a healthy muffin that really does taste good! Mix your low fat muffin ingredients as directed in your recipe or mix packet, then add some magic ingredients (quantities below are for 12 muffins; if you are making a different number, adjust these amounts accordingly):

1/2 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup fruit or chocolate chips (e.g. I like to use raisins or fresh blueberries)

Add these to your mix, then spoon it into your muffin pans and bake as directed. (You may need to add 1-2 mins to the regular cooking time.)

Et voila…

low fat muffins
Mmmmm, fresh banana raisin muffins… Are you hungry yet?

Comments (2)

diet coke cakes

I heard about this idea a while ago – making a low fat cake from a packet of cake mix by replacing the usual added ingredients (water, eggs, oil) with a can of diet carbonated beverage of choice. So tonight I tried it out for myself.

Ingredients:

That’s it! Mix and bake for the time and temperature given on the cake mix packet. I used half the packet of cake mix and half a can of Diet Pepsi (so I wouldn’t waste as much if the recipe was a disaster) and it made 9 cupcakes (baked in a muffin pan pre-greased with spray oil). I baked them for 20 mins at 350°F (180°C) et voila:

chocolate cake made from packet cake mix and diet cola
Mmm, cake…

I am pleasantly surprised: it looks just like regular cake and the texture is light and moist. The flavour is a little different from a regular chocolate cake, but it is GOOD. And considering that the finished cakes have 100 calories each and less than 1g of fat, it’s amazing.

You can use any flavour of cake mix and any flavour of diet soda – I think lemon or golden cake with diet 7-up would work well. And if you iced them they’d be even better.

Verdict: quick, easy, good value, yummy, AND not too sinful!

Comments (22)

  • Welcome to PlanetJune!

    June Gilbank
    Hi, I'm June. Welcome to my world of nature-inspired crochet and crafting. I hope you enjoy your visit!
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