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FOOD Valentine’s truffles and cupcakes

Tasting

Treats for a sweet Valentine

Treats for a sweet Valentine


Baking
Terisina Fitzpatrick

Valentines is almost here, and yes, we can indulge – just a little bit anyway… Some of us have been trying to be ‘good’ where food is concerned. Well done on getting this far! I believe that ‘good’ food really makes us feel good. We know we should eat a wholesome, well-balanced diet. We all know that we should keep sugar to a minimum. So when we DO have the occasional treat, we should immerse ourselves guilt-free in their gourmet delights, thoroughly enjoying the richness and savoring the texture with every mouthful of pure indulgence.

Belgian chocolate and Baileys truffles
There is something so satisfying in creating little morsels of flavoured truffles. These guys are so simple to make, but yet so delectable that your Valentine will be left wanting more.

What you need

  • 125ml (half cup) double cream
  • 350g quality Belgian chocolate
  • 125ml Baileys
  • Cocoa and chopped nuts for coatings

What you do
Pour the double cream into a heavy saucepan and keep on a medium heat. When you see tiny bubbles appear, it’s time to it take off the heat and add the 350g of chocolate to the saucepan. Let it sit for a few minutes. Add the baileys and stir well, ensuring that the chocolate mixture is quite smooth. Then forget about the mix for at least six hours – or overnight – until the mixture firms up a little.

To serve
This is the fun bit! Why not make these truffles together when you want them! All you need is a serving plate with small bowls of cocoa and chopped nuts, cocktail sticks and two teaspoons. Scoop some of the chocolate mixture between the spoons, and dip your chocolate ball into your desired topping, just rolling the creamy chocolate around until it is smothered in either cocoa or chopped nuts. You can indulge almost straight away.
Of course, you could also create your very own box of truffles, tied with a big red bow, for the perfect homemade present.
Have fun with this recipe – try a different liquor or different finishes.

Raspberry and white chocolate cupcakes
A nice romantic treat, with no artificial colours or flavors, just simple raspberries. My raspberry and white chocolate cupcakes are always a sure winner, simple to make and scrumptious.

What you need
Cupcakes

  • 125g margarine
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 125g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • Pinch of salt

Frosting

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 80g butter (room temperature)
  • 30ml milk
  • 15 fresh raspberries

What you do
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200°C/400ºF.
For the cupcakes, put all of the ingredients except for the milk into a food processor and mix until smooth. Add the milk, then continue to mix until you have smooth batter.
Next, using an ice-cream scoop, divide the mixture into a 12-cavity bun tray lined with cupcake papers. Pop the tray into the preheated oven and bake in for 15-20 minutes. You know that they are done if you press you finger on the sponge and you get a slight bounce.
Turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool.
For the frosting, cream the butter and icing sugar together in a bowl or food mixer, and gradually add the milk. Mix until your butter icing becomes nice and fluffy. Add two or three fresh raspberries, continue to mix for a beautiful natural flavor and pink color. Scoop the icing into a piping bag, and gently pipe the icing onto your cupcakes. Or, you can just plaster the cupcakes with the frosting using a pallet knife. Working fast, while the icing is still soft, grate some white chocolate over the icing, and finish with a fresh raspberry on the top.

Terisina Fitzpatrick is a Westport-based artisan baker specialising in cakes, cupcakes, occasion and wedding cakes. She currently teaches Back to Basics in Bakery classes in the Westport area. For more information, call Terisina on 087 6492754.