Hazelnut Milk Chocolate Truffles


Hi guys - hope everyone's having a good weekend so far - ours has been super busy, I can't believe it's only Saturday night, feels like Sunday night to me. That's a good thing, anyway!

So today we had an early Christmas lunch with Lindsay's Bondi Grandma. I made her a box of homemade chocolate truffle thingies. They were really easy to make. They reminded me a little of Ferrero Rochers (not to be compared, really, but they have that hazelnut-ganache element - close enough). I boxed them up in a stripey noodle box from my favourite shop, Dollar King. Haha... that's a lie, but I do seem to go there a lot...

Ingredients

45G (1/4 cup) whole hazelnuts
60mL (1/4 cup) thickened cream
500g milk chocolate melts

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Scatter the hazelnuts over an oven tray. Roast in oven for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Place hazelnuts in a clean tea towel and rub to remove the skins. Finely chop.

Place the cream and half the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water. Stir with a metal spoon until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Add the hazelnuts and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours or until firm enough to roll into balls.

Line an oven tray with baking paper. Roll 1 1/2 teaspoonfuls of chocolate mixture into balls and place on the lined tray. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until firm.

Place the remaining chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir with a metal spoon until chocolate melts. Remove from heat.

Use a fork to dip a chocolate ball into the melted chocolate to coat. Tap the fork on the edge of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Roll in your hands to create a rough surface. Place on the lined tray. Repeat with remaining chocolate balls and chocolate. Set aside at room temperature to set.

My Tips

  • If you don't have 2 hours to spare to firm up the mixture (or you didn't leave yourself enough time, like me!) you can put the mixture in the freezer for about 40 minutes instead. Worked fine for me
  • Don't make them too large as they're quite rich - a teaspoon is enough
  • My mixture made about 14 balls but probably could have made 22 or so
  • Just set these at room temp, don't whack them back in the fridge
This recipe comes from the taste.com.au Christmas Gifts book. 

Vegetable Oils are Bad


Nope.

The other day I posted a recipe for homemade mayonnaise and told you to come back (like obedient little readers!) to find out why I bother making homemade mayo when the supermarket mayo is so freaking delicious! Here's why.

Science shows that vegetable oils are bad for you, specifically, that they cause heart disease and cancer.

I don't have a holier-than-thou attitude about food and will be the first person to tell you that my diet is far from perfect, but my attitude is that every little good thing helps the big picture.

I have shunned fake mayo (that is, anything that isn't whole egg) for years. If you have a bottle of fake mayo  (e.g. "Praise Traditional" Mayonnaise) in your fridge, I'm sure you'll find that it contains a LOT of sugar. Unfortunately, the supermarket varieties of whole egg mayo use toxic oils (i.e. vegetable and seed oils) in their recipes. Hopefully one day soon, there will be a variety that uses healthy oils (and it'll cost a bomb).

By the way, 'vegetable oil' is the umbrella term - when we're talking about oils to avoid, the list includes Canola, Soybeen, Sunflower, Sesame Seed and more (see table below).

It's a funny concept to grasp - it's VEGETABLE oil, that sounds like a good thing?

If you're interested in the topic, you should read Toxic Oil by David Gillespie.

The science gets a little complex and I'm no expert, so I'll just give you a excerpt from this article written by Gillespie for the Sydney Morning Herald. It's a wad of text but if you can't commit to a whole book, at least give this a go. If you can't commit to these paragraphs, I've made the crux of it bold.

'Almost every fat we put into our mouths today is a vegetable oil manufactured by an industry that didn't exist 100 years ago. We are eating vegetable oil because it is much cheaper for manufacturers to make food with oils chemically extracted from plant seeds than it is to raise and slaughter an animal. We've also been told that the secret to reducing heart disease is to consume these unsaturated vegetable oils rather than saturated animal fats. Now all the fats in our processed foods are labelled vegetable oils, and the labels are rarely more specific than that. Vegetable oil can be found in everything from potato chips to muffins, frozen foods to canned soups, to enhance flavour and texture.
The irony is that there is no such thing as oil from a vegetable. The products being sold as "vegetable" oils are in fact fruit oils (coconut, palm, avocado), nut oils (macadamia, peanut, pecan) or seed oils (canola, sunflower, soybean, cottonseed, grapeseed, rice bran). While the fruit and nut oils are relatively harmless, the seed oils pose a real risk to our health - and unfortunately they make up most of the "vegetable" oil in our food. It is now almost impossible to buy a packaged or takeaway food that is cooked in anything but a seed oil, and while some seed oils are unhealthier than others, they all contain damaging levels of omega-6 fatty acids.The process that initially permitted the huge expansion in the consumption of seed oil in the 20th century was hydrogenation, a chemical process that introduces hydrogen to liquid oil extracted from plants under extreme heat, making a thin oil thicker or even solid. Unfortunately, hydrogenation produces its magical thickening effects by turning polyunsaturated fats into trans fats. 
A trans fat works in the same way as a normal fat in cooking, but during the early 1990s evidence started to emerge that once these fats are inside our bodies, they significantly increase our risk of heart disease. They do this by decreasing HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, the so-called "good" cholesterol associated with lower rates of atherosclerosis) and raising the "bad" LDL form (low-density lipoprotein, which contributes to blocked arteries). A series of studies in the UK produced consistent evidence that trans fats also significantly increase a person's chances of developing type-2 diabetes.'

The chart below categorises oils and fats so that you can easily see which ones are safe and which to avoid. I have this chart printed and stuck inside the door of our pantry.


So there it is. That's the long (but short) reason why I am making my own mayo. It's not everything, but like I said, every little thing contributes to the whole!