Christmas time is my favorite part of the year. It’s full of seasonal beauty, generosity, kindness, and family. If you’re like me you have an arm-length list of people to whom you want to give gifts: the kids, parents, friends, extended family, mail carrier, neighbors, U.P.S. guy, pastor, and so on down the line.
Are you wondering whether you can afford it this year?
How about gifting Foodie With Family style? For the next 23 days Val and I will be posting directions for creating foodie gifts that can be made with readily available ingredients. And when we finally reach December 23rd, we’ll post instructions for a couple gifts that can be made with ingredients you’re likely to be able to find even at your local convenience store. (Don’t worry. Twinkie Wiener Sandwiches will not make an appearance!)
I know there are some of you out there who equate homemade gifts with popsicle stick ashtrays and macaroni necklaces. Those little gems of art are for Moms only. Foodie With Family homemade gifts are good enough to -to quote my Dad- ” make your tongue slap your brain silly.”
Where possible, we’ll give an approximation of time to prepare the item, costs and what you might pay for an equivalent product off the shelves.
Without further adieu I give you:
Foodie With Family Christmas Gift #1
Did you know a jar of ganache makes a fantastic gift? You can wrap a spoon to the side of the jar with raffia or ribbon, and attach the recipe to make more ganache later as well as a list of uses for the contents (frosting brownies, stirring into coffee or hot cocoa, etc…) You could even attach a small resealable bag of dutch process cocoa powder and directions for a make-your-own-truffle kit.
Aside from the fact that ganache is one of the most delicious substances on earth, it’s sinfully easy to make. Chocolate and cream. That’s it. Added to it’s many other virtues is the long life of ganache. It is good for about three weeks after being made if kept tightly sealed in a cool, dark place like a fridge or unheated basement.
Time required for project:
Foodie With Family Ganache requires about three minutes of hands-on time if you include cleaning and drying the jars. You will have to wait five minutes for the chocolate to sit in the hot cream before mixing and about another 12 hours for the finished ganache to set up. Of course, if you’re a last minute sort of person -and I would know nothing about that- you could speed up the firming process by putting the closed jars into the refrigerator.
The cost breakdown:
$1.80 3 half-pint jars (Assuming you bought a box of 12 for $7.00)
$1.99 1 bag of Ghiradelli 60% cacao chocolate chips (Wegman’s price)
$1.25 1 1/4cups heavy cream (Assuming you purchased a $2.00 pint.)
Grand total: $1.76 per jar.
If you add ribbons, a label, directions and a spoon or cocoa powder you can add between $0.20 and $1.00 a jar.
Grand total for dressed up version: $2.76 a jar (calculating generously.)
“Homemade vs. Purchased” Price Comparison:
- Homemade= $2.76 for Foodie With Family Ganache (8 oz. jar) made with premium chocolate and packaged with bling.
- Purchased= $21.26 ($11.00 for ganache/ $10.26 for shipping) for Scharffen Berger Chocolate Ganache (10oz. jar)
Foodie With Family Ganache
This ganache can be made with premium block chocolate or with a bag of generic chocolate chips. Just be sure to use real chocolate and not “chocolate flavored chips”. Icky. Whoever invented ‘chocolate flavoring’ should be strung up by their toes and lashed with a wet noodle. Or licked on the face by one of my halitosis-having dogs. They’re equally awful options.
- 12 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (chips or chopped finely from a block)
- 1 1/4 cups (10 liquid ounces) heavy cream
Pour cream into a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium high heat. Add chocolate to a medium glass or other non-reactive, heat-safe mixing bowl. When cream begins to boil, pour over the chocolate and walk away for five minutes. Stir gently in a circular pattern from the center out with a whisk or spoon. It will not look pretty at first…
Just keep whisking. Trust me.
but within a couple of minutes it will become evenly glossy and chocolatey looking.
At this point, you can pour the ganache into clean jars and top with tight fitting lids or simply cover the bowl. Either way, store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Be sure to let it chill thoroughly if using for truffles or frosting. It can be used to glaze a cake immediately but most of the time I let it chill and use it thickened.
Small jar for a friend. Big jar for me. To thine own self be true.
Foodie With Family Truffles
Use chilled ganache to make your own beautiful truffles almost instantly.
Yield: At least one dozen truffles or more, depending on size.
- One batch of Foodie With Family ganache, chilled for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator.
- 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder or ground chocolate.
Pour cocoa powder or ground chocolate in a pie plate and set aside.
Line a chilled cookie sheet or plate with parchment or waxed paper. Using a small cookie scoop or teaspoon, portion the cold ganache into equal amounts. For HUGE truffles, divide the ganache equally into 12 scoops. For smaller, less hedonistic truffles, make 24 portions.
Working quickly, gently roll each portion into a rough ball. These do not have to be perfect. In fact, the more rustic they look the more authentic they’ll be. Deposit each ball in the cocoa powder or ground chocolate and gently shake to coat. Gently gently gently gently gently gently. Are you tired of me saying that yet? Sorry. I hafta.
Remove your brand new truffles from the plate and store on another parchment lined plate in the fridge.
Of course, if you wanted to get quirky and creative you could make your truffles egg shaped and store them in wax paper or parchment paper lined egg containers.
I’m just saying get creative. You’ll make a gift that is beautiful, unique, difficult to find and so, so tasty.
You could also hide a jar for yourself somewhere the kids will never look. It might just improve your outlook on life to have your own secret jar lying about incognito.