Chocolates are always popular to receive and when they have been homemade, they are even more special. It is why I love to make chocolates as gifts. Often I make truffles like my coffee truffles or prosecco truffles both of which are hand rolled rather than dipped which makes them really easy if a little messy to make.
But this time I was looking for something just as delicious to make but even easier and quicker. These almond and cranberry rochers are just the thing. First, the nuts are tossed in sugar mixed with a little gin and then toasted until golden and the sugar has begun to caramelise. The mixture is then coated with chocolate and allowed to set in little piles of nutty deliciousness. If you like nuts then you will love these.
Hints Tips and Variations
The basic recipe is easy to adapt. You can make them with white, dark or milk chocolate whichever is your favourite. I find each different chocolate has its own pluses. White chocolate is very sweet and complements the delicious sour taste of the cranberries best. Dark chocolate is for those who have less sugary tastes, sugar can dominate and plain chocolate lets the other flavours shine through. Milk chocolate sits between the two and is my favourite.
Use slivered (sliced) rather than flaked almonds if you can get them. They taste just the same but I think these rochers look a little more special made with slivered almonds (above) rather than the flaked (below).
If you don't like cranberries then you could use dried cherries, chopped apricots, chopped peel or candied pineapple. I think the plain chocolate would be particularly nice with some crystalised (candied ginger) as I love that combination of flavours.
Take the rochers to the next level and use a combination of chocolate. The ones above are made with white chocolate which has then been dipped in a layer of plain chocolate. This is which was my absolute favourite variation, the plain chocolate balancing the sweetness of the white chocolate but not overpowering the flavour of the nuts and cranberries.
And finally, you can vary the alcohol that you use. I used gin because it's my favourite tipple and I always have a bottle in the cupboard. If I'm honest I'm not really sure you taste it as such, it just adds a bit of depth. I also tried them with rum and brandy which perhaps added a little more flavour but again it is quite subtle. I didn't try with anything non-alcoholics as they are gifts and I just wasn't thinking that way but I guess if you prefer you could use apple or orange juice instead.
And so you have it, simple and easy to make chocolates that you can adapt to make just perfect for yourself or the lucky person you make them for.
Almond and Cranberry Rochers
- 200 g slivered or flaked almonds
- 50 g dried cranberries roughly chopped
- 75 g icing sugar (powdered sugar)
- 2 tbsp gin
- 400 g white, milk or plain chocolate broken into pieces
- Preheat the oven to 180℃ (170℃ fan)/350°F /gas mark 4.
- Place the almonds, cranberries, icing sugar and gin in a bowl and mix well. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking parchment.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until they have turned a pale golden brown and the sugar has begun to crystalise around the almonds. Watch carefully as they can easily burn.
- Allow to cool completely.
- Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt three-quarters of it in a bowl placed over a pan of hot water. Make sure the base of the bowl is not touching the water.
- When the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate. Continue to stir until all the chocolate has melted.
- Stir in the nut mixture. Place spoonfuls of the mixture on to a baking sheet lined with parchment and leave to set.
More Edible Gifts Made Easy
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