Makes 80-100

Chocolate and orange have an affinity, especially at Christmas. I got the kids making these last year for their grandmas and aunts and they wrapped them up in little Cellophane packages with coloured ribbons. Ellie and Lydia were very excited and proud of their home-made gifts, and the recipients were thrilled. Of course the children like to eat quite a bit of it as they go along so this may seem like a large batch, but if you're going to the trouble, you may as well make plenty. They'll never go to waste.

You can mould these naturally with a teaspoon, roll them into neat balls with your hands, or a melon baller, or pipe them into lengths on silicone or greaseproof paper and cut them into 3-4cm sticks. You may find that you need to melt some more chocolate for dipping as you can never quite tell how much will stick to the truffles as you dip.

750g good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped (reserve 250g for coating)
350ml double cream
200g unsalted, softened butter
Juice and finely grated rind of 2 oranges
100ml orange liqueur such as Cointreau
60g good-quality cocoa powder

Put the orange zest in a pan with the juice and simmer it until the juice has more or less evaporated. Bring the cream to the boil in another pan. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the 500g of chocolate with a whisk until it has melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the butter, orange zest and liquid and the Cointreau. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and leave to cool in the fridge (about 1-11/2hours) until firm enough to spoon into rough shapes.

Line a tray with clingfilm and spoon the mixture into roughly shaped blobs on the clingfilm. Leave to set in the fridge until firm and solid. Then melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring every so often. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes. Sift the cocoa powder on to a tray and have a third clean tray ready for the finished truffle. Using a thin skewer or cocktail stick, dip them quickly into the melted chocolate, ensuring as much excess as possible drains off, then put them into the cocoa powder, shaking the tray so they become coated. When you have about 10-12 coated, shake off the excess cocoa with your hands and transfer them to the clean tray. Store in the fridge in a container lined with kitchen paper until required, and bring them out of the fridge half an hour before serving. Don't keep them for more than a month. As if.

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