Makes 80-100

Home-made chocolates are always handy to have in the house, especially at Christmas. If the kids are around I normally try to get them involved, although the yield of chocolates is somewhat reduced as it ends up all over their faces. These chocolates also make perfect gifts for the relatives.

You can mould these naturally with a teaspoon, roll them into neat balls with your hands, use 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
70g mixed peel and raisins, chopped finely and soaked in 120ml liqueur such as Cointreau, Amaretto, or Drambuie
80-100g good-quality cocoa powder

Bring the cream to the boil in a 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 and the soaked fruits. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and leave to cool in the fridge for about 1-1 1/2 hours 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 remaining 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 truffles. 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).