I've always been interested in traditional confectionery - pretty much all of my life I was on a quest for the perfect sweets, chocolates or bonbons. And I was always fascinated about the process of sweet's making and it was partly the reason why I founded Cocoa & Heartfew years back. All those demonstrations at seaside sweet's shops of how to make a stick of rock got me thinking, that perhaps I could have a go myself. And I did - successfully - made several batches of boiled sweets and now you can have a go too, following my step by step boiled sweets recipe tutorial.
As you might know, I've always been fascinated by traditional sweets. Probably because our house is victorian I wanted to dive a little deeper into the history of victorian sweets.
In Victorian times, everything seems possible! It was the time for great inventions, connecting the whole countries with new amazing technology (called the steam railways!) and also time for everything proper!
This recipe is very popular at Christmas, but I tend to make it any time I want something slightly different than just traditional chocolate truffles. The addition of cake crumbs in this rum truffle recipe is just genius, and it makes these ever so slightly addictive.
You can easily swap a normal sponge cake for a gluten-free one to create truffles suitable for people with gluten sensitivity. You can also use a chocolate cake instead of Madeira cake for extra chocolate taste.
This is one of the easiest raw chocolate recipes to make, involving only three basic ingredients - cacao butter, cocoa powder and natural sweetener.
Whilst the recipe is simple and easy to make, the ingredients are not always easy to find. You need to visit your local health food shop to find them or explore the wonderful world of internet to get exactly what you need.
The taste and quality of the final chocolate bar depends on the quality of the ingredients you use. So, of course you could use non raw ingredients, such as normal baking cocoa powder and swap the cacao butter for coconut oil or normal butter. Pretty much anything goes, but if you want to make a raw chocolate, you have to start with pure raw ingredients as they are produced very differently to the normal cocoa powders and butters.
It's probably easier to get hold off liquid sweetener than powdered raw sugar, but bear in mind that once you introduce liquid into the chocolate mixture is starts to behave very different and it's difficult to temper. But no matter, what you use, you'll always end up with delicious version of your own chocolate!
The 1920s & 1930’s was an era of extremes. Great wealth and borderline poverty. First there was the swinging jazz scene of decadence and excess of a generation who survived the first world war and were determined to enjoy themselves. But it wasn’t to last and the stock market crash of 1929 led to a great depression and world wide economic crisis. Soon the frenetic whirl of the Charleston was replaced by the slow shuffle of hobnail boots in the dole queue. The Lindy Hop for some and the Jarrow March for others.
Although I like winter, I can't wait now for the spring to arrive. The other day, I suddenly realised, that it is colder now, then it was around Christmas! And, that is really not fair! Christmas is the real winter for me, so once we move over to February I'm expecting spring to arrive. It's England after all, not a Czech Republic...
So, I thought that regardless to what the thermometer outside says, I can bring spring to my home.
To continue with the 'Spring theme' I decided to bake some Blueberry & Vanilla Macarons to take to friends house for dinner.
These chocolate treats were popular in British schools home economics or cooking classes towards the mid to end 20 century. There were cheaper versions of the grown-up chocolate truffles and were easy for children to make during the school class. I’m assuming that this recipe was developed after the second world war when real chocolate was still rationed, expensive and very difficult to come by.
While a lot of war time food rationing shopped after the end of the war a lot of food items continued to be rationed well until the 1950s. Chocolate was rationed until 5th of February 1953 and sugar until September 1953.
That is why this recipe originally uses only drinking chocolate as the only source of chocolate, and the sugar element comes from condensed milk. Fresh cream, which is what chocolatiers use mostly to create chocolate truffles these days, was far too expensive and not everyone had a fridge to keep it in. Since digestive biscuits were invented around 1839 by two Scottish doctors, it’s likely that this school truffle recipe is originally Scottish too.
Digestive biscuits were invented to help to aid digestion, and they are probably a a little bit healthier than other types of biscuit. They would also be cheap to buy and easy to crumble into the recipe mix.
I’m also guessing that the original recipe wouldn’t include butter, as it would add to the cost of the recipe. You can easily leave it out, if you like, just adjust the amount of the biscuits (you will need more than stated in the recipe or omit the desiccated coconut to even out the wet/dry ingredients).
The desiccated coconut is also a later addition, making the recipe extra yummy, but of course adding to the cost.
If you want to make this recipe on a budget, you only need three ingredients — tin of condensed milk, pack of digestive biscuits and cocoa powder.
I would suggest using cocoa powder instead of the drinking chocolate powder (the original recipe has this, because of the cost). The cocoa powder will, of course, give you stronger chocolate flavour, and these days it’s probably not more expensive than a good drinking cocoa powder.
Before you start making this chocolate truffle recipe, I have to warn you, that these school truffles are very sweet and totally addictive. Once you make them, you’ll know!
So, how do you make truffles with digestive biscuits? Here is how:
Truffles made from digestive biscuits - ingredients
Large pack of plain digestive biscuits (about 400g)
1 tin of condensed milk
125 g of unsalted butter
2-4 tablespoon of cocoa powder or drinking chocolate
125g desiccated sweetened coconut
Chocolate sprinkles, desiccated coconut or cocoa powder
Melt the butter first and leave to cool down a bit. Break and crush the digestive biscuits. The best way to do this is to place all the biscuits in a large ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to crush them. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, add the condensed milk and butter.
Mix gently until you have a good consistency. Scoop out a heaped teaspoon of the mixture and roll in cocoa powder or a topping of your choice. Leave to set in a fridge for a couple of hours and enjoy!
These school truffles are best enjoyed within a week of making, and you can store them in a fridge in an airtight container.
Now, that you’ve made these chocolate truffles with digestive biscuits, what do you think? Do let me know in the comments below and if you would like to make some more chocolate truffle recipes.
Before we get to our list of wartime sweets, lets have a bit of a background. Sweet and chocolate rationing started on 26 July 1942, only finishing 5 February 1953, nearly eight years later. The amount of sugar and therefore sweets which you were allowed fluctuated during the war, ranging from 16oz a month down to 8oz (227g) a month.
Despite the decision to ration the sales of sugar in January 1940, as late as the summer Cadbury's were still able to advertise that their teatime biscuits were available in 'all Woolworth stores'.