For the times when you'd rather create a gift from the heart, instead of buying it...why not try these decadent chocolate pralines?
In honour of Mother's Day, which is coming up this weekend here in New Zealand, I thought I'd share a simple but delicious recipe for anyone who might prefer to spoil their mums (or themselves) from home this year. You don't need any fancy equipment, it doesn't take very long at all, and the end result is as good as a box of hand-crafted artisan truffles that you could buy from a specialty store...
100g nuts of choice
65g maple syrup
30g coconut oil (melted)
1 tbsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp ginger powder
200g milk or dark chocolate (you can make your own from scratch, if you're feeling adventurous)
Chop the nuts into small pieces using a knife or a blender. Place into a bowl and add the maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon and ginger. Mix well to combine.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray, and spread the nut mixture thinly across the tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture has become golden brown and is beginning to caramelise. Set aside to cool.
While the nut mixture is cooling, fill a small pot with approximately 2cm of water, and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat. Place the chocolate into a glass or metal bowl, and place the bowl on top of the pot, making sure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. The steam from the simmering water will gently melt the chocolate. When the chocolate has just melted (take care not to overheat it), remove the bowl from the heat.
When the nut mixture is cool to touch, break it into small pieces. NOTE: the mixture should be dry and crispy when it has cooled down. If it still has moisture in it, return it to the oven and bake for a further 5-10 minutes.
Crumble the nut mixture into a chocolate mould, or a baking tray. Spoon the melted chocolate overtop, making sure that the chocolate sinks through the gaps of the nut mixture to surround it completely.
Place the chocolate mould or tray in the fridge to set for 30 minutes. When it has set completely, remove the chocolates from the mould or tray, and store in an airtight container.