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Friday, February 14, 2014

choc box -- chocolate truffles

























Chocolate Truffles. 
chili choc truffle batter

Possibly the priciest choc to add to the box at a good chocolatier's. Locally to me, truffles often run $2.50 apiece. That runs up quite a bill by the time you've filled half a box! My way may not look quite as perfect, but is pleasingly homemade, charming, delicious, and will cost you a mere fraction of the professional price.

Are you ready? Oh, boy. I'm not. I can't believe I'm revealing my secrets!

This recipe has been coveted by many over the last six years, since I was newly married and my mother gave it to me. I needed a WOW factor that first Christmas. Her recipe came from somewhere...don't know where, nor does she, and was just for the truffle filling. If you want the hard shell, too, then that's all me.

Oh, boy. You had better love me for this. ;)

Ready?

You need a good heat-safe glass bowl, such as a pyrex jug, to pop into or over a pot of water as a make-shift double boiler. You need a cookie scoop or melon baller for shaping truffles.

You also need:

1/2 c heavy cream
10 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 c butter, softened
powdered sugar for rolling

That is the basic truffle. Really. See why this has been a closely guarded secret? It's too easy!

dark choc almond truffle batter

Bring the cream quickly to a simmer and reduce heat.

Add butter and choc. Melt down over lowest heat in double boiler, being careful not to scald choc. Once completely smooth, add flavorings or extras as desired, and let cool.

Refrigerate for 4-6 hours until fully set.


Scoop out a lump of batter and shape into a ball with your hands. Roll in powdered sugar, or powdered sugar with plain cocoa powder, or even just cocoa powder, to help prevent sticking as you form. Work quickly with as cold hands as you can manage.


Place truffles on a baking tray and fridge again. Just to be sure. You can stop here, package them up, eat them, whatever. They're adorable and delicious as is. Sometimes, I mix up truffle batter and leave it unformed in a bowl with a load of spoons out for friends to shape their own. It's fun for a change. Buuuutt... Let's do the whole thing!


Once truffles and tray are properly chilled once more, melt your choc coating. Pictured are chili chocolate truffles with a white choc coating.


Be extra careful when melting down white choc not to overheat it. Really, white choc isn't chocolate at all, and so tends to be less stable and more prone to dry crumbling if overheated.

Dollop melted chocolate on your cold tray. Pop a truffle on top. Place back in the fridge and chill again.


Now, you can coat the top in one of two ways.

Do as pictured above and drizzle the choc over the top, letting gravity do most of the work. Use a toothpick or bamboo skewer to gently tease the choc down to meet the base, forming a sealed shell.

Or, you can lift the truffle, hold the base, and dip into melted chocolate to coat. Up to you. If you have clumsy fingers, you might find the spoon method a little cleaner.

Ah, yes. I knew you were going to ask that. Chili chocolate truffles? Almond truffles? More? Oh, yes. I will share.


Variations


Chili Truffles
1 Tb honey
1/4 tsp hottest cayenne

Coconut Truffles
coconut oil instead of butter
coconut milk instead of cream (don't heat)
optional sprinkle finely shredded coconut over the wet shell


Nut Truffles
add 1/2 to 3/4 c finely chopped nuts of choice
or, hide a soaked almond in the center of a truffle before shaping 

Orange Truffles
3 Tbs candied orange peel
2 tsp orange extract

Coffee Truffles
add 1 Tb strongest instant coffee to batter

If you want to add a liqueur for flavoring, such as rum or cointreau, use a 2-3 Tbs less cream and then mix in that liquid amount of liqueur once the truffle batter is melted together. It may depend slightly on the type of liqueur you use as to how strong you will need to make it. Play.

Change up dark, milk and white chocolates in combinations. Have fun. What more combinations can you think of?

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