Sunday, December 2, 2012

Truffles, the easy way

I love truffles, not really all that fond of chocolate, but I love truffles.   I guess I said that more than once huh?   Have you seen the price of truffles in stores?  I mean really, they are a little outrageous.  So since I had some leftover whipping cream in the fridge, and some Bakers Chocolate in the pantry, I thought TRUFFLES!!!

They are dead simple to make, I mean if I'd known just how easy, well, let me say this, now that I know, I can make them more often.   Well, whenever a special occasion presents itself that is.
So, anyone having a birthday, or life celebration soon?   Just let me know and I'll whip up a batch for you, just so long as I get to taste one or two along the way.  Was that too blatant a hint? 

I think I've mentioned this before, I live in a small town, well, a few miles out of a small town, and while our local grocery store stocks necessities, it really doesn't stock a whole lot of other stuff.  We have the basics, and if I want something more exotic, I need to drive over 30 miles to the nearest halfway decent grocery store or 60 miles to really shop for fun stuff.   But that's OK, cause I have all I need to make Truffles just down the road.  Maybe the chocolate's not Valrhona or Scharffen Berger but I'll use what I can get here.   And honestly, I don't know as if I can taste the difference, at least not when it's covered with some unsweetened chocolate shavings, or coconut or nuts.    All of which are employed in this batch.

So for starters, chop up four squares of Bakers Semi-sweet chocolate, into chunks.  Heat a half cup of heavy whipping cream to almost boiling, pour over the chopped chocolate and let it set a couple of minutes.  Then stir it together.  Whatever you do, don't get any water into it.  The chocolate will 'seize' up and you won't be able to finish.  You can still eat it, but, why waste good chocolate and cream.     I use my new whisk, which is silicone to blend it together.   At first it will look really strange, and you'll wonder what you did wrong, but just keep stirring, it will all come together.

Now, once it's reached this stage, you can place it in the fridge for a couple or three hours to firm up.

Try not to taste it too much, you do want some left to make into truffles.   Oh, did I forget to mention that at this point you have made a Ganache.   And if you don't want to make it into truffles, you can also pour it over a cake, or cupcakes or ...  It makes a lovely rich frosting.   I guess you didn't realize I was leading you on a different path, huh?  Now you know how to make a Ganache, the world is your oyster.    Sorry, got carried away there.

Next up, after you've chilled the ganache down, you want to dunk it into some kind of covering, otherwise it just melts all over your fingers and everything when you try to eat it.   Which isn't bad if you like licking your fingers, but I want to add another dimension to the truffle.
Grate a couple squares of unsweetened chocolate,

chop up some pecans or walnuts,

very fine, or even some coconut.

 Form the ganache into little balls using a melon baller,

and roll in any of your toppings.

You can also enrobe (which means cover) the ganache balls with some tempered chocolate, but I like my truffles with some grated chocolate or coconut or just nuts covering it.   And since I like it like that, you get to see how I make them.   Another hint, you can also put a good liqueur in the ganache after you finish it, and that will also add a nice dimension to the flavour profile.   I used a couple of tablespoons of Grand Marnier for part of the ganache.  It did make it a little trickier to handle, cause it softened it up a lot.   Another trick for the next time I make this, I will not let it set up quite so much before I make it into the balls, I had to let the ganache 'warm' up a little before I could form it into balls. 

I just had to show off the finished truffles.   Before I took them with me to a function, where they were very well received.   So well in fact, I only had to eat a couple afterwards.

Recipe:  Truffles
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
4 oz. Bakers Chocolate, roughly chopped  (I like the Semi-sweet)
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, grated
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
Chop the chocolate up a little, set aside.  Heat the cream to almost boiling, either on the stovetop or in a microwave.   Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for a couple of minutes, then stir together until the cream and chocolate are completely incorporated.   You've just made a ganache.  Place in the fridge for an hour or so to set up.  When ready to make the truffle balls, take the ganache out of the fridge and let it set at room temperature while you prepare the chocolate and nuts.   If you have a small ice-cream type scoop you can use that to make the truffle balls or use a melon baller to scoop out equal amounts of ganache.  Place each ball into either the grated chocolate or the pecans and roll them around, making sure they are evenly coated.  Place them into a container and put them back into the fridge to set up again.   Serve to your friends or guests or just eat a couple here and there, it's all good.

 And if one of the chocolate ones happens to find its way into a cup of hot milk for a totally decadent hot chocolate, I won't tell anyone if you don't.  
Once you've made your own Truffles, it's hard to go out and buy them anymore.
 I mean, why would you?  
Sidsel Munkholm - Author
Sidsel Munkholm - Author

Sid loves to cook, feed people and have fun in the kitchen. She shares her successes and the involuntary offerings she sometimes gives the kitchen goddess as well. And she's still looking for the mythical fairy to help her clean the kitchen after a marathon cooking session. Currently working on a cookbook showcasing the recipes from her Danish heritage.

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