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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Truffles for Christmas

This year I decided to try something new for Christmas. Instead of cookies, which I have been doing for the last several years, I have ventured out and made (for the very first time) truffles. These are little mounds of the most decadent chocolate one can possibly imagine dusted in some powdery/flaky stuff that makes them just too much to resist. I have always purchased them from some exclusive candy shoppe and paid plenty for them. I have NEVER found them in a store where I thought the price was anything close to affordable. So they have always been a rare treat...until now.

I have discovered that they are incredibly easy to make and not so expensive at all. So below is a photo series of my latest batch of truffles...Grand Marnier rolled in toasted coconut.

(I made these for a friend who recently underwent some nasty surgery..all is well, and she is dabbing the chocolate from her cheeks and looking for the last shreds of coconut as I write this)

The Recipe:

Makes about 17 pieces
6 ounces of good chocolate.

( I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao, but 70% works too, even semisweet bits that you use for chocolate chip cookies work! )

2 Tablespoons of sweet (unsalted butter)

3 Tablespoons heavy cream (add 1 Tablespoon...if you are NOT using a liquor flavoring.)

1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier

Something soft and flaky to roll the truffles in...toasted coconut, powdered dutch cocoa, ground walnuts...go ahead, use your imagination!

Here you can see I have set my scale to zero with an empty measuring cup and added the chocolate to correctly measure 6 ounces. There are 3 tablespoons of heavy cream in that tiny measuring vessel, the butter is ready to go as well as the liquor.

I thought I was pretty creative making this double boiler...I used my smallest old metal mixing bowl because it has a little metal ring, which I have twist tied to the handle of my pot--so when I stir the chocolate the liner pot will not turn. In the pot under the mixing bowl is about a cup of water which has been brought to a slow boil...no real high heat needed here. It scares the chocolate!

See the chocolate wants to melt...not too quickly


ah almost there, a few lumps..soon you we see that magnificent deep shiny brown sheen...




All melted and now stir in, gently the butter

Then the cream...here is where we want to see that sheen I mentioned earlier...stir gently


See? it's coming, it started in the middle...just a little thicker and oh so shiny

ah...perfection. How long does all this take you may be asking...about 3 minutes...or less. When you get that nice sheen, you can add the tablespoon of liquor. Don't try to add too much of any liquid or you will end up with sauce instead of a semi-firm chocolate.

I put the melted concoction in a clean soup bowl and covered it with a plastic wrap. Then it goes in the fridge for about 2 to 4 hour to set up. It should be pretty solid and give gently to a finger prod. Then take it out and let it sit for twenty minutes or so. It makes it much easier to work with. Using a teaspoon, curl up a few small pieces into a lump about the size of...well a truffle! Roll it lightly in your palms to form it and then roll gently in flaky coconut (or whatever you have chosen)

Place the finished product on a parchment or waxed paper tray, when all done, cover them and put them in the fridge so they can firm up again. Munch to your heart's delight or give them away!

I made Coconut ones because that is what my friend indicated was her favorite. But I made one ginger one for me...so I could test the batch before I gave it away.

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