Treat of the Week: Truffles

Grab your aprons.  We are about to make your valentine REALLY happy. 

You may have seen it written about me that I have a sometimes unhealthy relationship with chocolate.  The truth is while I will always choose dark chocolate over any other for my snacking pleasure; I really love just about ANY chocolate.

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Valentine’s Day brings with it an overabundance of chocolates for you to consider.  Every candy maker on the planet fights for shelf space to showcase their red and pink dressed confections.  Specialty chocolate shops manage lines of would be lovers purchasing sweets for the sweet.

Today’s treat of the week is going to put you in the best possible position… chocolate presenter and genius handmade gift giver.  Today’s treat is going to make you seem like a culinary genius.  When we are finished here you will have a box of chocolates to present your sweetie that will outdo anything you could get at the mall. 

savour… handmade heaven

Get the rest after the jump…

Truffles

Before you start:

Truffles take quite a bit of time to make, but you will be pleased to know that the majority of the time is for chilling.  You will still have plenty of free time, but be sure to plan the process accordingly.

The chilling parts are essential to success.  If your truffle middles are not cold enough when you begin to dip they will fall from the pick or the pick will shoot right through the coating before it sets.

You can add flavoring (sparingly) just at the point when you pour in the warm milk.  Extracts are fine in small amounts.  Liqueurs can work, too, but be wary of changing the consistency too much.

We sprinkled ours with a little colored sugar just for Valentine's Day, but you could certainly leave that out.

Be prepared to move your pan of picked middles to and from the freezer to keep them cold.  

Be sure to completely cover the truffle middle when dipping in tempered chocolate.  Otherwise the filling will ooze out.

Tempering chocolate is ideal for this application.  It is not required for recipes that call for melted chocolate to be incorporated into the recipe. However, when the chocolate will be seen it is the only way to ensure that the finished result has a shiny, smooth texture and a bright snap when you bite it.

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The ingredients:

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream

For dipping:

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate + 2 ounces more semisweet chocolate
  • toothpicks
  • styrofoam 
  • cocoa powder
  • finely chopped nuts
  • shredded coconut
  • confectioner's sugar
  • white chocolate 

The method:

For the middles:

  1. Chop each of the chocolate varieties into small pieces and place in two separate bowls.
  2. Warm cream in a small saucepan over medium low heat.
  3. Just as cream begins to bubble, pour half or 5 ounces into one of the chocolates and the remainder into the other bowl of chocolate.  Whisk each until smooth.
  4. Cover bowls with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
  5. Remove bowls and use a small scoop leveled off with a knife to make consistent amounts of filling.
  6. Place filling on a parchment lined tray cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Return to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  7. Roll balls between your palms.
  8. Leave half of each to be rolled in toppings
  9. For the other half, insert a toothpick into the center of the chocolate ball.
  10. Insert the toothpick into a styrofoam disk or block.  Continue until all of the balls are on the block.
  11. Place the all of the rolled balls into the freezer until you are ready to coat or dip.
  12. Roll the balls without the toothpicks in chopped nuts, cocoa powder, or confectioner's sugar.
  13. Dip the balls with the toothpicks in tempered chocolate (see below) and return to the freezer to set.
  14. When the chocolate has set carefully remove the toothpick by gently twisting it out of the truffle.
  15. Use a bit of chocolate on the tip of your finger to seal up the hole left by the toothpick.
  16. Place all truffles in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For the tempered chocolate:

  1. Using a double-boiler system, melt 8 ounces of semisweet chocolate over simmering water.
  2. When the chocolate reaches 110 degrees, remove it from the pot, dry off the bowl and transfer the chocolate to a different bowl.  When the temperature is somewhere around 90 degrees add the other 2 ounces of chocolate.  Stir in until the chocolate is melted.   
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