Friday, July 18, 2008

Chocolate Truffles

So, yesterday was a friend's goodbye party. It was a wine, cheese, baked goods, and tea party. He did the cooking which included steak with a red wine reduction sauce and dungeness crab in a white wine sauce flavored with lots crab brains, garlic, and green onions. Yum!
Not to be outdone, I made chocolate truffles, cream puffs filled with vanilla ice cream with a ghiradelli dark chocolate sauce, and key lime tart with meringue. I'm very tired and so I'm only going to tell you have to make the truffles tonight, though I'll try to post all the recipes (mine and his) in the near future.

The ganache is Scharffen Berger 70% chocolate, the shell is Ghiradelli 60% Cacao chocolate, and it is coated in a wonderfully kick in the mouth Dagoba Xocolatl Hot Chocolate or the old favorite chopped pecans. I got the Dagoba as a gift, but just the chocolate in this recipe will run you about 20 bucks. So, in other words, it's bad for your wallet and your health. What's not to love?
Here's is the link to the
official recipe from Food Network's website, but I'll retype the recipe with my modifications below. The official recipe yields about 50 truffles, but I was short on time and cash so I halved it.
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 a pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely (I used an entire Scharffen Berger's 70% Cacao baking bar which is 9.7 ounces. A half a pound is actually 8 ounces)
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound liquid tempered chocolate (more on that later, I used 8 ounces of Ghiradelli 60% Cacao baking chocolate)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup of Dagoba Xocolatl Hot Chocolate (note: I just searched it on Google and it seems like Dagoba has discontinued the product. You can always use plain unsweetened cocoa powder or be adventurous and add a dash of cinnamon and chili powder to it. )

Place heavy cream in a large pot and bring slowly to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes then stir well until smooth. Stir in the butter. Pour into the bowl, and let cool until set. I was never quite sure how set is set, so I always let it return to room temperature. About a half an hour.
Then I beat it with a handheld mixture until it's aerated and fluffy. The Food Network recipe calls for a stand mixer, which I don't have. For a stand mixer, it takes about 2 minutes, but I always beat it for +5 with my handheld one. If you want to add espresso powder, cinnamon, alcohol, this is where you do it. However, since I'm using really high grade chocolate (Scharffen Berger claims that the 70% bar has flavors of red fruit), I want the taste of the chocolate to come out unmolested. The finished chocolate ganache should lighten slightly in color and when you poke it, it should leave a proud little peak. No droopies.
This is where I modify it a lot. The recipe asks you to pipe the mixture out, but I find it easier to spoon it out in a 1.5-2 tbsp droplets on a parchment papered cookie sheet. Then I chill it in the fridge or freezer for five to ten minutes. I roll them into gumball sized balls and at the end, my hands look like the hands of an ax murderer before TV had good color. Then I return them to the freezer as I start on the tempered chocolate. You need a friend for this!!!!
Basically, now you're going to coat the ganache balls with a liquid layer of tempered chocolate and then roll them in Dagoba hot chocolate powder or finely chopped nuts. Prepare three plates, one with the nuts, one with the chocolate powder, and one plate for the finished truffles. You have to do this quickly. If the chocolate cools too much before you coat your truffle, you'll get a thick gloppy layer instead of a crisp thin layer. Think chocolate shell.
I used the seed crystal method as described by Cooking For Engineers. Basically, I melted about six ounces of finely chopped Ghiradelli chocolate in a makeshift double boiler (ie. in a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water.) I stirred until it was melted, turned off the heat, and added 2 more ounces of Ghiradelli chocoalte (total being 8). Stir until melted.
Grab your tray of ganache balls from the freezer and dump them into the tempered chocolate a few at a time. Then either drop and coat them in the nuts or in the chocolate powder. Transfer onto the finished plate. Repeat until finished.
You can eat immediately or chill. It's wonderful with a glass of red wine, milk, or just by itself. The hot chocolate powder is a shock at first which mellows with the richness and slight tartness of the ganache. Since the cocoa coating is so strong, you might be able to get away with a lower grade chocolate for tempering (ie Nestle or Hershey's), but I haven't put it into practice yet.
For more recipes, click my "recipe" label. Duh.


Anonymous said...

that was an awesome truffle, and i dont think anybody can say otherwise. Thanks a lot for everything! <3

blueberryscone said...

'twas sooo decadent. i loved it and every other sweet treat! :D