"Reclaiming Homemade in a Small Space"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Candy Take Two: Chocolate Truffles

My husband Matt's facebook status update said it all today:  "The day Jenny makes chocolate truffles just might be my favorite day of the whole Christmas season. #lickingthebowl"  It is nearly everyone's favorite thing I make.  My daughter, Emma, was has been hounding me for these for a couple of weeks now.  For me, this is a true Christmas time treat.  They add a little bit of elegance to our Christmas candy dishes and of course, they are delicious.  I made these one year for some friends and they were convinced that I bought them from a fancy boutique!  These make absolutely wonderful gifts and the best thing is they are not complicated to make.

I found the recipe over 10 years ago and of course, I couldn't leave it alone.  I've tweaked and perfected it for my taste.  It really is very basic....chocolate and heavy whipping cream with flavorings.  That's it.  Over time I have made orange truffles, rum truffles, mocha truffles, ganache truffles, etc.  The sky is the limit on the flavorings you can use.  First, I will give you the basic recipe for truffles and then discuss flavors at the end.

Chocolate Truffles
printable version 
1 package of milk chocolate chips
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips 
3/4 c. heavy whipping cream
2 c. semisweet chocolate
1/4 c. shortening

Place the package of milk chocolate chips and the 1 c. of semisweet chocolate chips in a large bowl.
(Really, you can use whatever chips you want here, depending on your taste.)

Next, bring your whipping cream to a boil.  I like to do this on the stove top simply because I can keep my eye on it.  But you can do this in the microwave if you'd like, just make sure it doesn't boil over.
Pour this hot cream over the chocolate chips and let it set for a minute or two.  The hot cream is melting the chocolate.
Next, take a whisk and mix up the cream and chocolate.
Now you have what is called ganache!  Stick this in the fridge for 35 minutes. After the ganache has chilled, pull it out of the fridge and beat it with a hand held mixer for 10 to 15 seconds.  It will lighten and thicken slightly but make sure not to over beat it.
Next, take a #60 scoop and portion out the ganache.  (If you don't have a scoop, use a teaspoon.)

 Stick these in the fridge for another five minutes just to firm them up a bit.  Then, pull them out and roll them with your hands to make a uniform shape.
Now it is time to make the coating.  Place the chips and the shortening in a microwave safe bowl.  Melt the 1 c. of chocolate chips and shortening in the microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each time.  It took me three 30 second spins in the microwave
 If you just melt the chocolate without the shortening, it will not harden again unless you temper it.  Tempering chocolate is a long and involved process of re-aligning the sugar crystals up again...you have to keep it at a certain temperature, can't overheat it....  I've done it, but I find it is a pain unless you are working with a large amount of chocolate.  I suggest, just use the shortening.  It doesn't affect the flavor at all.

Next, dip each truffle in the melted chocolate and shortening mixture with a tablespoon. Cover it with the chocolate and the tap the spoon hard against the side of the bowl to shake off the excess.  Then drop it carefully on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet.

Now, let it harden for 10 min. or so. (You can get really creative with the chocolate swirls!)

If you'd like to add a flavoring, it is really easy to do.  Add one of the following to the hot cream:
Orange: 2 1/2 t. orange extract and 1 1/2 t. orange zest
Rum: 2 T. good quality rum
Mocha: 2 T. instant coffee
Cherry: 2 t. cherry extract
Mint: 2 t. mint extract
I encourage you to use your imagination!

Today, I made three flavors:  rum, orange and mocha. (Notice the coffee bean on the mocha ones!)
You know...if you have extra dipping chocolate....remember the orange balls?  You could dip them in the extra chocolate too....
Happy Dipping!

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