Sunday, December 21, 2008

Truffles

This is an adaptation of a recipe I saw in Martha Stewart's 2005 Holiday Baking issue. It's pretty easy. If you need advanced instructions beyond what I provide, go to her website and type in "Chocolate Truffles." 

1 cup whipping cream
2 tsp Golden Syrup (you could use corn syrup too)
1/4 cup butter (I like unsalted)

Heat this in a good sized saucepan over medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble. Then, working quickly, add 1 lb of chopped chocolate. 

I've used everything from chocolate chips to really good quality chocolate here, and while you can taste the difference between, say Chipits' best and some bittersweet Scharffenburger, don't stress over what you use. If budget is a consideration, save your Valhrona for the coating. 

Once you've added the chocolate, swirl the pan without stirring, until the cream mixture has covered the chocolate. Let it sit for a few minutes, then grab a whisk (or a fork) and mix until smooth.

At this point I figure out how many types of truffles I'm going to make. I usually divide this mixture into 2-3 bowls - even though I might make this recipe 4 times over (inspiration sometimes hits me after the fact, so I revisit my drawing board a few times). This gives me enough to give away a few boxes AND have some left over. 

Once you've divided the mix into bowls, add your flavourings. These can be anything from chopped nuts to liqueurs. Be generous here. None of your 1 measly teaspoons of this or pinches of that. Well, unless you're using some ancho chilies, like I did...

Then, depending on your schedule, let each bowl sit on the counter until thick, or, if you're in a rush, chuck them in the fridge. It doesn't take long, but if you have a cool place you can greatly speed up this step. At this point, get some cookie sheets covered with parchment (or waxed paper) and have them nearby. Once the mixture is hard(ish), get yourself a little spoon (I use the small end of a melon baller) and scoop out little balls. Roll them around if you like a more uniform chocolate, or leave them as blobs on the cookie sheets. If you've added too much scotch or brandy, and you find that the mixture isn't solid enough to shape easily, you can do one of two things: if the mixture is sort of scoopable, spoon out blobs and plop them onto the cookie sheet. Then chuck the cookie sheet in the freezer. Once the blobs have hardened a bit, roll them around on your palms until they hold more of a shape, then refreeze until you are going to dip them (in which case you'll need to work in very small batches). Alternately, you can freeze the bowl of melted cream/chocolate, until it's semi-solid, then scoop your truffles from that. You'll probably need to leave that sheet in the freezer as well. Don't fret about this, though, because it will all work out once you've dipped them in melted chocolate. That coating will hold anything together!

I like to dip these centres in melted chocolate, then roll them in something the echoes their inner flavour: candy canes for mint, toasted coconut for coconut, chocolate sprinkles or unsweetened cocoa for chocolate or scotch or brandy, etc. Use your imagination here. All you have to consider is "Is it edible?" and "Will it be a good taste experience?" 

Remember the Prime Directive of every cook: you want your audience to delight in your food. 

3 comments:

Becky said...

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm delighted just looking at the pictures!

Now just fire some of 'em eastwards...

Heather said...

Those look soooo good, Shelia. I'll have to wait until next year to make them. What a great gift idea...if they last long enough to gift. Can they be put in the freezer - out of sight out of mind sort of thing?

sheila said...

Becky, sure, no problem. I'll send my local Stellar's Jay network I think, in case Canada Post goes on strike. Better start looking out your window - it should be coming right about....now!



Heather, you'd be surprised how little chocolate they take. And you can freeze the centers. I don't think the entire truffle freezes well though - my mum does it and they don't hold up well, IMO. They last in the fridge for about 3 weeks tops.