Monday, December 18, 2006

A Truffle-licious Christmas

Truffles seem to be the rage this holiday season, don't they? Everywhere I look, someone is making a batch to give as gifts or to bring to a party - and everywhere I look these people are posting pictures and oh my GAWD does it all look good!

When I asked our Christmas Eve dinner hosts if I could bring something and was asked in return what I'd like to bring, truffles were still on my mind. I offered to bring dessert (along with an appetizer and my Infamous Mashed Taters) with the idea to make some ostentatiously delicious truffles.

While I was at it, I decided to make some extras to bag up in these cute li'l cello bags with Santa on them to use as small thank-you gifts to some local businesses we frequent. Living in a small town like we do, one gets to know those they do business with on a regular basis.

I firmly believe you just can't go wrong when you turn to Jacques Torres for confectionery goodness.

Truffles by Jacques Torres
from Dessert Circus at Home
makes about 180 small truffles

18oz heavy cream
21oz bittersweet or dark chocolate, good quality (note: that new Nestle Chocolatier stuff? Yeah, thassgood.)

Chop chocolate into small bits with a large serrated knife. Place in a large bowl.
Over medium heat, gently warm the cream until small bubbles form around the edge
Pour half the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds. Using a whisk, stir until the chocolate begins to melt. Add the rest of the cream gradually, whisking to incorporate.

If you wish to flavor all or part of your ganache, do so now. You can use liqueurs or spirits like Grand Marnier, or you can use flavoring extracts like coconut or mint. Add the flavoring gradually to taste.

White Chocolate Truffles

6oz heavy cream
16oz white chocolate, chopped fine

Repeat above process to make the white chocolate ganache.

Pour warm ganache into a half sheet pan, a 13x9 baking pan, or other relatively flat container. Chill in the refrigerator about 1 hour, or until firm.

Meanwhile, prepare baking sheets or half sheet pans by lining with parchment paper, wax paper, or silicone baking mats.

When the ganache is firm, use a melon baller or a teaspoon to portion the chocolate onto the prepared pans. Don't worry about making them look pretty; you can do that later.
Alternately, you can pull the ganache a little sooner, when it's of toothpaste consistency, and use a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (Wilton 1A or 2A). Pipe small dollops onto prepared pans.
Chill ganache again for at least 1 hour, or until the chocolate lumps are firm.

Once the chocolate is firm again, quickly roll each into a ball using your hands and then roll in your desired coating.

Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks, though they won't last that long.

Possible coatings

About the only limit is your imagination! You can use:
Cocoa powder
Confectioner's sugar
Finely chopped nuts
Coconut - toasted or untoasted
Crushed hard candies
Ground spices ("mellow" them out with confectioner's sugar or cornstarch)

I made two recipes of the plain chocolate and 1/2 recipe of the white chocolate and turned them all into 6 different types of truffle.

Bittersweet chocolate coated in cocoa powder
Bittersweet chocolate flavored with coconut, coated in crushed macadamia nuts
Bittersweet chocolate coated in toasted crushed almonds
White chocolate coated in crushed candy canes
Bittersweet chocolate coated in honey dust
Bittersweet chocolate half-coated in crushed toasted almonds and half dipped in white chocolate, with a sprinkle of fleur de sel.

1 comment:

Dapple said...

Oooh, that sounds much less scary to make than I thought! My mouth's watering just looking at the, nice!