February 14, 2010

Chocolate Truffle Trifecta

In this installment, in deference to Valentines day I am providing three truffle recipes. These are the real truffles, which is that soft center that you find inside those hard shelled store bought things. After making these you'll understand why they do that, but it is the center that is the true chocolate decadence. A truffle will start to "melt in your hand before it gets to your mouth", giving you every incentive to get it in your mouth as quickly as possible.

The recipes are: Chocolate-Cayenne, Chocolate-Fennel-Anise and Chocolate-Grand Marnier
These three recipes here are based on a basic truffle recipe with flavor variations, you may want to start there if you are comfortable with what a store bought truffle tastes like, but if you are looking for a little adventure, I hope this sets you on a path exploring some unexpected combinations.

Let's start with base ingredients, the chocolate, a typical truffle recipe starts with semi sweet, but I wanted to try to tow other variations, bittersweet and pure unsweeted chocolate. The recipes are presented in their order of most familiar to flavor to more shall we say, adventurous flavor, but perhaps you are the best judge.

The chocolates: (semisweet, bitersweet, unsweeted)
Let's start with the Chocolate-Cayenne
4 oz bar of semi-sweet chocolate
2 oz water
3 oz heavy whipping cream or creme fraiche
1 1/2 Tbsp of unsweeted butter
1 Tbsp confectioners sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder for forming and coating truffle balls 
(these 6 ingredients comprise the basic truffle recipe, you are welcome to start with this alone)
1/4 or 1/2 Tsp of Cayeene Pepper (yes the hot pepper)
Method (making the chocolate truffle mixture)
1. The first step is to melt the chocolate in a double boiler on the lowest heat setting. First place the 2 oz of water in the double boiler.
2. Next add the chocolate, breaking it to mangaeable chunks to allow them to be covered in the water. Whisk continuously until the mixture is fairly smooth. Add butter in small chunks (about five pieces) melting each chunk prior to adding the next piece.
3. You may notice that the oil form the butter does not incorporate with the chocolate just yet, that's okay.
Slowly pour in the cream and whisk until the mixture is uniform.
4. Add the sugar and whisk until completely incorporated (at this point you have the standard truffle mixture and you can skip the cayeene if you like just plain decadent chocolate ) this process will also apply to the other two recipes in this post. Add 1/4 tsp of cayeene and incorporate into the mixture bump this up to 1/2 tsp if you would like a bit more kick.
Chilling the mixture:
1. If you are making more recipes, transfer the mixture into another bowl, cool to room temperature and then place in the refridgerator or freezer. The freezer will likely make the mixture a little firmer than you want for the forming step, but it is likely that your refridgerator is not set low enough to firm up the mixture enough for easy handling. I prefer the freezer and then monitor the firmness.
Forming the truffles:
1.You want the mixture cool and firm enough to form but not so firm as to make it hard to handle. I like having a flat baking tray that I throw in the freezer to cool it down. Place about a 1/4 cup of cocoa powder to start in the baking sheet once you have removed it forom the freezer, take your truffle mixture and  scoop about a 1 1/2 tsp dollop of the micture out, working with your fingers, form into a ball or cube and drop into the cocoa powder.
2. Roll the dollop around to form a rough ball and make sure it is covered with cocoa  powder. Place the finish ball in a small candy size paper cup. Work quickly, as the truffle mixture warms up quickly at which point it has the consistency of  warm peanut butter. You may need to chill the mixture from time to time depending on the room temperature and how quickly you work. When you are done place the finished truffles in the refridgerator to keep them cool and firm. Remove only when ready to serve.
You might like these variations:
Chocolate-Grand Marnier
4oz bar unsweetened chocolate
1 oz Grand Marnier (steep with orange extract and leave overnight)
3 oz water (add additional water and 1 Tbsp. at a time till mixture is smooth)
2 tsp. orange extract
6 tsp. confectioners sugar
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 oz Vodka (steep with star anise and fennel and leave overnight)
1/4 tsp. star anise extract
2 tsp. ground fennel
3 oz thick cream
1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp confectioners sugar
Printable Recipe

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I never thought about making my own truffles. Thanks for the recipe. I actually don't mind buying quality chocolate truffles. It's even better when they're free: http://bit.ly/aQT3T9