April 7, 2010

On 2 kinds of truffles.

Posted in Baking, Bite-Sized, No-Bake, Recipe tagged , , , , , , , , at 2:42 pm by Dani

About a month ago I made truffles for a friend’s birthday party. They were a smash hit, and I highly recommend making them for any event. They’re another example of a food that looks more impressive than it actually is. I didn’t alter the recipes when I made them, with the exception of excluding nuts, and I can’t imagine anything making them any better. So without further ado, the truffle recipes:

Alton Brown’s Chocolate Truffles:

(Note: This yields about 20 truffles, depending on how big you make them.)

10 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

3 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon light corn syrup (I used dark and it still came out great)

1/4 cup brandy (I used chocolate liqueur once, and it didn’t taste as good. Stick with brandy.)

1. Place the 10 ounces of chocolate and butter in a medium size glass mixing bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir, and repeat this process 1 more time. Set aside.

2. Heat the heavy cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture over the melted chocolate mixture; let stand for 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir gently until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth and creamy. Gently stir in the brandy (don’t be worried if it doesn’t combine easily. Water into fat = resistance. Just keep stirring).

3. Pour the mixture into an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

4. Using a melon baller, scoop chocolate onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

5. While its in the fridge, you’ll be prepping your work station for coating the truffles, but we’ll talk about that after I present the recipe for the next set of truffles.

The next type of truffles are….

Paula Deen’s Cookie Dough Truffles:

Note: this makes a whole heaping lot of truffles. The recipe says 5 dozen, but mine were a bit smaller so I easily had 75 truffles, even after munching on the batter prematurely. Keep this in mind and scale down accordingly.

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cup all-purpose flour

1   (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate morsels

1 cup finely chopped pecans (I excluded these)

1. In a large bowl cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy (5-10 min).

2. Add vanilla. Gradually beat in flour and add milk. Add chocolate morsels and pecans (or just morsels, if you’re me), mixing well. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place on waxed paper; chill 2 hours.

The basic concept behind coating a truffle is simple. You just melt chocolate and roll into a coating of your choice. I’ve read a lot of recipes that call for something called “chocolate bark candy coating.” I’ve never used it before, but I believe its simply a chocolate product designed to melt easier and harden better. I’ve never needed it, but perhaps if you’re not as comfortable melting chocolate in your microwave as I am you can look into it.

I, however, bake  by the word of Alton Brown, and he has a different method for coating truffles. He doesn’t use any of this “chocolate bark candy coating” stuff. He uses real chocolate, but warily. In Good Eats episode “The Art of Darkness III,” he delves into the science of why you shouldn’t heat your chocolate above 92 degrees. Here’s the clip; Start watching at 1:52 for the part where he talks about coating. Don’t worry. I’ll summarize afterward.

I hate chemistry, but love playing with blocks. So I get it. Basically, if you overheat the chocolate you’ll reconfigure the atoms in the chocolate, and it’ll never harden the same again.

His ideal method of melting involves putting the bowl of chocolate over a heating pad. Make sure you stir frequently. Use a thermometer to make sure you’re not going above 92 degrees.

Well, good sir, I don’t have a thermometer or a heating pad. So I’m going to microwave.

Alton’s issue with microwaves is that (a) it requires patience because you MUST HEAT FOR 10-20 SECONDS AT A TIME, (b) you have to stop just as it has barely melted and (c) heating time varies due to many factors, including the strength of your microwave and the size of the chocolate pieces.

I’ve never had a problem with any of these things. I have the patience for (a), and I know my microwave well enough to deal with (c). As for (b), let me tell you all a little secret: I have these bowls that get really hot in the microwave. They’re PERFECT for melting chocolate because they stay warm and keep the chocolate from re-hardening quickly. Also I take the chocolate out of the microwave before its all melted, and the bowl is hot enough to finish the process gently–all I have to do is keep stirring. Of course, I always use oven mitts to remove this bowl from the microwave. I recommend you find yourself a bowl like this. It will serve you well.

Before you go ahead and melt the chocolate, prepare your topping. Here are some options:

Cocoa powder

Confectioner’s sugar (Its hard to keep this one clean, fyi)

Crushed nuts

Sprinkles

Regular sugar

Mini chocolate chip morsels

Coconut

This one is one of my favorites: Cookies and Creme Sprinkles. It looks great, and also tastes great. You can buy it at craft stores. I bought mine at Joanne’s.

cookies and creme sprinkles

Prepare your topping(s) of choice by pouring some into a very shallow bowl, or a place that is lower in the center.

Now you may melt your chocolate. (about 8 0z per 20 truffles), however you chose to do it, you must get the melted chocolate onto the ball. Alton says to use an ice cream scoop, but I respectfully disagree. I tried it and failed. I prefer the fork method:

You’ll need two forks. Place the uncoated ball into the first fork, and dip into melted chocolate, using the other fork to keep the ball from falling all the way in. Hold the fork over the chocolate for a few seconds to let the excess drip off.

Place the chocolate coated ball into the topping. What I do is sprinkle some of the topping over the truffle, then shake the dish to roll the ball around (this is why it needs high edges). I try not to touch the ball with my hands or any utensils. Leave it in the topping for a few minutes while you coat and top some more truffles. This will ensure that the coating is hard enough to remove without messing the whole thing up. Line the done truffles on a wax papered cookie sheet, and you’re done! Wait until the chocolate is fully hardened to start tasting though. Your patience will be rewarded.

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