Tuesday, May 1, 2012

National Truffle Day


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By Chef Diane

The first time my son invited me to visit him in his new town we went to a wonderful restaurant for dinner.  I had the rib eye steak and fried shrimp and it was delicious!  I could only eat the shrimp, and I was stuffed!  When the waitress came by to ask if we wanted dessert, I could barely breathe.  I always like to eat something sweet after a meal, but I couldn’t hold another crumb.  My son, being aware of my sweet tooth, took me to a local candy shop.  I thought I had died and gone to Heaven.  Inside, there were shelves and shelves full of chocolate!  There were so many different kinds of truffles it was hard to choose the one I wanted most.

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They had coffee and tea flavors, salty and spicy flavors, fruity and liquor flavors too.  Some were rolled in coco dust, coconut, powdered sugar, and candy sprinkles or nuts.  His favorite was the Iced Mocha, and I picked the Chocolate Mint.  Today is National Truffle Day, why not stop by a candy store in your area and grab one...or two.  If you don’t have one in your area, here is a recipe from simplyrecipes.com for you to try to make your own.

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Chocolate Truffles
Ingredients
Basic truffle ingredients
  • 8 ounces of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (high quality, 62% cacao or higher), well chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

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Optional base flavorings:
  • Mint leaves (1 bunch, stems removed, chopped, about 1 cup)
  • Cinnamon and cardamom (1 cinnamon stick, 2 cardamom pods)
  • Amaretto (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Almond extract (1 teaspoon)
  • Truffle coatings
  • Cocoa powder
  • Finely chopped walnuts
  • Finely chopped almonds

Method
  1. In a small, heavy saucepan bring the heavy whipping cream to a simmer (this may take a while, be sure to stir and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula every few minutes).
  2. If you are using one of the other recommended flavorings, stir it in with the cream (and ignore vanilla in the next step). If adding mint or other solids, after the cream simmers, remove from heat and let seep for an hour. Then strain away solids, and return the cream to a simmer and proceed with recipe.
  3. Place the chocolate in a separate bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate, add the vanilla, and allow to stand for a few minutes then stir until smooth. (This chocolate base is called ganache.)
  4. Allow to cool, then place in the refrigerator for two hours. Remove and with a teaspoon roll out balls of the ganache. Roll in your hands quickly (as it will melt from the heat of your hands) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. Roll in cocoa powder or chopped nuts and serve, or place back in the refrigerator until needed.

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Makes 30-40 chocolate truffles.

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