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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Two Great Truffles

The Altitude Adjustment Section
Who doesn't love truffles? The chocolate kind, not the mushrooms, although those are pretty awesome, too.

Basic Truffles

Ingredients for filling
8 ounces dark chocolate, cut into small chunks
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons liquid
   you can do 2 tablespoons of a liquor (like rum, brandy, or a fruit liqueur) plus 2 tablespoons of water
   or you can use 4 tablespoons of water
1 egg yolk

Ingredients for coating
8 ounces dark chocolate

Procedure
In the top bowl of a double boiler, melt together the chocolate, butter, and your liquids. Keep the water in the double boiler at a gentle simmer. When everything is melted and incorporated, remove the chocolate mixture from heat, and whisk in the egg yolk. Pour your filling mixture into a metal pan and put it in the refrigerator or freezer for at least one hour. Scoop the filling into little 1/2-inch diameter balls, place on a sheet pan, and then freeze. I get about 30 truffles from this recipe. You can do up to this point ahead — once they're frozen, you can move them to a bag or other container. I keep truffles in my freezer like this so I'm ready to go whenever a chocolate emergency comes up!

To finish, melt the dark chocolate, and dip each ball. You can use forks to fish them out. Place them on a sheet pan, lined with parchment, and refrigerate. And you're done!

Variations: Once you have this recipe down, you can experiment with other flavors and toppings. Some people skip the melted chocolate dip and just roll their truffles in cocoa powder (I'm always dropping my food, so I like that extra chocolate protection). Or you could roll them in powdered sugar or espresso powder. How about sprinkling a little shredded coconut on top or rolling them in finely chopped nuts before the chocolate sets? Instead of liquor you could flavor them with coffee, or tea, or a little powdered ginger, or a drop or two of orange oil. Use your imagination and let me know what you try!

Peanut Butter Truffles

This is a recipe that I adapted from The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller and Deborah Jones. I find the recipes in this book don't always work out, so I ended up tweaking this one. They're like upscale Reece's Peanut Butter Cups!

Ingredients for filling
5 ounces dark chocolate, cut into small chunks
2 ounces white chocolate, cut into small chunks
2 cups peanut butter (I use creamy, not hippy-dippy)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Ingredients for coating
16 ounces dark chocolate, cut into small chunks

Procedure
In the top bowl of a double boiler, melt together the dark and white chocolate. Keep the water in the double boiler at a gentle simmer. When everything is melted and incorporated, remove the chocolate mixture from heat and let cool. This filling mixture is very soft — you really need to let the chocolate cool. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, mix the peanut butter, sugar, and salt until completely incorporated, about 1 minute. Add your cooled chocolate and blend well, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed. With the processor running, add the butter a few small pieces at a time. Let it blend in completely before adding more. Pour your filling mixture into a metal pan and put it in the freezer — if you put it in the fridge, it will never get hard enough to scoop. Scoop the filling into little 1/2-inch diameter balls, place on a sheet pan, and then freeze. This recipe will make at least 50 truffles!

To finish, melt the dark chocolate, and dip each ball. Place them on a sheet pan, lined with parchment, and refrigerate. How about a little sprinkle of fleur de sel salt on top? How could that be bad?

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