Christmas Day is here , and I finally have a chance to sit down and blog again. Things have been crazy, between work and getting ready for Christmas. I did manage to find some time to make truffles to give to friends, neighbours and co-workers as gifts.
I had to buy the chocolate I needed, but I used items in my pantry to guide the flavour profile and outside coating of each truffle. I used some of my coconut and the last tablespoon of rum to make a white chocolate truffle with rum and toasted coconut; vanilla chai tea to make a milk chocolate truffle, rolled in milk chocolate shavings; my ancho chili powder to make a chili chocolate truffle, which I finished off with a spiced cocoa.
Truffles have a basic base recipe, and then you can take them in any direction you choose, based on available pantry items. I will discuss this more at the end of the blog.
To make the base for the white chocolate truffles, melt in a double boiler:
12 ounces chopped white chocolate
1 tablespoon rum
1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon whipping cream
Keep the water at a simmer, and stir often, removing the bowl from the heat when the chocolate has melted.
When the mixture is smooth, pour it into a container, and allow it to cool before covering and refrigerating overnight.
To make the milk chocolate truffles, infuse the Chai tea into the whipping cream, by heating:
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons dried Chai tea blend
Once the whipping cream has scalded, turn off the heat and allow the tea to infuse for at least 30 minutes. Strain the tea blend from the cream.
Add enough whipping cream to make sure that you have 1/2 cup of cream.
As with the white chocolate truffles, melt in a double boiler:
12 ounces chopped milk chocolate
1/2 cup Chai infused whipping cream
When the chocolate is melted, pour the truffle mix into a container and allow it to cool before covering and refrigerating overnight.
For the dark chocolate truffles, melt in a double boiler:
10 ounces chopped dark chocolate
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ancho chili
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
As with the white and milk chocolate truffles, when the truffle base is smooth, pour it into a container and allow it to cool before covering and refrigerating overnight.
Prepare the coatings for the truffles:
Using a vegetable peeler, shave the outside edges of the milk chocolate to make shavings.
Lightly toast coconut at 325F, stirring often as it tends to cook faster around the edges and can burn easily. Allow to cool completely once it has toasted.
For the dark chocolate truffle coating, sift together:
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of ancho chili
The same process is used for rolling all of the truffles.
Use a spoon to scoop some of the truffle mix from the container. I usually weigh mine at 1/2 ounce each, but the size can be as big as you choose.
Form the truffle mix into rough ball shapes and set on a plate or baking tray.
Roll each ball into a ball; they do not have to be perfectly round.
Place the balls into the appropriate coating and gently roll around until it is well coated.
Remove and place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
- As I mentioned, there is a basic truffle recipe, which can then be altered by the addition of different flavourings. As both white and milk chocolate tend to be softer, they require less whipping cream to chocolate than dark chocolate does. My base recipe for dark chocolate truffles is 10 ounces of chocolate to 3/4 cup whipping cream. For both white and milk chocolate I like to use a base recipe of 12 ounces of chocolate to 1/2 cup of whipping cream.
- If you choose to use a liquid flavouring such as strong coffee or liqueur, subtract that from the amount of whipping cream...this will keep the ratio of chocolate to liquid consistent. Either use strong instant coffee or espresso for maximum coffee flavour. Any liqueur can be used, as well as rum, brandy or whiskey.
- Additions such as citrus zest, dried spices (cinnamon, chilies, star anise, five spice to name a few options), or extracts such as vanilla, almond or peppermint can be added directly into the mix during melting.
- Chopped dried fruit such as cranberries, cherries or blueberries can be soaked in juice, liqueur or tea before being added into the truffle mix after the chocolate has melted. Be sure to strain off as much liquid as possible...the strained liquid can be used as part of the whipping cream for the truffle base.
- Nut butters such as peanut or almond can be added in during the melting stage. Use 1 tablespoon per recipe.
- Candied ginger can be finely chopped and mixed in.
- Toasted and chopped nuts can either be folded into the truffle mix, or used to coat the truffles in after they have been rolled into balls.
- The cream can be infused with loose leaf teas, fresh herbs, lavender blossoms, coffee beans or fresh ginger.
- The truffles can be formed into balls and frozen; defrost before rolling in the coating of your choice.
- Some coating options include cocoa, plain or sifted with icing sugar and spices; toasted and chopped nuts; toasted coconut; chocolate shavings; dipped into melted chocolate; coarse sugar; finely chopped caramel or praline.
- To make a salted caramel truffle, first make a caramel sauce by caramelizing 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water. When you have a deep amber colour, add in 3/4 cup of whipping cream and stir over a low heat until the caramel is melted. Measure out enough caramel sauce to use as the whipping cream in the recipe. Add sea salt during the melting step of the recipe. Start with 1/2 teaspoon and adjust according to taste.
- Truffles make great Christmas gifts, hostess gifts, bite sized desserts for a party. They will keep in the fridge for about a week, and will keep frozen for a few months, if well sealed.