Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sweetie sweets: chocolate truffles

I had intended to post this prior to Valentine’s day, but one thing led to another and I didn’t end up having time. Let this therefore be an idea for next year, or even better, a gift idea for a random expression of love!

I love Valentine’s day. I know some people think it’s a commercial, Hallmark holiday. Not me. I love having a day assigned to expressing and celebrating love. I don’t need flowers or presents, just an excuse to have a nice dinner date, and perhaps to bake something sweet.

Coincident with the holiday, R decided he’d like a cooking project and offered to help with whatever I had planned for the week. Perfect time to try the truffle recipe that I’ve been eyeing in the Tartine cookbook I blogged about here. The recipe looked simple enough, and contains very few ingredients, all of which I had on hand (except of course the pretty little boxes and wrappers that truffles demand). One of the nicest things about the recipe is that it’s basic. No exotic flavors. No lavender. No cardamom. Just chocolate. That’s just the way I like my chocolate: pure and unadulterated.

The truffles were divine. Smooth, silky and creamy. As I am writing this I had to jump up and pop one in my mouth as just thinking about it made me want one immediately!

The recipe suggests that you allow the chocolate mixture to cool and firm up, and then pipe it into inch thick logs on a baking sheet, allow it to firm more in the refrigerator, and then cut the logs into inch pieces that you roll in your palms to get an uneven ball. All of that is well and good, except if your baking partner falls asleep after they’ve been put into the refrigerator, and you lose track of time. If left to cool too long, you risk ending up with logs that are too firm to be coaxed into balls. I was on the verge of the point of no return when I rescued them. I used a couple of paper towels and my fingertips (vs. my palms) to roll them since the heat of my hands started to make them melt on the outside. The paper towel looked like evidence that a chocolate murder had occurred, but it worked. You can skip the piping method altogether and just scoop balls out of the firm truffle mixture. This would probably result in more even, less traditionally shaped truffles, but I might try that method the next time out of convenience.

Save this for next year or use this as an excuse to spread the love any time!

P.s. I am helping a friend with a photo collaboration project (Sea and Sky Journal) this week (My involvement started yesterday). It's a daily diptych using one of her photos, and one of someone else's (unplanned). It's pretty neat. To check it out, click here.

Chocolate Truffles (from Tartine by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson)
(yield: about 60 1-inch truffles)

1 lb bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp light corn syrup
5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
~1 cup cocoa powder

Place chocolate in a heatproof mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, combine the cream and corn syrup and heat to just under a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute or two. Stir with a rubber spatula in a circular motion until the chocolate has melted. Add the butter and stir until it is incorporated. Let the mixture firm up in a cool place until it can be piped from a pastry bag. The amount of time for the mixture to become firm depends on how cool the room is. Or, place in the refrigerator to speed the process.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch (no 6 or 7) plain tip. Pipe out long logs abut 1 inch wide. Place in the refrigerator and chill well, about 1 hour. If you don't have a pastry bag and tip, you can leave the mixture in the bowl in the refrigerator until well chilled.

Remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator and cut logs crosswise into pieces about 1 inch long. Roll each piece between your palms into an irregularly shaped truffle. If you have left the mixture in the bowl, use a small scoop or spoon to scoop out each truffle and then roll between your palms. Once the truffles are shaped, place the cocoa powder in a shallow bowl and roll each truffle in the cocoa, coating evenly.

The truffles will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.

15 comments:

Annemarie said...

Beautiful boxing up and beautiful truffles. And what nice straight teeth you seem to have, too. :)

Catchall Fan in Brooklyn said...

Love blues and browns as relate to chocolate. Dusting the slate surface is clever for tone and texture. Never tried truffles, great to have a recipe on hand.

robin from 'caviar and codfish' said...

Wow, these look gorgeous! I love the bite marks I can see in the truffle, oh my, I'm so tempted to jump up and make these right now! Don't think I'll be waiting until next Valentine's Day. :)

Peter G said...

Stunning Sabra! Not only are truffles so extravagant but you have presented them so beautifully. Absolutely stunning.

Gigi said...

You take the most stunning photos! I swear the truffle recipe will be made many times before the next Valentine's Day!

linda said...

They look very pretty and tempting in their box.

amy said...

The packaging is quite beautiful but the truffles are the decadent star of this post. Please save one for me. I am begging you.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I'm jealous of the lucky person who'll get this magnificent box of truffles... :)

amy said...

Well Patricia, that would be me - I was lucky enough to get one of the boxes. My box looks exactly like the picture with 9 magnificent truffles inside, each in their own little paper cup. During my taxi ride home from dinner, I had to open the box to inhale the aroma of these little darlings. As you might imagine, I couldn't resist tasting just one. I ate the first one in 2 careful bites. I ate the second one immediately thereafter in only one bite. Eventually, I was able to exercise restraint but the creamy texture and perfect sweetness were nearly too much for my will power. It wasn't until I was in my apartment, having passed by the doorman, other building staff, and neighbors that I realized the cocoa powder had left evidence of my taxi cab tasting. It looked like I had smeared it around my mouth. I looked like an idiot and it was completely worth it!

Aamena said...

wow! i have always wanted to make truffles...

Katy said...

There is no way those truffles will last two weeks!!! They will be eaten the moment anyone lays eyes on them. :-)

skrockodile said...

Thanks everyone for all the comments (and follow-up comments : )), I've really been enjoying them. This was truly a winner recipe - hope you try it. My mother suggested an alternative for piping the chocolate based on something she saw on Barefoot Contessa: using a melon baller dipped in hot water to scoop the chocolate into balls - I bet that would work really well and it would turn an easy recipe into a really simple one.
annemarie: years of braces : )
Thanks for all the comments on the photos and presentation

canarygirl said...

Oooooh, these look SO delicious!!! (I tried the melon baller idea with my almond joy truffles...didn't work out so well. :P lol Maybe I just messed it up, though...wouldn't be the first time) Beautiful, gorgeous photos and presentation, my dear! :)

clhsketch said...

They are REALLY GOOD! Made them last night for a friend for his birthday and they came out really good. I added a little piece of pecan to the top and that added just a little extra to them. Thanks for sharing these wonderful recipes! Green Tea Ice Cream is next! Love the photos too!

Cam M. said...

Hi, I was wondering if I might use this photo? I love it...
Just wanted to ask first. Thank You & Please Advise, Cam

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