Monday, April 25, 2011

Bittersweet Truffles



My favorite food: dark chocolate. In bite size form. Covered with my favorite food decoration: sprinkles.

I made truffles over Christmas but was frustrated after dipping them in a melted chocolate coating and then trying to roll them in sprinkles/nuts/etc. Contrary to what many recipes might tell you, this doesn't work. You just get a gooey chocolately mess of sprinkles.

So this time I skipped the melted chocolate coating and went straight to sprinkles with very colorful results!



Making the ganache couldn't be easier. I heated 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 9 Tbs of butter (yes, nine! But it makes a ton of truffles) in a saucepan until it just started to boil. Then I poured the hot cream mixture over a bowl of bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate chips and stirred until melted.

To half of it I added a couple teaspoons of espresso powder and to the other half a couple teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice (nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, allspice) to taste.



Cover the ganache(s) and place them in the fridge or freezer to set. I left mine for an hour in the fridge and then another hour in the freezer to speed up the process. You want it to be pretty firm for scooping, so feel free to refrigerate it overnight.



Using a melon baller or ice cream scoop, dig out tablepoons of the ganache and place on wax paper. Don't worry too much about the shape - that comes next.

Now roll each chocolate glob into a ball. The main challenge here is finding just the right temperature so that this actually works. Too warm and they will just melt all over your hands; too cold and you won't be able to really change the shape into a smooth sphere. I found that by doing a rough roll for all of them first and then coming back to roll them again, they got to the right temperature.



Now for toppings. I knew I wanted to use cocoa powder and crushed peanuts, along with a few kinds of sprinkles. Turns out, I have more than a few sprinkle varieties.



After I took this picture I discovered two other bottles of sprinkles in the pantry. I may have a problem.

I eventually settled on 3 or 4 colors, including a mini Easter mix, which is pastel bunnies, chicks, and eggs. I ground about 1/2 cup of lightly salted peanuts in my food processor until pretty fine so that it would adhere well to the chocolate.



I love any excuse to use my little heart bowls. Turns out they were the perfect vehicle for holding sprinkles and rolling truffles around in them!



The best technique here is to roll the truffle briefly in your palms to make sure it's a little sticky, then place in a small bowl of sprinkles, cocoa, etc. Then shake the bowl gently back and forth to cover the truffle, turning it over with your fingers if necessary.



Okay, so I might have used more than 4 kinds of sprinkles. I just couldn't decide. Above are the espresso truffles and below are the spiced ones.

I brought these Saturday night to a friend's wine tasting birthday party and they were the perfect treat paired with a glass of Malbec. And since they're so dark and rich, having only one or two is pretty satisfying (I added up the caloric value, and each of these truffles only came to about 40 calories! That's based on using this recipe to make 80 truffles.)



Easy, impressive, tasty, and a great way to use 15 kind of sprinkles.

Oh, and p.s. keep these in the fridge so they don't turn into goo balls.

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