Buy It OR Try It: Valentine's Day Edition: Chocolate Truffles / by Anthony Michael Contrino

Photo by Andrea Patton Photography 

Photo by Andrea Patton Photography 

Guys, instead of running to the local big box pharmacy and purchasing a box of mediocre chocolate, make this recipe.  Not only will you get extra points, you’ll never want to eat a store-bought truffle again.  If you HAVE to purchase chocolates instead, check out the recommendations below to grab some of the best treats out there.  

Use a quality chocolate - something you have to get from a high-end supermarket or specialty cooking store, like William-Sonoma.  Chocolate chips have additives so that they keep their shape when heat is applied.  They will not work for this recipe.  Look for brands like Guittard, Cocao Barry or Callebaut.

These truffles are coated in tempered chocolate, or chocolate that has been carefully manipulated so that it sets properly - with a shiny, snappy bite.  If that’s too much for you, roll the refrigerated truffles in cocoa powder, but keep refrigerated and do not stack, as they are very fragile.

NOTE: Chocolate will not properly temper if your tools (or hands) are not bone-dry and clean.  Use extra caution when handling the chocolate.

TRY IT:

Chocolate Truffles

Makes approximately 2 dozen

 

For the Ganache:

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon golden rum

Pinch of Kosher salt

8 ounces quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces (the smaller, the better!)

1 teaspoon clover honey

 

For Tempering:

12 ounces quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces (the smaller, the better!)

Make the ganache.  Combine the chocolate and honey in a medium-sized, heat-resistant bowl.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the heavy cream, rum and salt.  Place the saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer.  Remove from the heat and pour the cream mixture over the chocolate.  Give the bowl a gentle shake to ensure all the chocolate is submerged.  Let sit for 2 minutes.  Stir with a whisk until smooth.  The chocolate should be completely melted.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, uncovered.  If you aren’t going to use the ganache on the day it was made, cover it with plastic wrap after it is set.

When the ganache is set, use your fingers (I use disposable vinyl gloves ) to scrape up a little portion of the ganache and gently roll it into a ball, approximately the size of a large cherry.  Place the finished ball on a sheet pan lined with parchment.  Continue this process until all the ganache is used up.  Refrigerate the balls.

Meanwhile, temper the chocolate by placing half of the chocolate into a heat-resistant bowl.  Microwave the chocolate for thirty seconds, then stir with a rubber spatula.  Repeat the process until half of the chocolate is melted.  Begin to stir the chocolate continually.  When all the chocolate is almost melted, begin to add small handfuls of the remaining chopped chocolate. Continue to add additional chocolate until the chocolate is almost room temperature and the newly added pieces are no longer melting.  You may have leftover chocolate.

To test your chocolate to see if it is tempered, take a small off-set spatula and smear a dab the chocolate onto a clean, smooth surface.  If it hardens within a few minutes, it’s ready!  If not, continue stirring for an additional couple of minutes and then re-test.  Tempering chocolate is a skill that can take time to master.

When your chocolate is tempered, dip the ganache balls into the chocolate until they are fully coated.  Shake off any excess ganache.  Carefully place the enrobed truffles on parchment and allow to set.  You'll have to work fast or the chocolate may set on you!  

Truffles can be stored at room temperature, gently wrapped in plastic wrap for up to a week.  Alternatively, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.  Allow refrigerated truffles to come to room temperature before serving.  If they discolor, they are still safe to eat - the moisture of the refrigerated air can cause this.


BUY IT:

•The best Manhattan has to offer, Teuscher Chocolate’s Champagne Truffles will blow you (and your wallet) away.   ///   http://www.teuscherfifthavenue.com  

•Hailing from Paris, La Maison du Chocolat has an impressive inventory.  The pralines are top notch.   ///   http://www.lamaisonduchocolat.us/us/en/