Friday, March 25, 2011

Truffles Truffles ~ The Chocolate Ones

 Truffles are so much fun to make and I always make a mess. Chocolate ends up all over my face and arms. It gets all over the stove and floor and I'll be cleaning it up for days; not to mention the stains I'll never get out of my kitchen towels!  But oh that creamy silky delicious sensation ~ a party in your mouth ~is so worth it.

The recipe I used here is based on a recipe by Pierre Herme but I prefer a touch less butter than he uses.  I love the creamy smooth texture but I also love the flavor of Mast Brothers Chocolate and I find the full amount of butter diminishes the flavor of the chocolate.  So the next time I make this recipe I will reduce the amount of butter by half an ounce. I know that doesn't seem like a lot but I will test it until I find the right amount to reduce. But don't get me wrong, this recipe is the ultimate to get that silky smooth texture you want in a truffle filling.  The key to flavor is using the chocolate you like best.

Mast Brothers makes different chocolate based on the region the chocolate beans come from.  The one I love the most is made from cocoa beans grown in the Dominican Republic, hence it is called Dominican Republic. As far as I'm concerned this is my favorite, the best bar of pure chocolate I've ever eaten. The tangy citrusy floral notes are so intense and the finish so long it's a burst of happiness in your mouth. I love eating this, chewing some or just letting it melt in my mouth! Mast Brothers also lists the flavor of tobacco in the Dominican.  I think the taste is more of terroir meaning the flavor of the soil it's grown in.

They also make their signature Brooklyn Blend which is a combination of the Dominican Republic and Madagascar.  This combination is unique in that it brings the best of each creating a complex flavor of tangy floral fruit, citrus, terroir and of course chocolate notes. I love this chocolate.  I think it's a great combination which makes it very usable in all applications.  For me I like the combination of using both the Dominican and the Madagascar; one for the truffle filling and the other for the outer coating.  The Brooklyn Blend is also great for making Hot Chocolate.

Before I found Mast Brothers I was using Amano Madagascar for my hot chocolate, the flavor was outstanding.  I've never tasted a Madagascar since  that has that amazing tang until the Dominican Republic from Mast Brothers.

The Amano is roasted and made in Utah (that's great for the locals there).  The Mast Brothers is made right here in Brooklyn, New York,  my favorite food town on the East Coast! I'm so proud the Mast Brothers are making their chocolate here!

Please don't look so closely at my photos! The chocolates definitely need some work.  If you look you'll notice the little air holes which shouldn't be there. All the same they taste amazing and yours will too! Just use your favorite chocolate and you'll be very happy with the taste.

The Recipe, adapted from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme

In a metal or glass bowl that can withstand heat place:
9 ounces of chopped I prefer Mast Brothers Chocolate

Set aside:
1 1/4 ounces of unsalted room temperature butter cut into 4 pieces (the butter must be at room temperature or it will not mix in properly) also the original recipe called for 1 3/4 ounces or 3 1/2 tablespoons.

Bring to a boil:
1 cup of heavy cream (you cannot substitute milk and get the same results)

Pour the hot cream onto the chopped chocolate and let it sit for about 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula gently stir the cream into the chocolate until the ganache is smooth and homogeneous. Let rest for 1 more minute and then add the butter 2 pieces at a time. Mix gently until the butter is completely blended into the chocolate.

If you are going to scoop hand rolled truffles put the mixture into the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Or if you are using a mold you can pour the mixture into the chocolate coated mold.

For chocolate molds gently melt enough chocolate to coat the insides until the chocolate is just body temperature and can easily be poured  into the molds.  Rotate the mold making sure to coat all the nooks and crannies.  Then turn the mold upside down over a rack on parchment so any excess drips out.  Then put the mold in the refrigerator to set the chocolate. When set remove from the refrigerator and pour the ganache in, then scrape any excess off with an offset spatula. Return to the refrigerator until firm. 

Melt some additional chocolate to seal the truffles again scraping any excess off the mold with an offset spatula.  Any extra chocolate can be reused for a filling, a cake or hot chocolate! When the chocolates are firm turn the mold upside down and gently tap the truffles out of the mold. (in some cases you may have to bang the mold but they will all eventually pop out).

If you're making hand rolled truffles you want the ganache to be firm enough to scoop but not so soft that it's mushy. So, you've got two choices. The first is to use a teaspoon or melon baller.  The second is to invest in a small stainless steel scoop also sold on Amazon. I have several scoops in different sizes. That's how all your cookies and chocolate truffles can all be the same size.

Scoop some ganache into the scoop and then using your finger or the back of a knife or a small offset spatula scrape off the excess so the back is flat. Squeezing the handles together will release the truffle from the scoop. You will be left with a dome that has a flat edge.  You can leave this shape or roll each one into a ball. Have a space in your refrigerator if they get too soft and you need to firm up the ganache again.  Once you have scooped all your truffles (optional to roll them into balls using your palms) toss them into some cocoa powder. I prefer the Valrhona Cocoa Powder it's got a great taste, it's easy to get and the color is magnificent.   Michel Cluizel is another, though on the expensive side. Try what you have and see if you like it.

If you keep them for several days before serving them you may want to toss them in cocoa again.  They should be stored in the refrigerator. To serve remove them from the refrigerator 2 hours before eating.

Have fun and enjoy.

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