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Truffles Times Three

December 15, 2008

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First of all, I just have to thank everyone for all their kind and enthusiastic comments about the pumpkin spice scones.  It seems there are quite a few fellow scone-lovers out there, and I’m so happy to know that a few of you have tried the recipe and liked them!

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I don’t know what’s gotten into me the past few days, but I think I’ve just been inspired by the holiday cheer — I had an über-productive weekend this past weekend! Yeah!!! What a great feeling. I caffeinated myself up, strapped on my apron, slipped into my comfortable kitchen shoes and spent the days finishing up some hand-made gifts and edible treats to send to family and friends for Christmas. Besides the fact that I just revel in being able to craft something homemade and delicious for people I care about, I also have serious love for pretty gift packaging. (For those of you who are similarly enamored, Martha Stewart has a great line of gift packaging for edible treats; I found a bunch of great boxes, labels, and – best of all – ribbon tape!!! at Michael’s last week. Where have I been that I didn’t know ribbon tape existed?! What a fantastic idea.)

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I made a batch of almond biscotti and chocolate walnut biscotti, and packaged them up in various shaped boxes lined with parchment paper. Biscotti are great to give as gifts! They keep for a long time, I’ve never met anyone that doesn’t like them, and they ship well.

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And what better to accompany some crunchy biscotti than some rich, decadent homemade vanilla bean hot chocolate mix? (Recipe to come later this week.)

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Or maybe your gift recipient would rather snack on something buttery, sweet and a little salty? This chocolate peanut toffee was addictive (I had to sample some, of course.) Recipe also to come this week!

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I also finished up some earrings I made for gifts…

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…and a pair of mosaic votive candle holders…

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…and I couldn’t resist using the jar of candy canes I had in some peppermint bark, after seeing Jen’s post about it…

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…and finally, TRUFFLES. Mmmmmmmm. This is my first year tackling chocolate truffles as gifts. Growing up, one of the traditions that “Santa” would leave in our stockings were a box of Godiva chocolate truffles, and perhaps because of this, good-quality chocolate truffles are one of my favorite sweets. I’m afraid I’m a bit of a chocolate truffle snob, though; I would rather not have one than have a sub-par truffle. I like them intense: the darker the better, not super sweet, rich, and made with great quality chocolate. And, with none of that greasy mouthfeel that some (*cough* Lindt *cough*) truffles have.

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I happened to be in a little market near our house the other day and noticed that they carried Callebaut chocolate in bulk – lucky me!!! I think if you’re going to make chocolate truffles, it’s important to use good quality chocolate – there’s only cream, chocolate, and maybe a little flavoring liqueur or spice in there, so good chocolate makes all the difference.

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And really, they’re quite easy to make (if you opt to just roll them in cocoa powder or some other coating versus enrobing them in tempered chocolate) — you just put together a ganache, flavor it however you like, let the ganache chill and then scoop it into balls. A spring-loaded cookie dough scoop helps speed the process along when you scoop.

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With my Callebaut loot, I decided to make:

1. Espresso truffles, with bittersweet chocolate and some espresso powder, rolled in some velvety Dutch-process cocoa powder…

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2. Hazelnut truffles, made with a mix of bittersweet and milk chocolate, flavored with organic hazelnut extract, and rolled in chopped toasted hazelnuts

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and…

3. Gingerbread truffles! The ganache for these was made with bittersweet and white chocolate, and the cream that I used was steeped with whole allspice berries, whole cloves, molasses, cinnamon, and grated ginger. They taste just like gingerbread! Deeee-licious. I dusted the tops of each with a little cinnamon.

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I felt ambitious when making these and decided to enrobe them in some bittersweet chocolate. I tried tempering the chocolate that I was using for enrobing, but when I cooled it down to around 95 degrees, it was super thick – a little too thick to drape nicely over the ganache ball. It kind of made a thick mangled mess instead – not the vision of elegant chocolate truffle that I was imagining (if anyone out there is a chocolate tempering expert, please let me know what I could do differently!) So after those first few weren’t quite to my liking, I gently heated the chocolate up again (microwaving it at 50% power for 30 second intervals until it reached the desired temp) and instead followed the directions in the original recipe, which had me cool the melted enrobing chocolate to 115 degrees, then dip each ball, lift it out on a fork, and shake off the excess by rapping the fork against the side of the bowl. It worked out fine, as far as I could tell -  no grainy/grey/streaked chocolate. They turned out pretty well, overall; some were a little less smooth than others, but they all taste delicious!

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Into the  pretty boxes I packaged them; one of each kind in each little box. Each box was wrapped with a strip of ribbon tape (pretty!), and topped with a label.

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They’ll be shipping out this week! I did save a few for B and I, too…they’ll be lovely treats, maybe with a glass of wine, as we gaze at our twinkly, sparkly Christmas tree and listen to Ella croon some Christmas jazz!

More recipes for edible gifts to come!

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Gingerbread Truffles

Adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2005

The original recipe had crystallized ginger in it, but I left that out as I didn’t want the ginger flavor to be too overpowering. Also, I increased the amount of cream slightly to a standard 2:1 chocolate to cream ratio for ganache. The resulting filling was, I think, the perfect consistency.

view printable recipe

Ingredients
8 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 oz good quality white chocolate, chopped
8 oz (1 cup) heavy cream
10 whole allspice berries
10 whole cloves
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh gingerroot (it’s easy to do this on a microplane grater)

16 oz (1 pound) good quality bittersweet chocolate, melted to 115 degrees, for enrobing

cinnamon, for dusting

Directions

Heat the cream with the allspice berries, cloves, molasses, cinnamon, sea salt, and grated ginger in a small saucepan. When it reaches a boil, turn off the heat and let it steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, chop the bittersweet and white chocolate and place in a large heatproof bowl.

When the cream has steeped for an hour, briefly heat it back up to a simmer then pour it through a fine-mesh seive over the chopped chocolate. Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes, so the chocolate will soften and melt. Stir with a spatula gently until all the chocolate has melted and the ganache mixture is smooth and glossy. Chill the ganache for 3 hours so it firms up before scooping it.

After 3 hours, scoop the ganache into 1-inch balls, using either a spoon, a spring-loaded cookie dough scoop, or a melon baller. Place the balls on a  parchment-lined sheet pan, and chill overnight.

The next day, melt 16 oz bittersweet chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Take the bowl off the heat, let the chocolate cool to 115 degrees F, then begin the process of enrobing the truffles: place a ball in the chocolate, use a fork to gently turn it so it gets fully coated, then lift it out of the ganache with the fork, tapping the side of the fork on the edge of the bowl to remove any excess melted chocolate. Place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. The chocolate will start to set up pretty quickly, so have your ground cinnamon nearby – sprinkle  just a little on the top of each truffle.

Chill the enrobed truffles in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, to harden fully.

Makes about 32 truffles.

Espresso Dark Chocolate Truffles

view printable recipe

Ingredients
16 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 oz (1 cup) heavy cream
2 tablespoons espresso powder
unsweetened cocoa powder, for rolling

Directions

Chop the bittersweet chocolate and place it in a large heatproof bowl.

In a small saucepan, heat the cream with the espresso powder until it reaches a boil. Once it reaches a boil, pour it over the chopped chocolate. Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes, so the chocolate will soften and melt. Stir with a spatula gently until all the chocolate has melted and the ganache mixture is smooth and glossy. Chill the ganache for 3 hours so it firms up before scooping it.

After 3 hours, scoop the ganache into 1-inch balls, using either a spoon, a spring-loaded cookie dough scoop, or a melon baller. Place the balls on a  parchment-lined sheet pan, and chill overnight.

The next day, roll each ball in cocoa powder.

Makes about 32 truffles.

Hazelnut Truffles

view printable recipe

Ingredients
8 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 oz good quality milk chocolate, chopped
8 oz (1 cup) heavy cream
1 tablespoon hazelnut extract or Frangelico liqueur
chopped toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped (for coating)

Directions

Chop the bittersweet chocolate and place it in a large heatproof bowl.

In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it reaches a boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the hazelnut extract or Frangelico. Once it reaches a boil, pour it over the chopped chocolate. Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes, so the chocolate will soften and melt. Stir with a spatula gently until all the chocolate has melted and the ganache mixture is smooth and glossy. Chill the ganache for 3 hours so it firms up before scooping it.

After 3 hours, scoop the ganache into 1-inch balls, using either a spoon, a spring-loaded cookie dough scoop, or a melon baller. Place the balls on a  parchment-lined sheet pan, and chill overnight.

The next day, roll each ball in chopped toasted hazelnuts.

Makes about 32 truffles.

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26 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2008 6:46 pm

    Wow!! You have been busy – this is an impressive and beautiful array of goodies!!!!!

  2. December 15, 2008 8:40 pm

    Wow…you really did have a busy weekend! Everything looks absolutely amazing :)

  3. December 15, 2008 9:33 pm

    Holy cow! Awesome job!! It looks so very impressive!!

  4. December 15, 2008 9:43 pm

    so, you know you want to send me a little package!!! those gifts look better than some of the storebought ones.

  5. December 15, 2008 11:08 pm

    oh my gosh, holy cow. i’m completely jealous of your skills!!! my homemade goodies were send out… dare i say it… in old yogurt/cottage cheese containers! *hangs head in shame* it was my first time, i’ll do better next year, i swear!!

  6. December 16, 2008 5:03 am

    You have been busy! I am really impressed – you must be the greatest friend to have ever! lol

  7. December 16, 2008 7:11 am

    ahhh i love it! i couldn’t imagine getting all those goodies!! the earrings you made are super cute too!

  8. December 16, 2008 10:51 am

    You’re very talented! All of those crafts and baked goods look fabulous. I would love one of those truffles! :)

  9. Betsy permalink
    December 16, 2008 10:57 am

    Those truffles look DELICIOUS – I can’t wait to try them! You really did have an amazingly productive weekend – I love how the votives came out too! In response to Elin’s comment, I can attest that you definitely are one of the greatest friends to have :)

  10. December 16, 2008 5:58 pm

    Can we be best friends? Please?

    Those truffles look amazing, and I think I’ll give them a go for this Christmas – thanks for posting all the recipes!

  11. December 16, 2008 6:21 pm

    sue bette, whitneyinchicago, nikkiglad – thanks! :)

    Amanda – thanks; you’re sweet!

    ttfn300 – I’m sure your gifts were lovely, too! Hey, you work with what you’ve got. :) I just have an addiction to those little martha stewart boxes…what can I say?

    elin – aw, thanks. :)

    natalie – thanks; I was really happy with how the earrings came out. I even kept a pair for myself. ;)

    Hillary – thank you! You should definitely try the truffles; if you skip the enrobing step, they’re easy!

    Betsy – no, YOU’RE one of the greatest friends to have! :) You really are. Can’t wait to see you guys hopefully soon. XOXO!

    kimberleyblue – great! Good luck and I hope you enjoy the truffles!

  12. December 16, 2008 8:28 pm

    I made truffles this year to give out as gifts for the first time myself this year. Mine didn’t go as smoothly as yours…but they still turned out yummy. I’ll be writing a post about it later this week. Love the gingerbread truffle idea!

  13. December 17, 2008 7:44 am

    I share your love for chocolate truffles! I made four flavors this year (down from 6 in the past… I just couldn’t narrow down my options!). Anyway, my post will be up in about a week or so. I need to get through some finals, but I’d love it if you check it out! I too used Callebaut this year, which worked like a DREAM! I also cover mine in tempered Ghiridelli, which I haven’t always been pleased with. I’ll talk more about it in my post.

    Great job, and happy eating!

    PS. I love your boxes and I may steal your idea next year! Oh… and the gingerbread recipe too!

  14. December 17, 2008 4:13 pm

    wow! can i get a gift from you!?!? ;) these are gorgeous! and the packaging is so lovely. i’m sure these were super tasty. i love the gingerbread ones! i have a sister in law that would die for them!

  15. December 17, 2008 11:55 pm

    You are my hero. I was just looking for a good truffle recipe for holiday gifts!

  16. ChrispyBakes permalink
    December 19, 2008 3:09 pm

    Amy,

    So, I reallyreallyreally wanna make the gingerbread truffles, and I was wondering, since I don’t have molasses (and don’t really wanna get a whole thing just for a tablespoon worth), can I sub in sorghum (which I do have a big jar of)? Or would that taste too weird?

  17. December 19, 2008 4:36 pm

    katie – they make really special gifts!

    Bronwyn – the boxes really made the gifts look special; glad you liked that idea!

    heather – thanks!

    Kaci – great! Hope you like this one.

    ChrispyBakes – I actually have never tried sorghum, so I’m not sure how the taste compares to molasses? I think, at worst case, you’d just have a slightly less “gingerbready” taste, but you could always increase the amount of ginger in the cream infusion, or include the crystallized ginger that was in the original recipe (which I left out), but either way, I think it would still taste pretty close to the original, since you have the other spices in there, too. Let me know how they turn out!

  18. ChrispyBakes permalink
    December 19, 2008 4:40 pm

    Mmm. I’m too timid to just jump out and try it. I’ll buy molasses. Thanks! :)

  19. December 20, 2008 3:33 pm

    Oh, to be the recipient of some of these tasty treats! Wonderful baking and packaging!!

  20. December 20, 2008 8:24 pm

    Okay, so I plan on gifting these for Christmas to a whole slew of people and I was just wondering…

    How long do you think these little truffle guys will last? If I made them tomorrow (Sunday, December 21), do you think they’d last until Friday, December 26? I assume they won’t last much longer than that… I know I’d eat mine immediately! :)

  21. December 21, 2008 4:47 pm

    WOW! Everything came out FABULOUS! Those gingerbread truffles sound sooooooooo GOOD! You did an impressive job. My “dipping” skills leave a lot to be desired!
    ~ingrid

  22. jayme permalink
    December 30, 2008 3:02 pm

    I went on a baking frenzy partly due to these truffle recipes! I made the espresso and gingerbread truffles and they turned out GREAT! My personal favorite was the gingerbread. Such a unique flavor for a truffle. It was super easy to enrobe them, and they looked so professional with the cinnamon sprinkled on top.

    For my espresso truffles, I rolled them in powdered sugar since, for some reason I couldn’t find my cocoa powder! Of course it turned up later, but they still tasted great with the powdered sugar coating. :)

  23. Janis permalink
    April 6, 2009 12:54 am

    Hi, they look so lovely and i’m drooling now…yum yum. do you need to put them in the fridge after making them?
    thanks.

  24. April 6, 2009 6:53 am

    Janis – yes, I usually store them in the fridge to firm up after I finish them. Take them out about half an hour or more before you plan to serve them.

  25. Michelle permalink
    April 26, 2009 11:37 am

    Hi, just saw these amazing looking truffles, can’t wait to try.
    did you get those great boxes and placards at Michaels? i did not see them at Martha’s website.
    And you did a great job at dipping them into chocolate as well, they look top-notch pro.

  26. lazyllama27 permalink
    June 29, 2010 8:15 pm

    Everything looks so delicious here! I was wondering how you made those votives. They are so gorgeous!

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