December 18, 2013

Making Chocolate Truffles

I've been watching too many cooking shows lately. Because of this, my urge to experiment in the kitchen had worsened to the point that I just had to go to town and buy ingredients. I went crazy in a local baking supplies store yesterday because I wanted to make truffles. The finished product is in the photo above. (The shape isn't that perfect, unfortunately, but not bad for a first-timer, eh?)

What I like about truffles is that you only need a few ingredients. I used cream, bittersweet chocolate, butter, vanilla extract and powdered cocoa. Except for the chocolate, these ingredients are readily available in our kitchen. Of course, the toppings are optional. Traditional truffles are usually dusted with cocoa.

If you decide to make your own batch, I'm warning you in advance that it's going to be really messy. However, the satisfaction you get after preparing your own chocolate is worth it. I suggest you try even just once.

Chocolate Truffle Recipe

225 grams of bittersweet chocolate (chopped/cut into small pieces)
1 Tbsp of butter
1/2 cup of cream
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
Cocoa powder for dusting

1. Set up your double boiler. Heat the cream. Stir constantly.
2. Add butter and vanilla extract. Stir.
3. Add the chocolate pieces just before the cream comes to a boil. Make sure to stir well until the mixture is smooth.
4. Set aside the mixture. Allow to cool. Refrigerate until firm enough to work it. This could take two hours to overnight, depending on the chocolate that was used.
5. Prepare your workstation. (I rolled my chocolate on aluminum foil). Dust it with cocoa powder. Take a teaspoonful of the chocolate and drop it on the cocoa powder. Roll into desired shape.
6. (optional, though recommended for this recipe) Also, to give your truffles a nice shell, melt another batch of bittersweet chocolate and dip each truffle in it. Use nuts, sprinkles or mini marshmallows as toppings. Make sure to add them while the chocolate coating hasn't hardened yet.

Here are a few things that I learned while making them:
  • Melt your chocolate with care. Be sure not to overheat it. Once you do, you get a grainy brown lump instead of silky smooth chocolate.
  • All-purpose cream is different from whipping cream. The latter has a higher amount of butter fat. I used the former for this recipe, so the chocolate was a little difficult to work with. (This is why the chocolate coating is a must.)
  • Keep all your utensils dry when working with melted chocolate. A drop of water could ruin it.
  • Choose good quality chocolate as your base. If you work with chocolate that's already great on its own, then your finished product will be just as tasty.
  • Practice makes perfect. Don't expect your first batch to come out flawless. Take it as a learning experience. If possible, work with a smaller amount first to get the hang of it.

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