Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Blizzard and Truffles

Have you ever noticed that double consonants - as it might be "zz" or "ff" - make words look so much more interesting? Blizard and trufles don't have nearly the same oomph as their twin-consonanted counterparts.

Today we have snow both inside...


...and out.


A blizzard is sweeping across the Midwest, making it a very good day to stay home and crochet (with plenty of tea-and-truffle breaks).

Truffles have got to be one of the simplest (and best) candies ever. Just chocolate and cream, with optional flavourings of your choice, are all the ingredients you need to make these nuggets of heavenly richness and delight.


To make your own truffles, start with a 1:2 ratio of cream to chocolate. (Heavy cream and dark chocolate work best.) By 1:2 ratio, I mean 1 fluid ounce of cream for every 2 ounces by weight of chocolate. I used a half-pint (8 fluid ounces) of cream to a pound (16 ounces) of chocolate for each of my batches. You can of course use metric measurements if you like - just preserve the ratio.

A pound of chocolate, with a half-pint of cream, will yield about 35-40 1" truffles.

Note: Do NOT use "chocolate candy coating" to make truffles - it won't work. :)

Quickest Truffles:

First weigh your chocolate - break it up if necessary. I like to use good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips, with a 3.5-oz. Lindt 70% bar thrown in - this gives a dark, edgy truffle with very little sweetness. (Using all semi-sweet chocolate chips works too and gives a slightly sweeter truffle.)

Tip for breaking up a chocolate bar: Leave it in the wrapper. Place on a folded towel, and thwack it with a rolling pin. Go up and down, from end to end, in both directions. Flip it over and thwack some more.



Peel it open, and there you are:


Some recipes tell you to chop the chocolate, but I find this tedious and unnecessary. :)

Now heat your cream to boiling (in a roomy pot), then remove from heat and dump the chocolate in:


Start stirring....


It will look like gloppy chocolate milk at first, but don't give up. After a minute or two, a magical transformation begins:


Keep stirring, and soon you'll have a glossy, silky, utterly tempting pan of chocolatey goodness just begging to be tasted.


Now's the time to add any flavouring. Liqueurs and liquid extracts, such as lemon, orange, or mint, work very well. You could also use a very strong espresso, or coffee essence if you have it. Start with a little (perhaps 1/2 teaspoonful), adding more if necessary. As a conscientious cook, you'll want to taste the mixture repeatedly while stirring in the flavourings.

You can also divide your plain truffle mixture into more than one bowl, and flavour each one separately.

For this batch, I'm using peanut butter (several tablespoonsful):


That's it for the first step. Set the bowl in a cool place (a freezing porch works really well for us) and let the mixture firm up.

Slightly Fussier Method, with Infused Cream:

After weighing chocolate, place it in a heat-proof bowl and set aside. (You can if you like put the bowl in a 250º oven while the cream is heating - this will give you a head start on melting the chocolate.)

To infuse the cream, first choose your flavours. I used the zest of one orange; you could also use fresh mint leaves, whole or ground spices, or anything that takes your fancy. Place the flavouring in a pan, and pour the cream over.


Heat the cream to boiling, then pour it into your bowl of chocolate. For smooth truffles, strain out any flavouring bits.


Stir until smooth and glossy, and check flavour. (My mixture wasn't nearly orangey enough, so I added some orange extract.) When mixture is to your taste, set aside to cool.

Here are my two truffle mixtures cooling:


The peanut-butter batch is slightly gritty-looking, and the fussy orange-infused batch is satiny-smooth.  (Both taste wonderful.)

When the mixture is cool but not hard, scoop it into little lumps on a baking sheet lined with parchment, waxed paper, or silicone mat. The lumps need not be smooth - you will take care of that later.


Pop the baking sheet into the freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up the chocolate. While the lumps are firming up, get your coating ready in a small bowl.

Suggested coatings: Cocoa powder, finely grated coconut, chopped toasted nuts. (You can use sugar, but it will soak up moisture from the truffles and become sticky. Confectioner's sugar, on the other hand, will dry out and become slightly crunchy. Go figure.)

Take the baking sheet out of the freezer, and one by one, roll the truffles quickly in your hands to smooth the surface. Then drop them in the bowl of coating. You can roll the truffles in the coating, or use a small dish with a lid and shake them. Whether rolling or shaking, do 3 or 4 at a time.


My orange-infused truffles were rolled in either finely ground, unsweetened coconut, or plain cocoa powder. The peanut butter truffles were rolled in chopped toasted peanuts, and sprinkled with a tiny bit of coarse salt.


As you coat the truffles, put them right back on the baking sheet. When all are coated, chill once more until firm. Try not to sample too many. You want to share these with loved ones, right?

Store finished truffles in the refrigerator, in a sealed container. When you hear them calling your name (and they will call your name), pull out a truffle or two. Let them come up to room temperature while you make a cup of tea or coffee, then enjoy!

I will leave you with a few more snow pictures, taken this morning when the storm was still young:

Heavy-laden pine

Squirrel's eye view from the garage door -
already a good 6" deep,

and hours of snow yet to come.

Happy winter!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

38 comments:

  1. Oh my what a feast of chocolate and just perfect to be nibbling on these truffles while the snow falls. I have never had a white Christmas before and would love to just experience such intense snow. Keep lovely and cosy Mrs. M xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Penelope - the snow was lovely, though the storm was rather fierce and knocked out the electricity for many people in the state. :)

      Delete
  2. I love this combination...you are speaking my language! Love Lizz aka Astri. heehee.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great looking truffles with Swiss (!) chocolate!
    Gorgeous snow and it seems you will have a white Christmas. How lovely is that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Lindt is my favourite for any kind of recipes. And a VERY white Christmas indeed! :)

      Delete
  4. Linth is the best! Oh, I'd love to have a snow storm, but no, no white Christmas this year (which is normal). There's usually a warmer period around Christmas. Regula

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was so happy to get some snow - it's beautiful and we really need the moisture. And yes, Lindt is the very best. :)

      Delete
  5. Oh wow! Love the dessert and the snow in the first pictures!wow and wow! also, your recipes are so nice:) looking yumm!want to try it out;)Have a lovely day! Anna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anna - truffles are very easy. I think you would like them! You could add some very interesting spices to yours - perhaps cardamom? :)

      Delete
  6. Thanks for the recipe - truffles are just plain delicious!
    So much snow - how many inches or feet will fall before it slows down?
    Happy Weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we got at least 14" - other parts of the state got 20". Thanks Deborah!

      Delete
  7. Can't even THINK about truffles.

    But love your snow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, Auntie ... the whole time I was writing the post I was thinking "Auntie will tell me she can't have these."

      Seriously? No fat at all? Not even some good dark chocolate sans cream? It's full of antioxidants, you know.... :)

      Delete
  8. The truffles look so delish.
    The snow is pretty, we got snow last night but it barely covered the grass.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was hoping Illinois would get some of the snowy bounty, but it seemed to stay north of you. The truffles are delish! :)

      Delete
  9. Brr!!!!! You need some Irish coffee to go with the truffle which look heavenly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tea for me, but Mr. M would probably enjoy the Irish coffee.... :)

      Delete
  10. Snow AND chocolate - nothing better - especially if accompanied by hot beverage, book(s), yarning, cat in lap, sitting by the fire! Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes and photos. I always look forward to your postings. Happy Holidays!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh, yum! The Goatmother might even try this with her 100% Cacao and perhaps a bit of stevia. I, myself, have a particular appreciation for the Peanut Butter ones. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought you might....

      If you're really going to use 100% Cacao you might want to increase the cream a bit - chocolate that pure is pretty hard stuff. (Makes it sound like a drug, doesn't it?) :)

      Delete
  12. Oh! By the way ... 'thwack'. This is a good word. I like 'thwack'. I think I shall use it on Ella, in fact. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like it too. It's what they call onomatopaeia, I think ... which might also be good to use on Ella.

      :)

      Delete
  13. Love your snow, so Christmassy. We're heading for a mild wet one here I think, yuck!
    I made truffles last year, not sure I'll get round to doing them this year, I'm in the middle of a massive mince pie production (I made far too much mincemeat) and have still to make the Christmas cake... not to mention tidying up, eek!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Anne - hope you get some refreshing frost at least for Christmas!

      Mr. M would love any kind of pie production, massive or otherwise - I must bake a few for Christmas. :)

      Delete
  14. I think I would definitely like the inside snow much more than the outside snow. :) Sending warm wishes your way for a happy holiday! Tammy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tammy! Wishes from Kuwait are always VERY warm! :)

      Delete
  15. Snow and truffles ... that has to be a kind of perfection! I shall be making truffles for New Year - it's a family tradition - I must try the peanut butter ones :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Annie - I'm very fond of the peanut butter ones. What flavours do you make?

      Delete
  16. These truffles look mouthwatering. I really must try these over the holidays. Thanks for sharing
    Rosie xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rosie! Hope you're doing well. :)

      Delete
  17. Sue your truffles look and sound absolutely, mouthwateringly delicious.
    Love your snow pics too.....just beautiful and yes, perfect weather for crochet, cuppas and chocolate, enjoy.

    Claire x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A bit different from your weather.... :)

      Delete
  18. I'm not supposed to be eating that stuff! But now I'm going to have a whole mouthful, thanks to your appetizing photos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Truffles are VERY low-carb, you know. All that fat doesn't leave much room for sugar. :)

      Delete

I love comments! Speak on....