Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Truffles Finished, ta-da!

Finally finished. Some thoughts- chopping the chocolate blocks into small uniform pieces (while a very laborious task), did aid in making a smoother, silkier ganache.

Overall, I liked the Santander 70% chocolate the best. It had a more fruity, brighter, and warmer taste than the Valrhona. And, it is a little lighter on the wallet as well. =)

Some Valrhona Chocolate Truffles waiting to get their nut coatings.

The truffle guide.


The end.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Some truffling

A few notes.

  • 1 lbs of chocolate and 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream makes enough ganache for roughly 60-70 x 1" diameter truffles. For best dimensions, 1.5 scoops from my melon baller makes a nice truffle.
  • I was a bit too enthusiastic with my Grand Marnier, making my white chocolate ganache base a little more fluid than I wanted. So I had to add about 1 more lb of chocolate to thicken it. The white chocolate definitely has a different consistency than regular dark chocolate- I'm guessing the milk that is added to it makes it more moist.
  • Working with the fingertips instead of the palms really helps tremendously in terms of shaping the truffles without melting them.
I made about 150 Princetonian, Colombian, and Hermarchus truffles. Pictures to come in the next post!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Truffle Flavors Finalized

Lightly toasted a bunch of hazelnuts today, and hand chopped them up. Will go into a combined pot of other nuts, including walnuts and almonds.

Well, to make matters simpler, I'll stick to 4 basic types of truffles. They are as follows (and I've named them too!):

• The Princetonian: Velvety 28% Schokinag white chocolate, with a hint of Grand Marnier, ribboned by 70% dark bittersweet Callebaut.
• The Hermarchus: Rich, silky 70% dark bittersweet Valrhona Grands Crus Guanaja envelops your palate, with an exterior of either lightly toasted walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts.
• The Colombian: 70% Santander dark bittersweet chocolate, with a burst of Kahlua and espresso, coated with 60% Poulain cocoa powder.

That's from the truffle manifest which I will include in individual boxes. Hey, presentation is everything! Now, the first truffle is called the Princetonian, because it has Grand Marnier in it, an ORANGE liqueur. As you can see, my flog gets some PR here, with the second truffle variation. =)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Truffles 2.0 Preparation

I'm getting ready to prepare for my version 2.0 of truffles. And I have some improvements planned.

(1) Use a much higher quality of chocolate. I've splurged a bit on what's considered to be some of the world's best chocolate, used by professionals, or so my Bon Appetit tells me. Bought about 10 oz. of Valrhona 70% bittersweet dark chocolate (which is supposed to have a fruity nutty taste?), 2.2 lbs of Satander 70% bittersweet dark chocolate (it hails from Colombia), and some Schokinag (not quite as good I think), white chocolate. The Valrhona claims that they still use the same method of preparation as when Christopher Columbus tasted when he first arrived in the US.

I'm still waiting on about 1 pound of bittersweet dark chocolate from Callebaut as well that will arrive sometime next week.

(2) Prepare my ganache differently. Chop the chocolate into smaller, more uniform pieces. Simmer the heavy cream, and add it to the chocolate and use the heat from the cream to melt the chocolate. Smooth out with an immersion blender.

(3) Prepare some different flavors. I'm thinking of the usual dark chocolate, plain white chocolate enrobed in dark chocolate, bought some hazlenuts (didn't know they were the same as filberts) which I will toast and dice up, mocha chocolate truffles, orange white chocolate truffles with a dash of grand marnier.

(4) Presentation: scored some deals on lovely gift boxes at Michael's.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Baked Honey Dijon Drumsticks

One of my more pedestrian meals, but oh so easy to make.

Baked Honey Dijon Drumsticks

- Pack of drumsticks
- Clover honey
- Dijon Mustard
- Pepper, salt
- curry
  1. Mix last 4 ingredients together to taste.
  2. Wash drumsticks, and pat dry.
  3. Marinate 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. Place on foil lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake ~ 1 hour 10 minutes at 375 degrees F, or until marrow turns translucent. Midway through, brush some of the marinade onto the drumsticks to prevent them from drying out.
  6. Serve with favorite sides.

Here are a pair served with sauteed asparagus tips, and some white rice.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dark Chocolate Truffles

Saw the truffle recipe from the latest issue of Bon Appetit. Surprisingly easy to make, but very messy. Long waiting time though.

Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles (Bon Appetit December 2006)

Truffle Base/Ganache:

- 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
- 9 oz. 70%+ cocoa bittersweet chocolate, chopped & divided

Chocolate Coating:

- 8 oz. 70%+ cocoa bittersweet chocolate, chopped & divided
- unsweetened cocoa powder
- toasted chopped nuts (hazlenuts, walnuts, almonds, etc..)
- any other toppings, e.g. coconut flakes

For the truffle base/ganache:
  1. Simmer cream in small saucepan. Remove from heat, cool to lukewarm, ~ 10 min.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 7 ounces of chocolate either in a saucepan over water, or in a double boiler. Remove from heat, and add remaining 2 ounces of chocolate- stir until smooth. (Optional: Use an immersion blender to blend the ganache. I did not find this step necessary as the ganache had a very smooth consistency even without blending.)
  3. Add in cream, stir well.
  4. Chill truffle base until firm enough to roll, 3+ hours.
  5. Line rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper.
  6. Roll 2 tsp. truffle base (or use a melon baller) between fingertips into ball.
  7. Transfer to wax paper, chill until firm, ~ 1 hour.
For the chocolate coating:
  1. Line another baking sheet with wax paper.
  2. Melt 8 ounces of chocolate in another sauce pan; remove from heat, and cool slightly.
  3. Scoop some of this warm (not hot) chocolate into palm of hand. Place 1 chilled truffle base ball into hand, roll in palm, and coat with melted chocolate.
  4. Roll in cocoa powder and/or other toppings if desired.
  5. Chill until firm, ~ 1 hour.
  6. Can be made up to 1 week in advance. Store in airtight container and keep chilled.
  7. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

Not a glamorous shot here, since they look like turds, but here is the truffle base after being chilled for 3 hours. The slightest amount of warmth from my hand instantly melted them, making it hard to properly mold them, even with the aid of a melon baller. I would advise chilling them for at least 4 hours, and molding them with the fingertips (which are cooler), rather than the palm of the hand.

After being sufficiently chilled, they're coated with an outside layer of 60% dark chocolate.

For toppings, one is almonds and walnuts (wish I had some hazelnuts on hand), and the other is Polain 1848 60% dark cocoa powder.

I'll try and make a white chocolate base next time with dark chocolate layers.

Miniature Maple Pecan Walnut & Pumpkin Pies

Here are two very easy to make pies for the holidays:

Maple Pecan Walnut Pie

- 1 cup Grade B Maple Syrup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp flour
- dash of vanilla
- coarsely chopped up pecans, walnuts
- 15 miniature graham cracker pre-baked crusts

  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Scoop into pre-baked crusts.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F ~ 50 min.
  4. Remove, let cool on rack.

Pumpkin Pie

- 1 cup Libby's pumpkin
- 3/8 cup sugar
- all spice
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup evaporated (or whole milk if you don't have evaporated milk).
- miniature graham cracker crusts

  1. Mix everything together.
  2. Pour into crusts.
  3. Bake ~ 50 minutes at 350 degrees F. You can bake them at the same time as the pecan pies.
  4. Remove, cool on wire rack.