Friday, October 15, 2010

Chocolate Truffles

First off I have to say that this may be the world's messiest dessert. Well, maybe not, but it is right up there. And I suppose it is really only the making of it that is messy, eating them carries far less risk of making a mess of yourself than, say, eating ice cream from a cone on a hot day.

There was something cathartic about the messiness of the process though. Something calming that reminded me of my childhood fascination with mud balls. And mud pies. And digging in mud. and really anything that involved mud.

Case in point:

Here I am at approximately 10 years old at a family reunion in Big River, CA with my cousin Cameron. Notice how muddy my hands are, and the fine display of mud balls we are proudly showcasing for the camera. Also notice that I seem to be wearing purple pants. That is unrelated, I just thought it was worth noticing. I suppose it should be no surprise that I found it very soothing and familiar when the process of shaping these truffles on a warm fall day turned out like this:

Basic Chocolate Truffles

16 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate- of the best quality you are willing buy
1 pint heavy cream
Cocoa powder for coating

First, make the ganache- simply a mixture of equal parts chocolate and heavy cream. To do this, melt the chocolate over a double boiler until smooth:

Then, after removing from the heat, add in the heavy cream and whisk until combined. To me this part is almost magic. It looks for a moment like there is no way these two will combine, and then, suddenly, they do. And it is glorious.

Cover and allow to cool, then place in the refrigerator to firm. I found leaving it over night to work out much better than only a few hours.

when the ganache has firmed up, simply scoop portions with a spoon, then roll between your hands to shape the final truffles. They do not need to be perfectly round, especially since the longer you handle them the softer they get, and the more your hands start to resemble the shot of my hand seen above. after each truffle is shaped, roll  it in cocoa powder to finish. You may have to return the ganache to the fridge for a while if it starts to soften up to much to work with.

Their irregular shape and cocoa brown color really does resemble a truffle mushroom. And, you can make all kinds of variations to these, adding a small amount of liquor (slightly reduce the amount of cream in proportion) or coating them in all kinds of things, nuts, coconut, crushed candy, melted chocolate...

Do you have a favorite messy dessert?

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