Friday, March 19, 2010

Chocolate Truffles: The Alton Brown Way

I don't know why I took so long to post about these truffles. I made these for Valentine's Day! Since my Valentine/on-and-off girlfriend of more than 10 years lives in another state, I made these truffles for my two good friends/colleagues/neighbors.
We ate brunch at a Mexican restaurant, and then I gave them the truffles. They loved them! I made two kinds: one enrobed in cocoa powder dusted with powdered sugar and another with coconut flakes. I also poured a bit of espresso mixed with hot water into the ganache instead of using alcohol.
Many people say that making truffles is so easy. I agree that they require only very few ingredients and thus seem easy in theory, but when you have hot hands or reside in a hot area like I do, making truffles can be messy and hard to do.
So, this time around, I tried a recipe from Alton Brown because it is perfect for hot-handed folks like me. It takes a bit longer than most recipes, but it's worth that extra refrigeration time. I'm so happy that I can make truffles now without melting the ganache while attempting to shape them into balls. These things are amazing and are much cheaper to make yourself than to buy them. Thanks, Alton Brown! hah!

Chocolate Truffles
adapted from Alton Brown on Food Network
PRINTABLE VERSION

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (I used Callebaut semi-sweet)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup brandy (I used mixture of 1 tsp espresso with 2 tsps hot water)

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts, and/or toasted coconut, for coating truffles
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (for tempered coating)

Place the 10 ounces of chocolate and butter in a medium-sized glass mixing bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir, and repeat this process 1 more time. Set aside. (I did the bain-marie or water-bath-on-stove method to ensure I didn't burn the chocolate.)

Heat the heavy cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture over the melted chocolate mixture; let stand for 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir gently, starting in the middle of bowl and working in concentric circles until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth and creamy. Gently stir in the brandy or espresso mixture, if using. Pour the mixture into an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Using a melon baller, scoop chocolate onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Place the cocoa powder, nuts, and/or toasted coconut each in its own pie pan and set aside.

Remove the truffles from the refrigerator and shape into balls by rolling between the palms of your hands. Use powder-free vinyl or latex gloves, if desired.
Then place the truffle into the dish with either the cocoa powder, nuts or coconut. Move the truffle around to coat; leave truffle in the coating for 10 to 15 seconds before removing. In the meantime, continue placing the truffles in the cocoa or other coating. After 10 to 15 seconds, remove the truffle to a parchment lined sheet pan. Repeat until all truffles are coated. Allow to set in a cool dry place for at least 1 hour; or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Truffles are best when served at room temperature; however, they will melt in hot conditions.
IF USING TEMPERED CHOCOLATE:
In the meantime, place the 8 ounces of chocolate into a medium mixing bowl which is sitting on top of a heating pad lined bowl, with the heating pad set to medium. Depending on the heating pad, you may need to adjust the heat up or down. Stirring the chocolate occasionally, test the temperature of the chocolate and continue heating until it reaches 90 to 92 degrees F; do not allow the chocolate to go above 94 degrees F. If you do, the coating will not have a nice snap to it when you bite into the chocolate. Once you have reached the optimal temperature, adjust the heat to maintain it.


Dip an ice cream scoop into the chocolate and turn upside down to remove excess chocolate. Place truffles 1 at time into the scoop and roll around until coated.Then place the truffle into the dish with either the cocoa powder, nuts or coconut. Move the truffle around to coat; leave truffle in the coating for 10 to 15 seconds before removing. In the meantime, continue placing the chocolate-coated truffles in the cocoa or other secondary coating. After 10 to 15 seconds, remove the truffle to a parchment lined sheet pan. Repeat until all truffles are coated. Allow to set in a cool dry place for at least 1 hour; or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Truffles are best when served at room temperature; however, they will melt in hot conditions.

19 comments:

  1. ive been meaning to make these for like forever..but ur beautiful pics and lovely post have inspired me to make these goodies TODAY!

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  2. Just beautiful Memoria!! I had to Stumble it... your creations are perfection!

    Blessings-
    Amanda

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  3. Wow..looks great! I will try to make them this weekend....so tastyyyyyyyyyyyy!

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  4. I LOVE chocolate truffles -- I don't know why I don't make them more often. They are so versatile with all the different flavorings and coatings you can add. Yum.

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  5. So pretty! I will try this version!

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  6. These are perfect for gift giving!

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  7. Can I be your substitute Valentine next year? :)

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  8. Oh, I {heart} Alton. I know what you mean about the hot hand problem. When I made truffles a little while back, my goddaughter tried to help, but she made a sticky mess. Her hands were just too hot and I ended up kicking her out of my kitchen. haha I'll have to pass this recipe along to her!

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  9. Wow. Nice presentation and gorgeous photos. Thanks!

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  10. Hi, Memoria

    I want some of your truffles--they look so good and professionally made! I will bet that your truffles can stand up against those expensive store bought ones anytime! You've really got skills, girl!

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  11. I think you have inspired me to make my easter gifts this year! And you are right - so much cheaper. I love the little coconut covered ones!

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  12. I have never attempted truffles because I am hothanded, like you aptly put it!! Now I know which recipe to use. Thank you for sharing this. They look gorgeous! Especially with the red background. Perfect!

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  13. I am yet to try making truffles at home. Do I need to tell you that these looks so professionally done and delicious.

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  14. Girl, I've got recipes in my computer from last Spring. Don't feel bad :-)

    I like the addition of the espresso in these too. I'm not opposed to alsohol but I find that in truffles the flavor intensifies and often becomes overwhelming. So your version sounds great to me.

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  15. Thanks, everyone, for your comments!! These truffles are definitely worth making.

    Couples kitchen - Truffles are a great idea for Easter! You could even dip them in colored, white chocolate.

    Amanda - Thanks for stumbling it. :)

    Mihaela - Please tell me how they turn out.

    msmeanie - I wonder the same thing, too. Now I can really say they are easy to make.

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  16. truffle may be tedious and time-consuming, but they're so worth the trouble. hot hands? no problem--that just gives you a reason to lick the chocolate off of them. :)

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  17. I'm not sure I have hot hands, but I tend to work slowly out of an abundance of caution. Thus time/temperature sensitive recipes are a problem for me. This sounds like the perfect solution to getting delicious homemade truffles. Thanks for sharing it!

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