Sunday, May 2, 2010



Did you know that today is National Truffle Day?  There is a special food day for every day of the year.  I've had this post in the works for months now, but once I heard Truffle Day was coming up I had to finish it off.  I wanted to make truffles for Valentine's Day this year, and I wanted to make more than one flavor so I scoured the internet for a few different recipes.  I wanted at least a rolled and a dipped type of truffle.  I wasn't even thinking about taking a class, but I happened to find out that the Viking store and Loretta Paganini's School of Cooking were both offering a truffle making class.  I ended up taking the Truffle Love class taught by Stephanie Paganini.  I picked up some good recipes and tips that I used a few days later when I made a full day out of making truffles.  The flavors I made were (in order of appearance above) Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Dark Chocolate Strawberry Balsamic, Heath Bar and Champagne Truffles.  The recipients of these truffles were giving me rave reviews so I'll definitely make them all again.


The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles tasted pretty close to eating chocolate coated raw cookie dough, but without the "danger" of raw eggs.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
Adapted from Paula Deen
Makes about 5 dozen truffles

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cup all-purpose flour
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate morsels
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 1/2 lb chocolate bark candy coating, melted

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add vanilla. Gradually beat in flour and add milk. Add chocolate morsels and pecans, mixing well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up enough to form balls.  Shape into 1-inch balls. Place on waxed paper; chill 2 hours.

Melt chocolate bark candy coating in a double boiler. Using 2 forks, dip cookie balls into candy coating to cover. Place on waxed paper and chill to set. Store in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. 

Don't be afraid of the balsamic vinegar in these truffles!  The combination of the balsamic, strawberry and dark chocolate flavors is amazing, and you wouldn't even guess it contained balsamic vinegar if you didn't know ahead of time.  I thought these were really great, but the feedback I got from the truffle recipients was that these were their least favorites, and I think I know why.  I noticed that after a few days, the taste started to get a little wonky.  Since all the truffles were mailed to people and/or eaten more than a few days after I made them, then they would have had that odd flavor too.  These truffles need a second chance so I'll have to make more and make sure that they get eaten within a few days.

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Balsamic Truffles  
Adapted from The Loretta Paganini School of Cooking Truffle Love class
Makes about 24 truffles

8.5 oz quality dark chocolate, choppped
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp strawberry extract (subtle strawberry flavor) or strawberry oil (packs more of a strawberry punch)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

To finish truffles:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup red sugar (or more for more sparkle)
  1. Place chocolate in a large bowl.  Set aside.
  2. In a small non-reactive saucepan, heat cream just under boiling.  Do not over heat!
  3. Remove cream from heat and pour over chocolate.  Wait 1 minute to allow the cream to begin melting the chocolate.  With a heat resistant spatula blend together chocolate and cream.  (If the chocolate is not melted completely, place bowl over simmering water, and stir constantly until the chocolate is melted.)  Add the balsamic vinegar and strawberry extract and combine.
  4. Place chocolate mixture (ganache) in the refrigerator to chill.  (You can pour onto a cookie sheet to chill it faster if necessary.)
  5. Combine cocoa powder and red sugar in a shallow dish and set aside.
  6. Once the ganache is chilled, scoop balls out of it with a 100 size ice cream scoop.  Briefly roll ball in hands to form a smoother ball but note; truffles should be rough looking.
  7. Roll ball in dish with cocoa mixture to coat truffles and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Chill finished truffles for a minimum of 15 minutes.

It would be so hard to choose a favorite because all four of these truffles were great.  I'm leaning toward these Heath Bar ones though.  The outside crunch of the toffee with the soft melt in your mouth chocolately goodness in the center . . . Mmmm!

Heath Bar Truffles
Makes about 36 truffles

1/2 cup pecans, crushed
12 ounces quality semisweet chocolate, chopped (2 cups)
3/4 cup heavy cream
5 snack-size Heath bars, crushed
In a small food processor, grind the pecans into bits. Put in a bowl and set aside.

Place chocolate in a medium metal bowl. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring cream to a simmer (tiny bubbles should appear around the edges). Pour over the chocolate and let stand for 3 minutes. Whisk until the chocolate is smooth and silky. Add the processed pecans and whisk until just incorporated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours, or until the truffle mixture is firm.

In the food processor, grind the Heath bars into bits. Put in a bowl and set aside.

Line two large baking sheets with waxed paper. Using a 1-inch melon baller, form a truffle and roll in your hands until round. Place on the lined baking sheet. Chilled truffles are easier to work with, so place the sheet of truffles in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

Drop one chilled truffle at a time in the bowl of crushed Heath bits. Roll the truffle around in the bowl until fully coated.  Lightly press the Heath bits until they adhere, then place on a freshly lined baking sheet and chill for 1 to 2 hours, or until firm.

Truffles can be made 2 days ahead. To store, layer between pieces of waxed paper to prevent sticking, and place in an airtight container. Serve truffles on a plate or in candy-sized paper cups.

These truffles were delicious, but they were kind of a pain in the butt compared to the others.  I had some trouble with getting the truffles out of the molds once everything was finished and chilled.  We had issues during the truffle class too, but at home only about 30% of the truffles came out without breaking apart.  I don't think it helped that I was using cheap, flimsy, plastic molds either.  But hey, I didn't want to make a huge investment if I was possibly only going to make them once (which I'm not).  The recipe below uses pre-made chocolate shells, so you don't even have to buy any molds.

I tempered chocolate for the first time when I was melting chocolate for the shell.  I think these were the most impressive of the four truffles just because of the shell.  The chocolate champagne filling was amazing, and seemed to get better with age.  I had tons of filling leftover that I used to fill cakes and cupcakes.

Champagne Truffles
Adapted from The Loretta Paganini School of Cooking Truffle Love class
Makes about 24 truffles

For Shell:
Semi-sweet chocolate shells
Golden luster dust (optional)

For Filling:
5 oz champagne
5 oz heavy cream
18 oz milk chocolate, chopped
2 oz unsalted butter, melted
1/8 tsp salt

For Coating:
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted and tempered (if making your own shells, this should be enough for those too)

In a small non-reactive sauce pan heat cream, champagne, and salt.  Do not over heat.  Pour heated cream over chocolate in a large metal mixing bowl.  Stir until incorporated and chocolate is fully melted.  (If the chocolate is not melted completely, place bowl over simmering water, and stir constantly until the chocolate is melted.)  Add butter and stir until melted and fully incorporated.

Place ganache in a piping bag.  Pipe ganache in each chocolate shell until almost full.  Tap chocolate tray to release any air bubbles from the fillings.  Chill in the freezer to set or let sit at room temperature overnight.

Dip the open end of the truffles in melted chocolate and set on a parchment lined baking sheet to cool.  When chocolate has hardened, brush with golden luster dust (if using).


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