Tuesday, January 09, 2007

chocolate truffles

As promised recently, I made truffles. (The suffering I go through when having to use up a pound of Callebaut baking chocolate!) They're not technically difficult, but there do seem to be some tricks, not all of which I've figured out yet. Despite that, they were delicious, even when making them vegan, with coconut cream instead of dairy cream.

The main recipe I used was the techniques from Cooking from Engineers. They talk about making the ganache, which is just a mixture of chocolate and cream that has enough chocolate to be soft, but not liquid, at room temperature. They then suggest putting the liquid ganache in the fridge to cool it, then making balls of ganache, then cooling again, then coating with cocoa powder (easy) or tempered chocolate (tricky). But when reading in McGee, I noticed that he said that professionals often let the ganache sit at room temperature overnight to harden naturally, instead of chilling it. Apparently, as with tempered chocolate, the cocoa butter in ganache needs to crystallize slowly to have the best texture at room temperature. Unlike with tempered chocolate, that texture is not dry and hard, but smooth and silky. So that's what I did; the only refrigeration was after forming the ganache balls, to harden them enough to coat.

As I noted, however, I wanted to avoid the dairy that traditional truffles are made of, so with the help of Google, I found that you can make truffles with coconut cream! (A number of other web sites advocate tofu or soy milk enhanced with margarine, but that sounds like a bad idea...) So I got a can of good-quality coconut milk (no water or flavorings in the ingredients!), and put it in the fridge so the fat solidified. I then scooped up the semi-solid cream off the top, leaving the transparent coconut milk on the bottom. I used the same proportions as with dairy truffles, 1 part coconut cream to 1 1/2 parts chocolate, scalding the cream and stirring in the chopped chocolate until smooth.

I decided to make half of the truffles with hazelnuts, so I stirred in a tablespoon of Frangelico to half of the ganache before it cooled. I then finely chopped a small handful of hazelnuts, and roasted them in a frying pan on low until starting to color and smell good. After the ganache solidified (a little softer than I would have liked; I might use 1.75 parts chocolate next time), I rolled little balls, chilled them, and used spoons to coat the plain ganache in cocoa powder and the hazelnut ganache in chopped hazelnuts. I found that squeezing the nuts into the ganache helped them stick. The results were very good...



At 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's how to make delicious chocolate covered strawberries. First of all ensure that the strawberries you are intending to use are dry, then allow them to be room temperature warm prior to making them. After the strawberries have been covered in chocolate, put them in your refrigerator to cool, but do not store them in the fridge. Consume within 1-2 days.

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Doft said...

Thanks for the idea, I will try to make vegan truffels. But I hope the coconut doesn`t come out to sharp, that flavour isnĀ“t my cup of tea.


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