TRUFFLES FOR THE HOLIDAYS
The year-end holiday season – whether it involves Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or some other treasured family celebration – evokes nostalgia in many of us. Many of you bake homemade goodies to give as gifts or take to cookie swaps and what is more appreciated than something from the heart and the kitchen?
Creamy and elegant, these truffles have a soft, melt-in-your-mouth filling. Beautiful enough to give as gifts or serve to guests, this truffle recipe is easy, too!
The key is to keep it simple and use the best ingredients you can find and you will end up with a rich, creamy ganache. What is “ganache” and how did it get that name? It’s simply a mixture of chocolate and cream. Rumor has it that a chef called an assistant a “ganache” (French word for idiot) when he dumped hot cream into a bowl of chocolate. Serendipity I say!
Be prepared to get your hands “dirty” with chocolate!
SPIRITED DARK CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
Yield: 12-15 truffles
4 oz. whipping cream
7 oz. finest quality dark chocolate (61% or higher)*
1/2 oz. butter, very soft but not melted
1 oz. bourbon whiskey (if you’re not a fan of bourbon, substitute another liquor)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
Bring whipping cream just to boil.
Pour slowly over the chocolate and mix rapidly to create an elastic and shiny mixture. Add butter and mix it again with the spatula. Add bourbon whiskey and mix to incorporate.
Let ganache set for 12 hours in the refrigerator or till firm enough to handle. Dust hands with cocoa powder and shape into one inch balls using a scoop or teaspoon and roll in cocoa to coat surface.
Drop in cocoa powder and roll around with a fork.
Lightly lift to parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Store covered in refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve at room temperature. Enjoy compliments!
Variation: After rolling in cocoa powder, drop into finely chopped nuts (we like hazelnuts), pressing lightly.
*I use Guittard Chocolate, a 4th generation family owned San Francisco chocolate maker. They led the way in the fair-trade movement and make some of the finest chocolate. Other fair trade brands I recommend are Trader Joes or check out Whole Foods, New Morning in Woodbury or your favorite specialty store. Many grocery stores carry fine chocolate fair-trade bars too.
Photos courtesy of Ecole Chocolat.