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Chocolate Chocolate Truffles Food Recipes

Spiced Black Tea (Masala Chai) Chocolate Truffles

Masala Chai Truffles

My latest chocolate-related invention: Masala Chai Chocolate Truffles!

How did I come up with this curious combination of chocolate and masala chai (Indian-style black tea)? I was planning my birthday party earlier this month, and I was trying to think of snacks and desserts that I could serve at the party. I wanted to be able to do most of the work in advance, preparing at least some of the foods days in advance, but I also didn’t want to compromise on their taste. Truffles, are of course a great choice given these criteria. So I decided to make some of my usual favourites: Cointreau truffles, mint butter-cream truffles and almond butter-cream truffles. But, I also wanted to be a bit adventurous and try something new and quirky. I’d made myself a cup of tea, and was sipping it, while I thought about what new flavours I could throw together, when the obvious occurred to me: tea-truffles. And then I thought, “Why not masala chai truffles, just to spice things up?”. They turned out surprisingly well, and were quite a hit.

If you’d like to give them a go, here’s how.

Equipment you will need:

A cutting board and knife OR a food processor

2 medium-sized bowls

2 plates

Parchment sheet, baking sheet or foil

Little paper cups to put the truffles in.

Ingredients:

8 Oz (approx 225 g) good dark chocolate (at least 70-80 % cocoa solids)

1/2 cup cream (whipping cream in Canada or heavy cream or double cream elsewhere)

2 pinches of salt

1 tea bag masala chai (available in most grocery stores)

A few tablespoons of cocoa powder

Method:

Chop up the chocolate on a cutting board into fine pieces with a large knife. This is the tiresome part of the recipe. I have a food processor, so I just break the chocolate up into individual squares and then throw it into the processor. The reason you want the chocolate broken up into fine bits is because you want it all to melt evenly when you pour in the hot cream. Throw the chocolate bits into a bowl.

How to make chocolate truffles/chocolate ganache

Next, get the half cup of cream to a gentle simmer and immediately turn off the heat. Add the tea bag to the cream, and let it steep for about 5 minutes.

Heat the cream again to a gentle simmer, and pour the hot cream through a strainer lined with a cheese cloth (as shown below), into the bowl with the chocolate.

How to make masala chai truffles

Using a ladle, make sure all the chocolate is covered by the cream. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Then add the salt, and delicately mix everything with a whisk.

Making Masala Chai Truffles

It’s important not to be rough because then you will get air bubbles into the chocolate. That wouldn’t be good as you want the chocolate to taste smooth and rich.

Chocolate ganache

Once you have a smooth mixture (this is called chocolate ganache), place the bowl in the fridge for about half an hour, until it firms up. The length of time you will need to leave it in the fridge will depend on the temperature inside your fridge, so keep checking on it. You want the ganache to be just firmed up, but not hard.

In the meantime, take out the plates and place a sheet of parchment or foil on each of them. Once the chocolate mixture is ready, take it out of the fridge and spoon out the chocolate in small portions on the parchment or foil (use an ice cream scoop if you have one). The portions should be approximately the size you want the truffles to be.

Making assorted chocolate truffles

Now, roll each scoop/portion of chocolate about in your hand until it is more or less spherical, then place it back on the parchment. I would recommend washing your hands periodically, while you do this, as you will get chocolate all over them, and it will be more difficult to shape the truffles if you’ve got melted chocolate on your hands. Also, the washing will help to cool your hands. The truth is, I have to wash my hands periodically anyway because I can’t resist licking some of the chocolate off every once in a while 😉

Masala chai/black-tea flavoured truffles

Masala Chai truffles

Once you’ve shaped all the truffles, take another bowl and put about 2 tbsp of cocoa powder in it. Take each truffle in your hand, roll it about for a second or two in your hands, just enough to warm the surface and then roll the truffle in the cocoa powder, until it is covered. Finally, place it in a paper cup. Repeat until all the truffles are done.

Masala Chai Truffles

I’ve heard it being said that this process can be messy and/or arduous; I didn’t think it was either; I did however end up smelling like chocolate all day 🙂

You can put the truffles in the fridge for two to three weeks, but take them out a few hours before you serve them, so that they’re at room temperature. They also make for a great present, just put them in a nice box and voilà! you have a handmade, personalized present!

Masala Chai Truffles
Categories
Chocolate Chocolate Truffles Cooking Food General Recipes

Dark Chocolate Truffles with Mint-Buttercream Centers

Last week I decided to invite some friends over to mine for drinks, desserts, cheese, and some cheese related hors d’ oeuvres. It was my birthday you see, and what better way is there to celebrate one’s birthday than by feeding one’s friends and drinking with them? 🙂

I tried several new recipes out for this party, including three new types of chocolate truffles! Here’s one of my favourite ones: truffles with mint centers!

Mint Chocolate Truffles

This was a modification of a basic truffle recipe that I came up with while fooling around with new flavours and textures; If you’d like to try it, read on!

Ingredients:

100 g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids) (the better this chocolate is, the better your truffles will taste)

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 pinches of salt

5-6 tablespoons of icing sugar

5 tablespoons butter

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon mint essence

3-4 drops green artificial food colouring

5-6 squares of dark chocolate for coating the truffles

Equipment:

4 Bowls and several spoons

1 large plate

A hand-held or stand-alone egg-beater/mixer

1 sheet of foil or butter paper

Method:

I began by heating the cream in a little pan to a gentle simmer. In the meantime, I chopped the chocolate into bits (you can also use a food processor), and placed the chocolate bits in a bowl.

How to make chocolate truffles/chocolate ganache

Once the cream began to simmer, I poured it over the chocolate and let it sit until the chocolate melted.

Making a chocolate ganache for chocolate truffles

Once the chocolate was melted, I took a whisk and gently mixed the chocolate and cream into a smooth mixture adding a pinch of salt as I did this. This delicious ganache needed to cool and firm up, so I covered it up and placed it on the dining table. Once it reached room temperature, I transferred the bowl to the fridge.

Chocolate ganache

While the ganache cooled, I placed the butter in a bowl and began whipping it up with a hand-held mixer (egg-beater). When it was creamy and softened, I added a pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons of icing sugar, 1/4 tsp of mint essence, and a few drops of green food colouring. I whipped all this up into a  creamy smooth mix and then tasted it. I thought the mixture needed a little more sugar, so I added another 2 tablespoons. (You should also taste the mixture intermittently and see if it needs more sugar or mint essence; add as much as you think is appropriate.) Once it tasted just right, I covered up the bowl and placed it in the fridge.

Once both the ganache and mint-filling were firmed up in the fridge, I took them out and began working with them. I covered two baking trays with wax paper (you can also use baking paper or aluminum foil) and then began scooping large blobs of chocolate on one of the trays.

Making assorted chocolate truffles

Once all the chocolate was divided into ‘large blobs’ on the first tray, I began scooping smaller portions of the mint-buttercream into my hand, shaping them into rough spheres and then placing them on the other tray.

Making mint Chocolate Truffles

As soon as all the mint mixture was used up, I placed both trays in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Once the scoops and mint-spheres had hardened from the cold, I was ready to start shaping the truffles!

(When you’re trying this, make sure you have enough works-space on your kitchen counter. I like sitting down while I do this, because it takes some time, so I usually move over to the floor because I feel more comfortable sitting cross-legged. You could move over to the dining table if you prefer.)

Now I was ready for the fun part! I picked up one of the chocolate scoops and shaped it into a sphere in my hand. Then I flattened it out on my hand like a mini chapathi or tortilla.

Shaping chocolate cream cheese truffles
Step 1 in shaping chocolate cream cheese truffles
Then, I took one of the mint flavoured balls and placed it at the centre of the ‘chocolate chapathi’:

Shaping chocolate cream cheese truffles
Step 2 in shaping chocolate cream cheese truffles
and carefully rolled the chocolate layer over the mint centre, shaping the truffle into as perfect a sphere as possible. (I don’t have a photograph of the sphere-shaping bit because I needed both hands and by this time my other hand was covered in chocolate.)

Shaping chocolate cream cheese truffles
Step 3 in shaping chocolate cream cheese truffles
I repeated this until all the chocolate was used up:

Shaping chocolate truffles

Next, I melted 5-6 dark chocolate squares in the microwave. (When you do this, be sure to do this on a low setting as you don’t want to burn the chocolate. Ideally, you should melt the chocolate in a double boiler to avoid this, but I find that if I am careful, I can do it in the microwave. After, I let the chocolate cool a bit (it’s important not to let it harden), I picked up one of the truffles, and dipped it into the chocolate, coating it completely, as shown in the photograph below:

Dipping truffles in chocolate

Then, I placed the truffle back on the wax paper to cool. I repeated this until all the truffles were coated. Finally, I let them all cool and then placed them in little green-coloured paper cups.

And Ta DA! They were ready to be devoured! Rich dark chocolate truffles with soft mint-flavoured butter-cream centers. If one looks half-eaten, that’s because it is 😛 I did for you all, so you can see what the centers look like 😉

Mint chocolate truffles

And then, all that was left was one lonely half-truffle.

Mint Chocolate Truffle

Categories
Chocolate Chocolate Truffles Food General Recipes

A Hand-made, Delicious Gift for your Grown-up Friends

This post is also about truffles. I thought I should just make that clear right at the start. If you’re tired of all my truffle-y posts, skip this one; my next one won’t be about truffles, or even chocolate. It’ll probably be about this delicious, spicy Hyderabadi-style fish I made yesterday; or it might be about a nice little Persian restaurant that I visited last week. Either way, it probably won’t be about chocolate.

Although, it just occurred to me that if you’re bored by chocolatey posts, you’re not really my key demographic, are you? (Really, what are you doing here if chocolate doesn’t make you ever-so-slightly unhinged?)

Anyway, this is a post about a great gift-idea: assorted chocolate truffles. This is usually an ideal little present because truffles are delicious (to most people), make people happy (quite literally (read my previous post for more on this)) and they’re very personal (you can custom-make flavours to suit your friends’ tastes). They’re also pretty easy to make, once you’ve gotten the hang of it.

The first step involves choosing flavours. You could choose from so many different kinds! Here are a few:

1. Dark Chocolate truffles (go here for my recipe)

2. Cointreau Dark Chocolate truffles (go here for my recipe)

3. Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Truffles with Cream Cheese Centers (go here for my recipe)

4. Dark Chocolate Truffles with Orange-Cream Cheese Centers (go here for my recipe)

5. Dark Chocolate Truffles with Strawberry Cream Cheese Centers (go here for my recipe)

6. Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles (recipe in this post)

7. Mint Chocolate Truffles (recipe in this post)

8. Dark Chocolate Truffles with Brazil-nut butter centers (recipe forthcoming)

I could go on and on, but I’ve got my whole life to invent truffle recipes. For now, I am going to stop thinking about truffle flavours and get on with this post.

Here’s what I chose for my first truffle-gift-experiment: Cointreau chocolate, mint chocolate and hazelnut. I chose these flavours because they’re really easy to make, easier than truffles with flavoured centers.

What you will need:

200g dark chocolate (At least 70% cocoa solids)

1 cup heavy/whipping cream

Two pinches of salt

About a teaspoon of mint essence

2 teaspoons Frangelico (or some other hazelnut liqueur)

1 teaspoon Cointreau or Grand Marnier

A handful of hazelnuts

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

50g chocolate to dip the mint truffles in

3 sheets of parchment paper or foil

3 post-its

Coloured paper cups to place the truffles in

Method:

Chop up the chocolate with a knife and place it in a bowl:

How to make chocolate truffles/chocolate ganache

You could also use a food processor. Next, warm up the cream until it just begins to boil and pour it over the chocolate:

Making a chocolate ganache for chocolate truffles

Try and make sure that all the chocolate is covered. Let the bowl stand for a few minutes. Add the salt, take a whisk and gently mix the cream and chocolate. Now your ganache is ready.

Bring out two more bowls. Spoon about one-third of the ganache into one of these bowls and another third of the ganache into the other bowl. Now you have three portions of ganache in three separate bowls.

Making assorted chocolate truffles as a DIY gift

Mix in the mint essence in the first bowl, Frangelico in the second bowl and Cointreau (or Grand Marnier) in the third bowl. I would start by adding a little of each flavour and then adding more to taste. It is especially important to use the mint essence sparingly. For one thing, different brands of mint essence have varying levels of strength. Also, mint as a flavour very easily overpowers chocolate.

Let the ganache(s) cool to room temperature and then, place the bowls in the fridge.

In about an hour, check if the ganache has firmed up. If it has, take all three bowls out of the fridge. Place three sheets of foil or parchment paper on three separate plates. Take three post-its and write the names of the flavours of the truffles down, one flavour for each post-it. Now, stick a post-it underneath each plate. Next, scoop out tablespoon-sized portions of the mint flavoured ganache on the correspondingly labelled plate. Use an ice-cream scoop if you have one.

Making assorted chocolate truffles

Repeat this with the other two flavoured ganaches. Place the plates in the fridge.

After about 20 minutes, take the plates out and begin to roll each scoop of ganache into as perfect a sphere as possible. Make sure not to confuse the different flavoured truffles; place all mint truffles on the plate labelled ‘mint’ and the Cointreau ones on the plate labelled ‘Cointreau’ and so on.

Making assorted chocolate truffles

Once you’ve rolled all the ganache into balls, place all three plates back in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Now comes the last step, coating the truffles.

For the hazelnuts truffles, I decided that the most appropriate coating was toasted and crushed hazelnuts. This is a simple enough coating to make. Just pop a handful of hazelnuts in the oven (preheated to 375 farenheit (that’s 180 celsius)) for about 10 minutes, tossing the nuts once during this time. Let them cool and then place them in a tea-towel and rub them against each other until they lose their skins. Then place them in a mortar and pestle and coarsely grind them. I suggested a mortar and pestle rather than a grinder because this way you can make sure you break up all the nuts without reducing most of the nuts to a powder.

Coarsely ground toasted hazelnuts
And now for the final touch, just roll each hazelnut truffle about in your hand for a bit to make the outside of the truffle sticky and then roll it in the crushed hazelnuts. Lightly press the nuts in to make sure they stick to the truffle.

For the Cointreau truffles, I decided on a simple coating: cocoa powder. Just take a few tablespoons of cocoa powder in a bowl, warm the outside of each Cointreau truffle by rolling it about in your hand, and then lightly roll it in the bowl of cocoa until it is completely covered.

Lastly, I decided to dip the mint truffles in dark chocolate. This looks and sounds more difficult than it is, and it’s actually a lot of fun 🙂 It is also undoubtedly messy.

Making chocolate truffles is fun and messy!

Carefully melt 50g dark chocolate (using either a double boiler or a microwave on a very low heat setting). Let the chocolate cool a bit (we don’t want to wait for it to harden, but we don’t want it to be too warm either).

Once the chocolate has cooled somewhat, take a truffle and dip it into the chocolate. Roll it about in the chocolate until it’s completely coated and then fish it out.

Dipping truffles in chocolate

Place the truffle back on the foil/butter paper. Repeat this process with all the truffles. Once you’ve dipped all the truffles, take a toothpick and trace a circle around the bottom of each truffle. This is so that we don’t have a lot of excess chocolate stuck awkwardly to the bottom of the truffle once the outside chocolate has hardened.

Place each truffle in a paper cup. Preferably, use paper cups of different colours that compliment the truffle flavours. For instance, I used green for mint, orange for Cointreau and light brown for hazelnut. Let the truffles sit somewhere cool to cool. They should be ready in 20-30 minutes.

Since the idea was to make assorted truffles as a gift, I wanted to pack them in a nice box. I hunted all over my neighborhood for a cute gift box, but couldn’t find anything appropriate. I finally stumbled upon an arts and crafts store, and they were nice enough to cut some beautiful coloured paper for me so that I could make little bags out fo it:

Custom-made gift bags for assorted chocolate truffles

I placed the truffles in these bags once they were ready and sowed on little message cards on the front that not only gave my friend my regards, but also described the different flavours of truffles included in the bag on the back.

Custom-made gift bags for assorted chocolate truffles

Needless to say, my friend won’t mind taking care of my plants again 😉

Categories
Chocolate Chocolate Truffles Food General Recipes

Dark Chocolate Truffles with Gooey Strawberry Cream-Cheese Centers

Yesterday, the weather was lovely. Although the sky was cloudy and the sun managed to peek out only once or twice, the air was warm and breezy. In the evening, after a grueling Pilates class, I went out for a little stroll in the neighborhood. As I was walking past a green-grocers, it occurred to me that I ought to be healthy and buy some fruit. “I could make myself a healthy fruit shake”, I thought to myself. Going to yoga or Pilates sometimes does this to me; it inspires me to be uncharacteristically open-minded about eating healthy fruit. (It has yet to have any effect on my general aversion to veggies though; THAT would be a real miracle!)

There were several pretty, colourful and bright fruit in the store, but a little basket of strawberries drew my attention the most, and so I bought it. On the walk home, my mind did what it usually does, it wandered to chocolate. “What about strawberry chocolate truffles?” I thought to myself. “Or wait! What about strawberry cream-cheese centered chocolate truffles” I asked myself. Ooooh that sounded delicious, wonderful, so good in fact, that I set about executing my devious plan right then and there. I rushed over to the yucky supermarket across the street from my apartment and bought some cream-cheese. Three hours later, I ended up with this (I took a bite out of it so I could show you the delicious creamy center:

Dark Chocolate Truffles with Strawberry Cream Cheese Centers
Dark Chocolate Truffles with Strawberry Cream Cheese Centers
And here I am chronicling my adventure.

Since my last cream-cheese truffles (brown sugar-coated truffles with orange cream centers) came out so well, I decided to follow a similar process for today’s project. I began with a traditional dark chocolate ganache (made with cream) which I used to make the truffles themselves. Next, I incorporated the cream cheese and strawberry flavours I love so much into the recipe by making cream cheese centers for the truffles. This is the one fairly tricky part of the process. Actually shaping the truffles with the cream cheese centers can be messy and it requires patience. Finally, instead of coating the truffles in brown sugar (as I did with my last batch) I dipped the truffles in dark chocolate. They were pretty good, and if you like strawberries, you will like these EVEN more, so give them a try, why don’t you?

Ingredients for the Truffles:

100 g dark chocolate (since the strawberry cream cheese filling was a little sweet, I used chocolate with 85% cocoa solids)

1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream

A pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence (at room temperature)

50 g chocolate to coat truffles with

A sheet of butter paper or foil

Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Centers:

50 g cream cheese (at room temperature)

3-6 tablespoons of icing sugar

6 medium strawberries

Method:

Chop up the chocolate into small pieces (you could also process it in a food processor) and place it in a bowl. It’s important to chop up the chocolate into little bits so that it melts evenly when you pour the cream over it. It should look like this:

Chopped up chocolate to make a ganache
Chopped up chocolate to make a ganache
Heat the cream in a pan until it just begins to bubble and then pour it over the chocolate:

Making a ganache

Let the mixture stand for a few minutes. Then very gently mix the chocolate and cream:

Gently mixing the chocolate ganache

Add the vanilla and salt and mix until you have a smooth ganache:

Chocolate ganache

Cover the bowl and let the ganache cool to room temperature, then place it in the fridge.

While the ganache is chilling, let’s make the cream cheese filling. The first step is making some strawberry juice. Wash the strawberries thoroughly and then hull them (for instructions on how to do this, go here). This is what they should look like:

Hulled Strawberries
Hulled Strawberries
Chop up the hulled strawberries and then process them in a food processor or mixer:

Making strawberry cream cheese filling

Isn’t this a beautiful rich colour?

Strain this pulp to get strawberry juice. We’ll be using this to flavour the cream cheese.

Strawberry juice/extract for chocolate truffles

Set the juice aside. Take another bowl, put the cream cheese in it, and whip it up with a mixer, until it’s smooth.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Truffles
Softened cream cheese
Now, add two tablespoons of icing sugar and whip it all up.

Making cream cheese filling for chocolate truffles

Taste the mixture. If you think it needs more sugar add some more. When it tastes right, add strawberry juice to taste, one teaspoon at a time. You should add as much juice as you think tastes good, however, remember that the more juice you add the thinner the filling will become, and the thinner the filling, the more difficult it is to work with when shaping the truffles.

Strawberry cream cheese filling for chocolate truffles

I had to add some more sugar at this stage to thicken it. It tasted good even with the sugar, but it was more than I would ordinarily have added. When the filling tastes just right to you, pour the cream cheese filling into an icing/frosting bag or a sandwich bag and put it in the fridge.

Once the ganache has been in the fridge for about an hour, take it out and see if it’s firmed up. It should be firm but not hard. Take a large plate and cover it with foil or butter paper. Portion out the ganache on the foil or butter paper, with each portion measuring about a tablespoon full.

Making strawberry cream cheese truffles

Place the plate in the fridge. In about an hour, take it out along with the cream cheese filling. Now you’re ready to begin shaping the truffles.

Pick up a scoop of ganache and shape it into a ball. Flatten it on your hand like a mini-tortilla or chapathi. Next, squeeze a bit of cream cheese filling out of the frosting bag (if you were using a sandwich bag cut off one of the bottom tips of the bag) on the center of the ‘chocolate chapathi’:

Shaping strawberry cream cheese truffles

Fold the chocolate over the cream cheese filling and roll the whole thing carefully into a ball. I don’t have a photograph of this because by this time my hands were covered in chocolate. Repeat this until all the ganache has been used up.

Making chocolate cream cheese truffles
Almost Ready-Truffles!
For the final step, carefully melt 50g dark chocolate (using either a double boiler or a microwave on a very low heat setting). Let the chocolate cool a bit (we don’t want to wait for it to harden, but we don’t want it to be too warm either).

Once the chocolate has cooled somewhat, take a truffle and dip it into the chocolate. Roll it about in the chocolate until it’s completely coated and then use a fork to fish it out. Place the truffle back on the foil/butter paper. Repeat this process with all the truffles. Once you’ve dipped all the truffles, take a toothpick and trace a circle around the bottom of each truffle. This is so that we don’t have a lot of excess chocolate stuck awkwardly to the bottom of the truffle once the outside chocolate has hardened. Place the truffles somewhere cool to cool. They should be ready to eat in 20-30 minutes. Serve in little paper cups. Enjoy!

Strawberry cream cheese truffle

Categories
Chocolate Chocolate Truffles Food General Recipes

Sugar-Coated Dark Chocolate Truffles with Orange Cream Cheese Centers

Brown Sugar coated chocolate truffle with orange-cream cheese centerThis is my favourite kind of truffle so far. In fact, I can honestly say that I’ve never eaten a more delicious chocolate truffle. Mmmm.

It all started with me wandering into my kitchen last evening. I went through my fridge and cabinets, trying to think of a new combination of flavours that I’d never tried in a truffle before. All sorts of ingredients caught my attention, but my eyes kept returning to the block of cream cheese in my fridge. As I wrote in Sunday’s post about dark chocolate cream cheese truffles, I absolutely love the flavour of cream cheese. So I decided to stick with cream cheese, and see if I couldn’t come up with a slightly better version of Sunday’s recipe.

Sunday’s truffles were cream cheese truffles through and through; not only did they have cream cheese centers, the truffles themselves were made with cream cheese. While I liked Sunday’s truffles, what I found was that the texture of the truffle changes when you use cream cheese instead of heavy/whipping cream (this is what is used in traditional truffles); the texture isn’t as velvety and creamy. Generally speaking, this is an acceptable compromise to me because I love the flavour of cream cheese. But Sunday’s experiment taught me that if you’re willing to go to the extra trouble of making cream cheese centers, you don’t need to make this compromise at all! In fact, I thought that the cream cheese in the chocolate didn’t add much in terms of flavour, it was upstaged by the intense flavour of the dark chocolate and by the cream cheese in the center. I could reduce the amount of chocolate I added, but I wanted to make dark chocolate truffles, not milk chocolate ones.

Therefore, for today’s project, I decided to use a traditional dark chocolate ganache (made with cream) to make the truffles, and then incorporate the cream cheese flavour I love so much by making cream cheese centers for them. But that wasn’t all, I added a twist or two to the recipe. You see, I wanted to play around a little with the flavours in my kitchen; it would have been boring to simply recreate, with a small modification, Sundays recipe.

First, I wanted a citrus flavour to the cream cheese, so I added some orange liqueur (Cointreau). Second, I thought it might be fun to coat the truffles with something I’ve never tried before, large brown sugar crystals. But since they’re sweet, I decided to make the chocolate a bit bitter. So I replaced some of the dark chocolate in the ganache recipe with unsweetened chocolate. Here’s what I ended up with:

Brown sugar coated chocolate truffle with orange-cream cheese centerAnd boy am I glad I played instead of sticking to what I know. The truffles were just right in terms of texture and flavour! They were creamy and squishy and the cream cheese centers were gooey, soft, and a little orang-ey. To top it all, the sugar-coating was literally the sugar-coating, it balanced the bitterness of the chocolate perfectly. Here is a shot of half a truffle after I’d bitten into it. I think it illustrates the squishiness and softness I am talking about:

Brown sugar coated chocolate truffle with orange-cream cheese center

The flavours danced together on my tongue with just enough complexity to be intriguing; they acted in perfect concert, I had to close my eyes and savour it. I haven’t felt this excited since I discovered chocolate brazil nut butter.

If you’ve been sold by my mad ravings or these pictures, go ahead and give it a go! The only tough part of the process is actually shaping the truffles with the cream cheese centers. This can be a little messy and it requires patience.

Update: Another important thing to note is that the sugar-coating absorbs moisture. So the outside of the truffle can get wet and sticky over a day or two. The solution that I have found for this problem is to roll the truffles in brown-sugar right before (or even a few hours before) serving them.

Ingredients for the Truffles:

2.5 ounces dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream

A small dollop of butter

A pinch of salt

Brown sugar to coat the truffles

Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Centers:

50 g cream cheese (at room temperature)

A dollop of butter

2-4 tablespoons of icing sugar

2-3 teaspoons of Cointreau or Grand Marnier

Method:

Chop up the chocolate into small pieces (you could also process it in a food processor) and place it in a bowl. It’s important to chop up the chocolate into little bits so that it melts evenly when you pour the cream over it. It should look like this:

Chopped up chocolate to make a ganacheHeat the cream in a pan until it just begins to bubble and then pour it over the chocolate:

Making a ganache

Let the mixture stand for a few minutes. Then very gently mix the chocolate and cream:

Gently mixing the chocolate ganache

Add the butter and salt and mix until you have a smooth ganache:

Chocolate ganache

Cover the bowl and let the ganache cool to room temperature, then place it in the fridge.

While the ganache hardens, let’s make the cream cheese filling. Take another bowl, put the cream cheese in it and whip it up with a mixer, until it’s smooth.

Chocolate Cream Cheese TrufflesNow add the butter, two tablespoons of icing sugar and a teaspoon of Cointreau and whip it all up.

Making cream cheese filling for chocolate truffles

Taste the mixture. If you think it needs more sugar or Cointreau add some more. When it tastes right, cover the bowl and put it in the fridge.

Once the ganache has been in the fridge for about an hour, take it out and see if it’s firmed up. It should be firm but not hard. If it’s firm take it out along with the cream cheese filling. You will also need a bowl with a few tablespoons of brown sugar in it and a large plate covered with foil or butter paper. Now you’re ready to begin shaping the truffles.

Portion out the ganache onto the foil or butter paper, with each portion measuring about a tablespoon. When you’ve scooped out the lot take the first portion and shape it into a ball. Then, flatten it on your hand like a mini-tortilla or chapathi:

Shaping chocolate cream cheese trufflesNow scoop a bit of cream cheese filling onto the center of the ‘chocolate chapathi’:

Shaping chocolate cream cheese trufflesNow fold the chocolate over the cream cheese.

Shaping chocolate cream cheese trufflesFinally, roll the whole thing carefully into a ball. I don’t have a photograph of this because by this time my hands were covered in chocolate. Repeat this until all the ganache has been used up.

Making chocolate cream cheese trufflesFor the final step, start with one of the first few truffles you shaped. (When you work with the truffles they will get a little melted and squishy from your body heat. This is why i suggest picking up one of the first few truffles you worked on; by now it will have cooled down and firmed up again.) Gently roll it about in your hand to make the surface a little sticky. Roll the truffle in the bowl of brown sugar so that it is completely coated.

Brown sugar-coated chocolate truffles with orange-cream cheese centers

Repeat until all the truffles are coated. And there you’re all done! Enjoy your delicious truffles, I know I did 😉

Sugar coated chocolate truffle with orange-cream cheese center

Categories
Chocolate Chocolate Truffles Cooking Food General Recipes

Rich Dark Chocolate Truffles with Soft Cream Cheese Centers

This afternoon I was out grocery shopping and I saw a box of truffles in the chocolate section that caught my eye- they were ‘cheesecake truffles’. “Hmm that sounds delicious” I thought to myself. The thing is, and you may not know this about me, as much as I am a chocolate-lover, even a chocolate-addict, I am so much more when it comes to cheesecake, I am in fact, a chocolate-cheesecake-fiend.

Don’t believe me? Well it’s true and the following tale will prove it to you. You see, there is a coffee shop quite literally below my apartment and they have delicious chocolate-almond cheesecake. This time last year, I was eating one slice of cheesecake per day. Soon, things got so bad that the owner of the coffee shop, his wife and two employees of theirs, independently of each other, expressed genuine surprise bordering on concern, when they noticed how often I was running downstairs for cake. When your cheesecake supplier stages an almost-intervention, well you know things have gone too far, so I quit cold turkey.

But of course, I still have a soft spot for the cheesecake-chocolate combination. So when I saw the box of cheesecake truffles, I rushed home like a woman possessed and researched recipes. It turns out one has to first bake a cheesecake, then let it firm up in the fridge for several hours and only then can one use this hardened cheesecake as a filling in truffles. This seemed like far too much waiting, so I decided to make chocolate cream cheese truffles, which are close enough.

Chocolate cream cheese trufflesThe process was fairly easy, and what I really liked about it was that one could add sugar and chocolate to taste. Traditional chocolate truffles are made from a ganache (you can read more about this in my previous posts about basic dark chocolate truffles and Cointreau truffles), and you can’t really add more or less chocolate, with intermittent tastings while making ganache (to be accurate, you probably could, but I think it would be a complicated process and you’d run the risk of breaking the ganache). So this really is something unique about this cream cheese truffle recipe. I’d recommend giving it a go, you might get hooked 😉

Ingredients:

100 g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids) (the better this chocolate is, the better your truffles will taste)

150 g cream cheese

5-6 tablespoons of icing sugar

1/2 tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

Some cocoa powder or a handful of hazelnuts toasted and ground

Equipment:

4 Bowls and several spoons

1 large plate

A hand-held or stand-alone egg-beater/mixer

1 sheet of foil or butter paper

Method:

I began by placing the cream cheese (at room temperature) in a bowl

Chocolate Cream Cheese Truffles

Next, I melted the chocolate in the microwave. (When you do this, be sure to do this on a low setting as you don’t want to burn the chocolate. Ideally, you should melt the chocolate in a double boiler to avoid this, but I find that if I am careful, I can do it in the microwave.

While the chocolate was melting I began whipping the cream cheese up with the mixer (egg-beater). When it was creamy and softened, I added 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and whipped this into the cheese. I tasted the mixture and thought it needed a little more sugar, so I added another 2 tablespoons. (You should also taste the mixture intermittently and see if it needs more sugar; add as much as you think is appropriate.) Once it tasted just right, I scooped out about a third of the mixture into another bowl and place this bowl in the fridge.

To the rest of the cream cheese mixture (the 2/3rd remaining in the first bowl) I added the vanilla essence, butter and about three-quarters of the chocolate and mixed it all up with a spoon (don’t whip this). Then I took a little taste. It tasted like it needed more chocolate, so I added some more.

Cream cheese and chocolate mix I repeated this until I was satisfied that it tasted just right.

Now I was ready to start shaping the truffles. When you’re trying this, make sure you have enough works-space on your kitchen counter. I like sitting down while I do this, because it takes some time, so I usually move over to the floor because I feel more comfortable sitting cross-legged. You could move over to the dining table if you prefer. So I set the cream cheese mixture and the chocolate cream cheese mixture side by side on the floor.

Cream cheese and chocolate mix for trufflesI also placed a sheet of butter paper on a large plate next to these bowls.

Now I was ready for the fun part! I scooped out some of the chocolate mixture and shaped it into a sphere in my hand. Then I flattened it out on my hand like a mini chapathi or tortilla.

Shaping chocolate cream cheese trufflesThen, I scooped out a bit of the plain cream cheese mixture on to the centre of the ‘chocolate chapathi’:

Shaping chocolate cream cheese trufflesand carefully rolled the chocolate layer over the cream cheese centre, shaping the truffle into as perfect a sphere as possible. (I don’t have a photograph of the sphere-shaping bit because I needed both hands and by this time my other hand was covered in chocolate.)

Shaping chocolate cream cheese trufflesI repeated this until all the chocolate was used up:

Making chocolate cream cheese trufflesI was almost done…the last step was rolling the truffles in ground, toasted hazelnuts (you can also use cocoa). To do this, I placed the ground toasted hazelnuts in a bowl:

Then, I took each truffle and warmed the outside up by rolling it about in my hand. Next, I rolled the truffle about in the ground hazelnuts. Once its outside was coated, I placed the truffle in a little paper cup:

Chocolate Cream Cheese Truffle

I repeated this until all the truffles were coated, here they are:

Chocolate Cream Cheese TrufflesTa DA! They’re ready to be devoured! Rich dark chocolate truffles with soft cream cheese centres!

Chocolate Truffle with a Soft Cream Cheese Centre

Mmm..what a cheesy, chocolatey evening I had.

Categories
Chocolate Chocolate Truffles Food Recipes

Cointreau Chocolate Truffles

Cointreau chocolate truffles

This was my latest chocolate experiment: Cointreau Truffles!

How did I settle on this particular flavour? Well, I bought a whole bottle of Cointreau at the Delhi International Airport last month you see. And today, wanting to make a new type of truffle I looked about my kitchen, and my eyes fell upon the bottle. I was torn between trying out Cointreau truffles and red wine truffles; in the end this seemed like a better bet. It turned out to be a good choice; they were delicious!

 

Equipment you will need:

A cutting board and knife OR a food processor

2 medium-sized bowls

A grater or citrus peeler or vegetable peeler

2 plates

Parchment sheet or wax paper (at a pinch, you could use aluminium foil)

Little paper cups to put the truffles in, preferably orange paper cups

Silicone Chocolate Mold (optional)

 

Ingredients:

8 Oz (approx 225 g) good dark chocolate (at least 70-80 % cocoa solids)

1/2 cup cream (whipping cream in Canada or heavy cream or double cream elsewhere)

2 pinches of salt

1 tbsp Cointreau (you could probably also use Grand Marnier)

1 orange

A few tbsp of cocoa powder

 

Method:
1.Peel or grate the rind/peel of the orange. Get the half cup of cream to a gentle simmer and immediately turn off the heat. Add the orange zest to the cream and let it steep for about an hour.

2. In the meantime, chop up the chocolate on a cutting board into fine pieces with a large knife. This is the tiresome part of the recipe. I have a food processor, so I just break the chocolate up into individual squares and then throw it into the processor. The reason you want the chocolate broken up into fine bits is because you want it all to melt evenly when you pour in the hot cream. Throw the chocolate bits into a bowl.

Chopped up chocolate to make a ganache

3. Once the orange peel has steeped in the cream for about an hour, re-heat the cream again to a gentle simmer, and pour the hot cream through a strainer into the bowl with the chocolate. Using a ladle, make sure all the chocolate is covered by the cream.

Making a chocolate ganache for chocolate truffles

4. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Then add the Cointreau and salt, and delicately fold the mixture. It’s important not to be rough because then you will get air bubbles into the chocolate. That wouldn’t be good as you want the chocolate to taste smooth and rich. You might also break the ganache (see this post for more on this).

Gently mixing the chocolate ganache

Chocolate ganache

5. Once you have a smooth mixture (this is called chocolate ganache), place the bowl in the fridge for about half an hour, until it firms up. The length of time you will need to leave it in the fridge will depend on the temperature inside your fridge, so keep checking on it. You want the ganache to be just firmed up, but not hard.

How to shape chocolate truffles

(That cow looks like she wants some of that delicious ganache :P)

6. In the meantime, take out the plates and place a sheet of parchment or wax paper on each of them. Once the chocolate mixture is ready, take it out of the fridge and spoon out the chocolate in small portions onto the parcement or wax paper. The portions should be approximately the size you want the truffles to be.

Making assorted chocolate truffles

(As you can see, at this stage, things look pretty messy, but that’s ok. You will be able to roll them about in your hands and slowly work them into fairly smooth and nice looking spheres.)

7. Now, roll each scoop/portion of chocolate about in your hand until it is more or less spherical, then place it back on the parchment. I would recommend washing your hands periodically, while you do this, as you will get chocolate all over them, and it will be more difficult to shape the truffles if you’ve got melted chocolate on your hands. Also, the washing will help to cool your hands. The truth is, I have to wash my hands periodically anyway because I can’t resist licking some of the chocolate off every once in a while 😉

Masala chai/black-tea flavoured truffles

8. Once you’ve shaped all the truffles, take another bowl and put about 2 tbsp of cocoa powder in it. Take each truffle in your hand, roll it about for a second or two, just enough to warm the surface and then roll the truffle in the cocoa powder, until it is covered. Finally, place it in a paper cup. Repeat until all the truffles are done. I’ve heard it being said that this process can be messy and/or arduous; I didn’t think it was either. This was the sum-total of the mess I made:

Making chocolate truffles is not messy!

This is how your truffles should look:

Cointreau Chocolate Truffles

9. If you don’t like the slightly rustic look of the cocoa, you can also dip the shaped truffles into melted chocolate. That is, once you’ve shaped the truffles in Step 7, skip Step 8. Instead, place the truffles in the fridge to firm up and, in the meantime, melt some dark chocolate in a double boiler or a fondue pot. Then dip the firmed up truffles in the melted chocolate, and place the truffle on a tray lined with parchment or wax paper. Let the chocolate harden and enjoy!

Cointreau truffles coated in dark chocolate

You could sprinkle some ground almonds on top to compliment the orange-y flavour 🙂

Cointreau truffles

10. You can also make more professional looking truffles if you have a silicone mould, like this one:

Silicone mold for truffles

All you have to do with a mould like this is pour the ganache directly into it right after Step 4. Then place the mould in the refrigerator or freezer until the chocolate firms up, then pop the chocolates out of the mould.

Cointreau chocolate truffles

You can put the truffles in the fridge for two to three weeks.

They make for a great present, just put them in a nice box and voilà, you have a handmade personalized present! I, for one, know my mother would love this; if only she and I were in the same country 😦 I will make her a box for when she visits me though 🙂

I also like to make up a box of assorted flavours:

Homemade truffles as a gift

If you’d like to try making a box of assorted chocolates, you could look for recipes on the Internet, or just be playful and invent your own. Here are some of my own recipes: basic dark chocolate truffles, masala chai truffles, sugar-coated truffles with orange-cream cheese centres, truffles with cream cheese centres, or truffles with mint butter-cream centres.
Or look at this detailed post about how to make multiple flavoured truffles for a gift box.

Have fun truffling 🙂

Categories
Chocolate Chocolate Truffles Cooking Food General Recipes

Basic Dark Chocolate Truffles

So by now, I think it is fairly obvious that I love chocolate. However, truth be told, I’ve become sick of all the usual chocolate you can buy at the drug-store or supermarket- the likes of Lindt, Ghirardelli, Cadburys etc. I even, to be honest, am sort of over store-bought hazelnut butter- a.k.a. Nutella.

No hell has not frozen over, and no I have not been kidnapped by someone who is now pretending to be me on my blog so people don’t report me missing (if you are someone who is considering kidnapping me by the way, this tactic will never work, I talk to my parents and some close friends virtually everyday, so I would be reported missing if I didn’t answer my phone in 2 hours max.) “But Nutella is AWESOME” you exclaim or if you’re my mother or father, which you probably are if you’re reading this, you heave a sigh of relief, because until now you thought I was going to develop heart disease and diabetes and god knows what else at the very tender age of 29.

But don’t get too excited dear parents, I am NOT giving up chocolate. I am saying I am over this store-bought stuff because it’s too sweet and frankly not very good chocolate. If I could, I’d go eat pralines and truffles from Soma (this amazing chocolate store in the distillery district in Toronto) or Leonidas or Patchi or some other chocolate store that knows what they’re doing. BUT, the problem is, I couldn’t possibly afford to- considering how much chocolate I guzzle on a daily basis and considering I am but a poor doctoral candidate.

NOW I finally have the solution to this problem. Handmade, homemade truffles! And now that I’ve figured out how to make them, I simply cannot understand how I was ever able to eat that rubbish they call chocolate in supermarkets and drugstores.

In addition these truffles are the answer to my goldilocks-type problem with chocolate. My problem with most dark chocolate is that it’s not as creamy as milk chocolate; my problem with milk chocolate is that it isn’t chocolatey enough. Happily, one of the things that makes truffles magical is that they can be rich, creamy and smooth and ALSO have a strong chocolatey flavour.

If you’d like to discover true happiness as well, keep reading, because what follows, is a detailed narrative of how to make basic dark chocolate truffles.

Equipment you will need:

A cutting board and knife OR a food proccessor

2 medium sized bowls

2 plates

Parchment sheet or foil

Little paper cups to put the truffles in

Ingredients:

8 Oz (approx 225 g) good dark chocolate (at least 70-80 % cocoa solids)

1/2 cup cream (whipping cream in Canada or heavy cream or double cream elsewhere)

A dollop of butter (at room temp)

2 pinches of salt

1 tsp vanilla essence

A few tbsp of Cocoa powder

Method:

Chop up the chocolate on a cutting board into fine pieces with a large knife. This is the tiresome part of the recipe. I have a food processor, so I just break the chocolate up into individual squares and then throw it into the processor. The reason you want the chocolate broken up into fine bits is because you want it all to melt when you pour in the hot cream.

Throw the chocolate bits into a bowl. Next, get the half cup of cream just to a boil and immediately turn off the heat and pour the hot cream into the bowl with the chocolate. Using a ladle, make sure all the chocolate is covered by the cream.

Let it sit for 2-3 minutes and then delicately fold the mixture. It’s important not to be rough because then you will get air bubbles into the chocolate. That wouldn’t be good as you want the chocolate to taste smooth and rich.

Add the dollop of butter, vanilla essence and salt and mix gently. Place the bowl in the fridge for about an hour, until it firms up. In the meantime take out the plates and place two sheets of parchment or foil on them. Once the chocolate mixture is ready take it out of the fridge and spoon out the chocolate in small portions onto the parcement or foil. The portions should be approximately the size you want the truffles to be.

Place the plates in the fridge again for about 15 mins. Take the truffles out when they’re firmed up again and roll them about in your hand until they’re more or less spherical, then place them back on the parchment. You can also try to shape them as tear drops- but good luck with that, it’ll take patience. This part of the process is so much fun! I love it because the chocolate looks and smells delicious. I would recommend washing your hands periodically in between, as you will get chocolate all over them, and it will be more difficult to shape the truffles if you’ve got melted chocolate on your hands. Also, the washing will help to cool your hands.

Once you’ve shaped all the truffles, take another bowl and put about 2 tbsp of cocoa powder in it. Take each truffle in your hand, roll it about for a second or two, just enough to warm the surface and then roll the truffle in the cocoa powder, until it is covered. Then place it in a paper cup. Repeat until all the truffles are done.

Mmmm they will taste delicious. You can put them in the fridge for two weeks or more, but take them out a few hours before you serve them- so that they’re at room temperature.

These basic truffles were so good, that I’ve tried quite a few variations too, such as, dark chocolate truffles with hazelnut butter-cream filling; truffles with a hazelnut centre that are coated with toasted, crushed hazelnuts; and dark chocolate truffles with a hint of orange. I will post pictures and recipes of these variations soon!