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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. 

And then, all that was left was one lonely half-truffle. If it looks half-eaten, that’s because it is 😛 I did it for you all, so you can see what the centers look like 😉

Mint Chocolate Truffle

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
Adventure Chocolate Food Reviews

Wonderful Chocolate Truffles in the Mid-West

I don’t want to sound like a pompous ass or anything. Really, I don’t.

You’re wondering why I am leading with this. You’ll know in a second.

So here goes: I’ve been to Switzerland more times than I can remember, lived in Germany and traveled around in Austria, France and Italy. And of course, I’ve eaten tonnes of chocolate in all these places. They are all known for making delicious chocolate, and I’ve had some exquisite chocolate in most of them. However, if you asked me where I’ve had the best chocolate truffles in the world, I’d have to say, and I promise that I am not doing this for shock value, the mid-west. Yes, you read that correctly, in the mid-west, of America. And no, I don’t mean Chicago. No, I mean non-urban, super-polite, sickeningly nice, mid-west America.

Where in the mid-west? Well, unfortunately, the place which sells these delicious truffles is sort of inconveniently located. It’s on the way from Ann Arbor to Chicago. It’s this little place called “The Chocolate Garden”. Here are the store’s contact details:

2691 Friday Road

Coloma, MI 49038-9712,

(269) 468-9866

To be fair, there are a few things wrong with the place. First, the name is awful because it’s utterly unimaginative. Second, the store itself isn’t particularly nicely done up or anything. Third, the truffles aren’t cheap- at least they’re not cheap if you’re a poor grad student. They’re about 3$ a piece. But, they are GOOD!

One upside is that the store is by a vineyard. We arrived there around sunset the second time we stopped there, and it’s was a beautiful sight.

Sunset glow on the vineyard
Driveway leading to the store; an abandoned barn.

I should have prefaced this review with something, so as not to be misleading you. So let me qualify the statement now. It’s perfectly possible that I am building this up precisely because I found these truffles in an unassuming store in the unassuming mid-west. Maybe the story, the whole process of finding it off the highway, wandering in with low expectations and then having my mind-blown (quite metaphorically of course), made the truffles more flavourful to my tongue. I love stories you see. More than anything in the world, quite possibly even as much as I love chocolate (if you’re thinking I contradicted myself here, I did no such thing you little nit-picker, you! Chocolate is not of this world, it is divine. As for cats, they’re ueber intelligent alien-super-beings). And it wouldn’t be quite as delightful a story if I’d found these truffles in a store in Geneva, or somewhere in Belgium. So, maybe they aren’t, objectively speaking, if one can ever be objective about such things, the best truffles I’ve had. But they were darned good, and if you’re driving by, you should stop by.