Sunday, December 23rd, 2007
7:30 pm - The Trouble with Truffles, Redux...  
Done! The truffles are dipped and packed into eight tins, each containing about a pound of truffles. Yikes!

Dipping is still annoying. I am getting better at it. One thing that helped was adding a little shortening to the dipping mixture to thin it a little. To counteract that, the entire set of cheap plastic dipping tools that I bought last year broke. I wasn't exactly stressing them, either, which is what really made it annoying. I will especially miss the two-tined dipping fork that I'd finally managed to do some good work with before it broke. I also finally got the hang of drizzling accent coatings on the truffles (so's you can tell one type from another) on the last batch dipped. Sigh.

The basic recipe is an adaptation of Philly fudge, i.e., mix some melted chocolate with some cream cheese, and add flavorings. The original mocha truffle recipe was posted at b.org by beathen (Spike's Bitches 20, #2153).

I've adapted it into a general recipe for making a number of different flavors of centers:

Truffle Centers

12 oz. chocolate chips (1 standard bag*)
4 oz. cream cheese - softened (½ standard package)
flavoring, as needed
½ lb. candy coating

* Not all bags of chips are 12 oz. Ghiradelli, and even some Nestle types are only 11.5 oz. It doesn't seem to affect the outcome. As long as it's close.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, stove or in a double boiler. Cream the cream cheese together with any flavorings (and food coloring, if desired) with a mixer, then add the melted chips and beat some more until well mixed and smooth. Let it cool. When it's cool enough to handle, form 1-inch balls and place on wax paper on a cookie sheet). Put the centers in the fridge to cool until solid. Melt the candy coating (see below). Dip the centers and let cool.

This makes between 2-3 dozen truffles depending on the size. That means if you do an assortment of flavors, the numbers build up pretty quickly. I usually keep them in the fridge to keep them fresh and so they don't get too soft.



Notes:

- I use a microwave to melt the chips, and it takes about 2½ minutes at 40% power on mine.

- Always add any liquid flavorings to the cream cheese, not the melted chocolate. Adding water to the melted chocolate can cause it to seize.

- I use a double boiler to melt the coating, because it keeps it warm though the whole dipping process. I found that adding a couple of tablespoons of solid shortening to the candy coating makes it easier to work with while dipping, but that's optional.

- 12 oz of chips plus 4 oz of cream cheese equals about 1 pound of truffle centers. An easy rule of thumb is that if you want to give a pound of truffles to each person on your list, then make that many batches of truffles. If you want to give a half pound, make half as many batches as people. Except for coconut, since that actually makes about 1½ pounds.


Variations:

Mocha centers -

chips: Hershey's Special Dark chips
flavoring: 1½ tbsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 tsp of hot water


Deep chocolate centers -

chips: 60% cacao chips
flavoring: 1 tsp of vanilla

I had trouble with this last time, and even this time, some of the cocoa butter separated. It's probably just that these particular chips have the highest fat content of the ones I tried. I might do just as well using Hershey's Special Dark.


Milk chocolate centers -

chips: milk chocolate chips
flavoring: 1 tsp of vanilla


Mint centers -

chips: white chocolate chips
flavoring: 1½ tsp of peppermint extract

White chocolate makes for a very smooth base.


Coconut centers -

chips: white chocolate chips
flavoring: 1 x 7 oz package of shredded coconut

I whirled the coconut in a food processor to chop the shreds even finer. I also needed a bigger bowl, because the coconut almost doubles the volume. I wound up with five dozen coconut centers.


Orange centers -

chips: white chocolate chips
flavoring: 1½ tsp of orange extract

I also added a little red and yellow food coloring to help tell these apart from some of the other white centers.


Raspberry centers -

chips: white chocolate chips
flavoring: 1½ tsp of raspberry extract

I also added a little red color. The ingredient list is what I'm going to use next time. I didn't have raspberry extract, so I tried using 1 tbsp of raspberry syrup, which added very little flavor. So I went and bought some extract, and added 1 tsp. They taste fine now, but they could be better. (In a side experiment, I tried shaping these by stuffing the mixture into an ice cube tray. Bad idea. Let us never speak of it again.)


Sugar-free centers -

chips: Hershey's Sugar-free chocolate (individually wrapped pieces)

I added a 3 oz package of the chocolate to 1 oz of cream cheese. It turns out to be too small a quantity to work with easily. I'll double it next year if mom likes them. Rather than dipping them, I rolled the balls in unsweetened cocoa (the traditional way to coat a truffle).


---
I made one other candy concoction. When I was done with the milk chocolate dip, I dumped the remainder onto a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet, and spread it out with a silicone spatula. Then I poured some roughly crushed malted milk pieces (available at A.C. Moore) on top of it, lightly pressed it into the chocolate, and put it in the fridge to set. Then I cut it into pieces, and bagged 'em to add to the food baskets. Instant malted milk bark!

Now my kitchen looks like someone set off a bomb at the Wonka factory...


 
 
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Freyalibkitty on December 24th, 2007 - 05:19 am
Yum!! I can see you are a good person to be friends with. Nothing to do with chocolate. Nothing.

I, on the other hand, am grinchlike and tired this year, so my friends only get a gorp-like substance. It's a lot easier than truffles, but not nearly as yummy.

Thanks for sharing the recipes. Assuming I become less grinchlike in future holiday seasons, I think I might just take advantage of this.
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arlissarliss on December 26th, 2007 - 09:09 pm
Now my kitchen looks like someone set off a bomb at the Wonka factory...

Tom: Once I fell in a vat of chocolate, once I fell in a vat of chocolate...

Dick: Wait, you fell in a vat of chocolate? What did you do?

Tom: I yelled "FIRE!"

Dick: But--chocolate. Why would you yell fire?

Tom: Cause nobody would come to help if I yelled, "chocolate!"

--He don't know us too good, do he?

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