Sunday, December 28th, 2008
9:13 pm - The Trouble with Truffles 3 - The Softening  
Previously on The Trouble with Truffles, things went swimmingly. Thus enabled, I decided to try some more experiments this time out. I mean, what could possibly go wrong? *

* I say this after reading an article about amateur scientists who are experimenting with genetic manipulation in their basement laboratories. At least the worst I ever did with my chemistry set was clear the house out with hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg gas). I wasn't trying to make no frankenbugs. **

** By coincidence, Bloom County is rerunning the set of strips wherein Oliver's dad gives him a chemistry set and hilarity ensues.

Anyway, back to the truffles. I tried three new flavors, maple, butterscotch, and caramel, using my usual recipe.

Maple centers -

chips: white chocolate chips
flavoring: ¾ tsp of Mapleine (a maple flavored extract)

These came out well. I noticed that the recommendations for use indicated that the extract is highly concentrated, so I used less than I do for other extracts. I coated them with white chocolate.

Butterscotch centers -

chips: butterscotch chips

The first time I tried to make these, I set the chips to melt in the microwave using the same settings I use for the various kinds of chocolate chips. When I pulled them out, they weren't melted. Put 'em back in for thirty seconds, still nothing. Heated again, no joy. And so on for another three minutes, by which time the chips at the bottom of the bowl had scorched. I had to throw them out. Meanwhile, it occurred to me that butterscotch morsels are not made from cocoa butter, but another fat entirely, and thus have different melting properties. I also decided I should stir them more during the process. The second time they melted just fine.

Caramel centers -

chips: white chocolate chips + caramel chips
flavoring: 1½ tsp of vanilla

I ran across a bag of Kraft caramel chips at the store, and decided to see if they would work like the chocolate chips. Fresh off the butterscotch debacle, I was careful about melting them. The problem was that after I combined all the ingredients, the mixture refused to set up. Caramels have a much softer texture than chocolate to start with, and adding cream cheese to them made for a very nice dessert topping. I wound up combining the entire batch with a batch of plain, white chocolate truffle, hoping the cocoa butter would stiffen things up a little. And it did, although the resulting centers were still far softer than usual. I stuck them in the freezer to harden them up for dipping, and once they were solidly inside the hardened chocolate they were fine.

I again did a half-batch of sugar-free truffles for my mother, this time using Hershey's sugar-free baking chunks (which I found at Job Lot of all places). One thing I noticed while trying to roll the centers into balls was that they were harder to work with. The mixture tends to break apart when you first start rolling it between you hands, and it takes a little more pressure to finally get it shaped.