Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chocolate Truffles

Since last week was all savory it's only fitting that we sweeten it up this week!  Plus every cocktail party needs dessert, right?  You have to have something to nibble on while you're sipping your Sauternes!

It doesn't get any easier, or more versatile, than truffles.  Pick your favorite ganache recipe (I like Ina's, of course) and after that the possibilities are endless.  I went with peppermint (crushed candies and then chopped finely in mini food processor) and cocoa powder (with a hint of cayenne pepper).

But you could go with toasted coconut, chopped nuts, sprinkles.....use your imagination.  Like I said, I like the Barefoot Contessa's Grand Marnier truffle base recipe, but you could always replace the Grand Marnier with a drop or two of peppermint extract, or almond extract, or even infuse the cream with some coffee beans.  Whatever tickles your fancy.

Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Truffles
Barefoot Contessa

1/2 pound good bittersweet chocolate such as Lindt
1/2 pound good semisweet chocolate such as Ghiradelli
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, optional
1 tablespoon prepared coffee, optional
1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract

Your choice of whatever you want to roll your truffles in!

Chop the chocolates finely with a sharp knife. Place them in a heat-proof mixing bowl.

Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just boils. Turn off the heat and allow the cream to sit for 20 seconds. Pour the cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the bowl with chocolate. With a wire whisk, slowly stir the cream and chocolates together until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the Grand Marnier, if using, coffee, and vanilla. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.

With 2 teaspoons, spoon round balls of the chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm. Roll each dollop of chocolate in your hands to roughly make a round ball. (I keep the palms of my hands slightly damp to keep the chocolate from sticking to me and making a huge mess!)  Roll in confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, or whatever you choose. These will keep refrigerated for weeks, but serve at room temperature.

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