Chocolatier Gail Warner of Bridge Street Chocolates shared these tips for top-notch truffles at home:
1. Take your time. Prep all ingredients and tools before beginning the process.
2. Buy quality chocolate and cocoa powder, available at many specialty markets or your local chocolate shop.
3. It’s OK to wait until the next day to roll the truffles. Cover ganache with plastic wrap and refrigerate. If it gets too sticky while rolling, chill for a short time and start rolling again.
4. Gloves help when rolling truffles. Dust gloves with cocoa powder to reduce sticking.
They come in flavors like champagne, red velvet, strawberry cheesecake and crème brûlée. They’re small in size, big in flavor, and they scream, “Valentine’s Day!”
“I think people think of truffles like, ‘Wow. You really love me,’” described Gail Warner of Bridge Street Chocolates in Phoenixville, who handcrafts “so many different types,” including “a little bear truffle with ganache in its belly.”
“Love is a work of art” as they say, and so are her truffles. At the shop, she pipes ganache into an outer shell. At home, follow her instructions for a basic version of chocolate spirit-infused truffles. Or skip the liqueur and “even the kids can help.”
If bacon’s your heart’s desire, Godshall’s Quality Meats in Franconia Township shared a “melt-in-your-mouth” truffle, combining bacon, dark chocolate and cream cheese.
Another match made in heaven: olive oil-sourdough truffles from the new book “Bean-to-Bar Chocolate.” They’re dipped in chocolate and coated in breadcrumbs.
“I love the breadcrumb aspect. I think it’s really unique and adds a nice crunch to it,” said author Megan Giller. “And I also think the olive oil adds a nice, velvety texture.”
No doubt, you’ll be smitten.
“That’s a recipe from one of my favorite chocolate makers in the country called Fruition,” which “is both a chocolate maker and a chocolatier,” she explained. “Usually, those are two very different skills that are divided up.”
The award-winning workshop roasts and grinds cocoa beans, transforming them into chocolate bars plus tempting treats like truffles.
“What’s not to like about truffles?” Giller wondered. “They’re delicious.”
Chocolate or Chocolate Spirit-Infused Truffles
2 pounds semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons liqueur (optional: Chambord, Grand Marnier, etc.)
Dark cocoa powder/powdered sugar
Warm the heavy whipping cream until steaming. Add chocolate to a heat-proof mixing bowl. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate and let sit for 20 seconds. With a handheld whisk, slowly mix chocolate and cream together (2 to 3 minutes). Continue mixing slowly and add the vanilla (and optional liqueur). Pour mixture in baking trays lined with parchment, approximately 1-inch thick. Let cool in the fridge until the mixture is firm (at least an hour). When the mixture is firm, use two tablespoons - one to scoop, the other to push the chocolate onto the lined parchment. Roll the scooped chocolate (ganache) in the palm of your hands and create a round ball (latex gloves). Roll truffles in cocoa power with a blend of powdered sugar.
RECIPE COURTESY OF BRIDGE STREET CHOCOLATES
Chocolate Bacon Cream Cheese Truffles
Decadent dark chocolate that will melt in your mouth.
8 ounces whipped cream cheese
4 slices of Godshall’s Turkey Bacon, diced very fine and lightly pan-browned
8 ounces dark chocolate buds or wafers for candy making
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup chocolate hazelnut spread
Toppings: sprinkles, pretzels, cookies or peanuts
Place whipped cream cheese into a large bowl. Use a double broiler to melt half of the chocolate. Stir in the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, hazelnut spread, bacon and vanilla extract. Pour the melted chocolate into the cream cheese mixture and fold until blended. Put plastic wrap directly on the surface and chill in the fridge for approximately 35 minutes. Using a small spoon or ice-cream scoop, portion out truffles and place on wax paper. Melt the remaining chocolate and begin pouring it over the truffles; spread with spoon. While the chocolate is melted, it will act as an adhesive for the toppings of your choice, so decorate each truffle right after returning to parchment. Allow chocolate to set before serving. Keep chilled up to three days. Enjoy!
RECIPE COURTESY OF WWW.GODSHALLS.COM
Olive Oil–Sourdough Truffles
Recipe from Fruition Chocolate
Yield: 30 truffles
In her book “Bean-to-Bar Chocolate,” Megan Giller writes...
After moving to New York City, I learned quickly that one of the best places to escape was upstate New York. One of the main reasons? Fruition Chocolate. Visit the bean-to-bar maker’s store in Shokan and you’ll find all sorts of deliciousness, including a rotating selection of truffles. Recently I was wowed by these truffles, which incorporate two unusual ingredients - olive oil and sourdough - into a delicious treat: The olive oil makes the ganache super creamy, and the entire truffle is rolled in sourdough breadcrumbs.
Fruition’s Bryan Graham uses his Hispaniola bar, made with cocoa from the Dominican Republic, in this recipe, but it works well with any fruity chocolate. Also be sure to use high-quality extra-virgin olive oil (think Spanish); since it’s one of only a few ingredients, it makes a big difference here. You can use store-bought breadcrumbs instead of making your own, but be sure to get fresh and preferably locally made ones instead of the packaged-and-preserved variety.
If you’re sick of tempering chocolate but want to make truffles, this recipe might be for you. You’ll still have to temper chocolate to make the ganache, but below the standard recipe, I’ve provided an alternative way to coat the truffles in chocolate without tempering yet more of the sweet stuff.
For the ganache:
8¾ ounces dark chocolate (70-percent cocoa), chopped
¾ cup, plus 5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
To coat the truffles:
About 6 slices sourdough bread
1 pound dark chocolate (70-percent cocoa)
Pastry bag (for a DIY version, see chef’s tips below)
For the ganache, temper the chocolate following the instructions below. Stir the oil into the tempered chocolate and blend well (preferably with an immersion blender, but by hand will work too). The ganache will be very liquidy. Place in the refrigerator and let chill for 2 to 4 hours, until it’s firm but not solid. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the ganache to a pastry bag and pipe into quarter-size balls on the baking sheet. As you pipe, keep the bag about 1/4 inch above the paper so it doesn’t touch or stick to the paper. Cover the balls with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until firm, 1 to 2 hours. Using your hands, roll each rough ball into a more-rounded ball. Some people like to wear gloves here, because this step is kind of sticky and messy. (Sorry, not sorry.) Place in the freezer overnight to harden.
The next day, when you’re ready to finish the truffles, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cut the sourdough into 1-inch chunks and place on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until dry, about 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pulse the toasted bread in a food processor until you have small crumbs, then pour the crumbs onto the lined baking sheet, spreading them out evenly.
Temper the chocolate for the coating (see below). Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. Take the truffles out of the freezer and drop them, one at a time, into the warm tempered chocolate. Using a fork to guide it, roll the ball over once so that it’s completely coated in the melted chocolate. Balance it on the fork, bouncing or shaking it lightly to remove any extra chocolate, then wipe the bottom of the fork against the edge of the bowl to remove any remaining extra chocolate. Roll the ball in the bread crumbs to coat. Transfer to the lined baking sheet. Let the truffles sit at room temperature until the chocolate coating is set, which should take 5 minutes or less. Enjoy!
To coat the ganache in untempered chocolate: Before removing the balls from the freezer, melt the 1 pound of dark chocolate in a microwave or double boiler and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix well. Coat the truffles as described. If you go this route, store the truffles in the freezer (see the chef’s tips below), as the untempered chocolate will bloom quickly if it’s stored at room temperature. (Bloom is a whitish appearance and chalky texture caused by poor storage or care.)
Chef’s tips: Buy pastry bags or make a DIY pastry bag with a gallon-size freezer bag. For either type of bag, place one bottom corner inside a large measuring cup or pitcher. Fold the top of the bag down over the edge of the cup. Spoon the ganache into the bag until it fills the cup. Unfold the edges of the bag and lift the bag out of the cup. Push the ganache or dough all the way down. If you’re using a pastry bag, use a twist tie or rubber band to close it; if you’re using a freezer bag, seal it, and then use scissors to snip off a tiny piece of the corner, making an opening about 1/4 inch across. Voila!
Truffles will last up to two weeks when stored at room temperature and up to six months when frozen (do not store them in the refrigerator). If you’re storing them in the freezer, keep in mind that transitioning them into and out of the cold more slowly cuts down on condensation. Here’s how to do it: Make sure the shells have completely hardened before placing them in a Ziploc freezer bag. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal it, and then put it inside yet another bag, squeezing the air out of that one too. Refrigerate for 24 hours; then put in the freezer. When you’re ready to unfreeze the shells, first defrost them in the fridge for 24 hours. Then take them out and let warm to room temperature before unwrapping them.
How to temper chocolate:
I thought chocolate was always in a good mood, but it turns out it can lose its temper. (I know, I know, I’m probably the millionth person to make that joke.) What exactly does it mean to temper chocolate, and why is it important? I like artisan candy maker Liddabit Sweets’ analogy: To construct a sturdy building, you want to use bricks that are high quality and all roughly the same size. Well, chocolate is partially made of cocoa butter, which is crystalline, and in this case, you want all the crystals to be the right kind and about the same size (Form V, if you want to get technical). This is the effect of tempering. As a result, tempered chocolate will be shelf-stable, with a nice snap and sheen. Untempered chocolate will be dull and mottled and will bloom easily.
2 pounds chocolate, chopped
Instant-read digital or infrared thermometer
Chef’s tip: I highly recommend buying an infrared thermometer, which will tell you the temperature of anything (especially chocolate!) in less than a second. An instant-read digital thermometer will also work. Don’t make the same mistake I did when I first started working with chocolate: Avoid old-school candy thermometers and meat thermometers. Chocolate is finicky and requires exact temperatures, quickly.
So how do you temper chocolate? I like to use the seeding method, which involves the following steps.
Start with a cool room (at most 70 to 72 degrees) and a large amount of chocolate. The more chocolate you have, the easier it is to temper. Let’s say 2 pounds. You will be melting all of the crystals (Form V and all others) out of the chocolate and starting fresh. To do so, using a double boiler or a microwave, melt two thirds of the chocolate (11/3 pounds) to: Dark chocolate: 113 degrees; Milk chocolate: 106 degrees; White chocolate: 104 degrees.
If you’re using a double boiler, remove it from the heat. “Seed” the melted chocolate by adding the last third of the chocolate (2/3 pound) to it. Make sure the seed chocolate hasn’t bloomed and is in temper. Stir with your spatula until it’s all completely melted and one uniform mass; it should get super shiny. The seeded chocolate has all of those Form V crystals in it, and they’re multiplying through the rest of the chocolate like wildfire as you stir and the temperature drops. You want the temperature to reach: Dark chocolate: 90 degrees; Milk chocolate: 88 degrees; White chocolate: 86 degrees.
At this point you should have 2 pounds of tempered chocolate to use for bonbons and other confections. Congrats! Test it by dipping half of a small strip of parchment paper in it and letting it cool (scrape the extra chocolate off the piece of paper on the lip of the bowl after you dip). If the chocolate takes a while to dry and sticks to the parchment, it’s not tempered (dang!) and you’ll have to try again. If it’s tempered, it should be shiny and dry quickly; plus, if you touch it, your finger won’t leave an imprint. Tempered chocolate should come off the parchment paper easily. Use the tempered chocolate quickly, though it will hold its temperature pretty well - at least long enough for you to use it in mouthwatering recipes like Olive Oil-Sourdough Truffles.
Troubleshooting: If the melted chocolate has dropped to the appropriate temperature but there are still chunks of unmelted chocolate in your bowl, you have two options: Fish them out of place the bowl in the microwave and heat it for 5 to 10 seconds to warm up the chocolate a bit more. If the temperature is still pretty high and all of your seeds have already melted, you can add a few more. Ideally, though, you want to add them all at once.
EXCERPTED FROM “BEAN-TO-BAR CHOCOLATE” © BY MEGAN GILLER, PHOTOGRAPHY © BY JODY HORTON, USED WITH PERMISSION FROM STOREY PUBLISHING.