Decadent Chocolate Truffles

Wow! It has been a while! I have allowed life (and a busted camera) to get in the way of my blogging but not my baking. But I am back, with a new camera and several new and tasty treats for you! First up and just in time for the holiday-treat-making-and eating-season is decadent chocolate truffles What better way to celebrate the holiday season than with cute littel truffles? Imagine a pure chocolate shell delicately hiding beneath it a rich, creamy and fudgey center. Want some yet? Stay with me.

I am not a candy maker and have yet to master my candy thermometer. One reason I love truffles is because you do not need to worry about temperature of boiling ingredients to produce a delicious holiday candy!I have used this truffle recipe several times (after trial and error with several others) without fail and they have turned out marvelous each and every time!The key to the success of this recipe is two fold. You need good, high quality chocolate since that is basically the only ingredient and secondly, you need to have some patience with melting the chocolate if you choose to dip them.

This recipe is one of my favorites because it is super simple to make, requires only a few common ingredients and produces a treat that is truly impressive. Now, you have a few options here. I choose to coat my truffles in melted chocolate but you could also roll the chilled balls in cocoa powder, nuts or powdered sugar among other things to make your life more simple. Since I chose to dip my truffles I had to ensure that the melted chocolate coating for them was tempered (see here for information about tempering chocolate).I have found that you can do this a few ways (google ‘tempering chocolate’ for more information) but really enjoy the method I describe below. I have yet to fail with melting my chocolate this way and it is too easy not to at least try.

The key to success with this method is patience! You must microwave the chocoalte in several short intervals at medium-power stirring after each interval.You do not want to overheat the chocolate or it could burn or  lose its temper and thus causing you to start over or dip the truffles in your untempered chocolate (if you burn it, toss it and start over).If your chocolate is untempered it will still taste great but will not firm up and will not remain firm at room temperature. You will need to keep the truffles in the fridge to keep the coating firm and take out about 30 minutes before serving so the chocolate truffle inside is creamy. This recipe is a mixture of a few recipes I have tried over the years but mainly is adapted from Ina here.

I rate this recipe a 9.5

Decadent Chocolate Truffles

4  oz good bittersweet chocolate (recommended: Lindt)
12   oz. pound good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Ghiradelli)
1  cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon prepared coffee or ¼ tsp instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract
*you can also add between 1-2 TBS flavored liquour (Grand Mariner, Baileys, etc) or 1 tsp flavored extract (mint, cherry, almond, etc) I do not.

Your choice:Confectioners’ sugar; Cocoa powder; Finely chopped nuts; or 12-14 oz chocolate for dipping (instructions below)

Chop the chocolates into small uniform pieces (the smaller the better) with a sharp knife. Place them in a heat-proof mixing bowl.In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it just boils.

Turn off and remove pan from heat for 20 seconds.Carefully pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and allow to sit for 30 seconds. Gently wisk the cream nd chocolates together until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the coffee (or espresso powder) and vanilla and any flaovirng if you are using.

Set aside at room temperature or in the fridge to firm  for 1 hour.

With 2 teaspoons, spoon round balls of the chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll each ball of chocolate in your hands to roughly make it round.

At this point you can roll in confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, chopped nuts, or any combination of the three. These will keep refrigerated for weeks, but serve them at room temperature.

If dipping: Place formed truffle balls on a parchement or waxed paper lined baking sheet.

Chill until firm or at least an hour.

When ready to dip. Finely chop your chocolate for coating (I used about 12-15 oz of chocolate). Place 12-13 oz chopped chocolate in a microwave save bowl and microwave for 30 second intervals at 50% power. Stir after each interval.

Continue with this method until chocolate is melted when stirred. Be careful NOT to overheat. Chocolate will keep its shape but will become smooth when stirred. Add the remaining 1-2oz chopped chocolate and stir until melted and mixture is smooth.

At this point remove truffles from fridge. You can place a small amount of melted chocolate in your hand and roll the truffle in it maiking sure to coat completely and then place back on the parchment baking sheet.

Alternately you could use a fork to dip the truffle into the melted chocolate and then back onto the baking sheet making sure to allow any access chocolate to drip off before placing on sheet.After all are coated allow to firm. If your chocolate has been tempered correctly they should firm within 5-8 minutes.

These can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge. Just remove about 30 minutes before serving so the truffle can become smooth and creamy.

Peppermint Oreo Bark

december-052

Look at that picture, how can you resist?

With all of the baking I do during the month of December, I love treats that require few ingredients, easy preperation and take minimal time from start to finish. Here is a no-bake treat that you are sure to love during this Holiday season. What better combination than Oreo cookies, peppermint and white chocolate? 

The hardest part for many will be melting the chocolate. Make sure you are melting very slowly using good quality white chocolate and not the white chips in the baking aisle. If you want you could  also use almond bark, candy melts or milk/semi-sweet chocolate. I really like the white chocolate in this recipe, it is not overly sweet and provides a creamy and smooth base without competing with the Oreo and peppermint flavors

This treat is perfect with a cup of hot cocoa and will be a treat loved by children and adults!

I rate this recipe a 9

Peppermint Oreo Bark
6-8 oz. white chocolate, chopped into pea size pieces
10 oz. Vanilla Almond Bark
1 TBS Crisco or Parafin Wax
1 cup Andes Peppermint Chips
10-15 Oreos broken into peices
 

Prepare a 13 inch rimmed cookie sheet by lining with Reynolds Quick Release aluminum foil. Set aside.
Melt the white chocolate chips, almond bark and Crisco in a heat safe bowl in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Stir after each interval and continue heating and stirring until smooth.
Sprinke 1/4 cup of the Andes Peppermint chips and 5 Oreo cookies (broken) over half of the baking sheet.
Gently pour the melted chocolate mixture odecember-044ver the Andes Peppermint chips and Oreos. Smooth with the back of a spoon (spray with PAM first). Evenly sprinkle the remaining Andes Peppermint chips and broken Oreos over the warm melted chocolate.
Chill until firm.
Remove from freezer/fridge and break into pieces.
Store in air tight container in a cool place.