Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Baking - Part 3

Yesterday wasn't really 'baking' on my part. My friend Mary came over to bake one of her holiday cookie batches and kept me company while I made my Chocolate Truffles (photo of completed truffles plus some of the other holiday treats). The recipe I used yesterday comes from the Time-Life "The Good Cook: Candy" cookbook. I've had the entire series since the early 1980's. I doubled the Vanilla Truffles recipe (on p 155 of the Candy cook book) recipe this year. Modifications to this recipe include:
  • doubling the recipe
  • using a mixture of 4 oz of Belgian chocolate and 12 oz of Hershey's Semi-Sweet chocolate chips
  • the method for refrigeration prior to forming the truffles
  • using three types of coating material:
    • finely chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, or other)
    • 4 Tbsp cocoa sifted together with 1 Tbsp powdered sugar
    • granulated sugar
  • using a melon baller and small spoon to form the truffles before hand rolling them
Ingredients for truffles:
  • 16 oz semisweet chocolate (recipe says use milk or semi-sweet but I've always used semi-sweet)
  • 9 Tbsp heavy or whipping cream (I use "heavy whipping" cream as labeled in some grocery stores)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Preparation of truffles:
  1. Find a ceramic bowl deep enough to hold the chocolate AND fit tightly on a pan that you will use to boil water. Note that the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.
  2. After bringing the water to a boil, turn the heat off and put the bowl on top of the pan.
  3. Stir the chocolate occasionally (spatula works best) until all of it has melted. Do not let water get into the chocolate.
  4. While the chocolate is melting, bring the cream to just below the boiling point in a small pan (small bubbles will form around the edges) and add the vanilla after removing the pan from the heat.
  5. Once all the chocolate is melted, gradually add the tepid cream/vanilla mixture to the chocolate while stirring with a spatula to blend the cream gradually into the chocolate.
  6. Let the blended chocolate, vanilla and cream mixture cool until slightly above room temperature and then whip until glossy with a wire whisk or spatula. The texture of the mixture will change and you will notice it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Scrape the mixture out into a pan (I used a 7-1/2" x 11" x 2" corning dish) and chill until semi-hard. Note that chilling time will vary depending on the size of the pan and I'm not really sure how long it took to reach the correct consistency.
  7. Use a melon baller to scoop out rounded dollops of the chocolate mixture and drop onto the various coating mixtures. (Use a small spoon to scoop the mixture out of the melon baller.)
  8. Roll the chocolate around on the coating mixture and then roll into round balls. Other possibilities besides the three listed above include coconut, sprinkles, and whatever else you can think of.
  9. Place the rolled, coated truffles in candy papers (in the DC area, a good source is Little Bitts Shop in the Wheaton Triangle; phone 301.933.2733) and store in tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. Use wax paper between layers.
  10. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving to allow them to warm to room temperature.

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