Archives for posts with tag: truffles

Last year we thought we ruined the chocolates and they were perfect. This year we got lazy and paid the price…

We were both over whelmed, feeling the stress of the holidays and decided to try and be nice to ourselves during the chocolate making process. We sat on the couch and talked now and then, we ate three meals of real food and there may have been wine. And there may also have been chocolate that wasn’t well tempered. The problem is, you don’t know how the tempering process went until you’re 10 hours in and there’s no going back. It was time to take the chocolates out of the molds and well, they didn’t come out. There was mild panic as we tried again and then as the realization sunk in that they might not come out at all the real panic began. After some freezer sessions and some serious banging of the molds outside where we could make more noise, we finally got (almost) all of the chocolates out of the molds. They weren’t perfect, but at that point at least they existed and we new that our friends & family would appreciate the story, appreciate that we tried to enjoy the process and most of all appreciate the fact that they still tasted amazing!

The adventure begin early this year - testing various combinations for the centers. Here are two versions using Apple Cider Syrup. One was apple cider caramel and the other an apple cider, vanilla and white chocolate ganache. We went with the ganache - aka Apple Pie Alamode (although I forgot to add the cinnamon to the final batch).

The adventure begin early this year – testing various combinations for the centers. Here are two versions using Apple Cider Syrup. One was apple cider caramel and the other an apple cider, vanilla and white chocolate ganache. We went with the ganache – aka Apple Pie A la mode (although I forgot to add the cinnamon to the final batch).

Next up - my favorite chocolate combination - Passion Fruit! I tried four, passion fruit gelato jell and the most incredible passion fruit jam. Each with white and milk chocolate. The passionfruit jam with milk chocolate was the clear winner (and I think the overall chocolate winner of the year, but I'm biased)

Next up – my favorite chocolate combination – Passion Fruit! I tried four: passion fruit gelato jell and the most incredible passion fruit jam, each with white and milk chocolate. The passion fruit jam with milk chocolate was the clear winner (and I think the overall chocolate winner of the year, but I’m biased)

The four centers: Apple Pie A la Mode, Passion Fruit, Burnt (really burnt - oops) Caramel, and a Dark Milk Chocolate to pair with the Honey Roasted Peanut Butter

The four centers: Apple Pie A la Mode, Passion Fruit, Burnt (really burnt – oops) Caramel, and a Dark Milk Chocolate to pair with the Honey Roasted Peanut Butter

Five pounds of beautiful bittersweet chocolate.

Five pounds of beautiful bittersweet chocolate.

Four molds at the ready.

Four molds at the ready.

Getting there - Shells have been set, fillings are in, sealing them and then futile attempts to release them are still to come.

Getting there – Shells have been set, fillings are in, sealing them and then futile attempts to release them are still to come.

While the chocolates set, we used the extra to dip Swedish Fish (addictive!), pretzels and apricots. And to make bark: peppermint candy, dried nuts & fruit, and cashew, toffee & sea salt.

While the chocolates set, we used the extra to dip Swedish Fish (addictive!), pretzels and apricots. And to make bark: peppermint candy, dried nuts & fruit, and cashew, toffee & sea salt.

We blame the wine, for this year's not so perfectly tempered chocolates.

We blame the wine, for this year’s not so perfectly tempered chocolates.

My other favorite part - packaging them up!

My other favorite part – packaging them up!

To continue the chocolate theme, I had a Hot Chocolate Bar set-up for friends as they came to pick-up their chocolates.

To continue the chocolate theme, I had a Hot Chocolate Bar set-up for friends as they came to pick-up their chocolates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yes, it’s that time of year again. Time for my good friend Jess and I to commit ourselves to chocolate making for one full weekend. It’s daunting every time and yet, I love it every time. It’s always more work than we remembered and it’s always more rewarding too. One of my favorite parts is deciding on our many flavors and we hit some winners this year!

But first things first, seven pounds of chocolate need to be chopped before it can be tempered and turned into shells. This year I borrowed and new weapon from a friend and I still had to chop a block every other day but each one sure went a lot faster!

ready to chopNext, up heading to Vancouver – I even had snow on the drive to help set the festive mood – and getting all set-up. We were both exhausted from a couple hard weeks so tried to take our time, lay everything out and only do things one at a time (and I still forgot to steep the chai in the cream for the chai truffles and tried putting the wrong filling in the wrong mold – but we managed to catch both things early and fix them!).

ready to go

Each mold with the makings for the centers

3 types of ganache and 1 vegan caramel waiting to be put into the chocolates

3 types of ganache and 1 vegan caramel waiting to be put into the chocolates

Next up the couple hours it takes to temper the chocolate. It has to be heated to the correct temp, then lowered back down and then brought up to the magical two degree range we then have to keep it at for the many, many hours it takes to finish the molds. We have learned to use as much chocolate as we can afford since the increased volume is easier to keep at a steady temperature.

Step one, coat the molds with chocolate. Step two, fill with ganache. Step three seal up the molds with more chocolate. (each step has to sit and set-up for an hour or so).

Molds all sealed up

Molds all sealed up

Jess has the hardest job - gently scraping the excess chocolate off (without breaking any) so we can release them from the molds.

Jess has the hardest job – gently scraping the excess chocolate off (without breaking any) so we can release them from the molds.

We spent quite a few hours this year convinced we’d lost temper on the chocolate and sure they were all going to be streaky and ugly. There was total joy (and maybe a few tears) when we unmolded the first batch and discovered that they were perfect!

Vegan burnt caramel

Vegan burnt caramel

This was the other saga of the chocolate making – my quest for vegan caramel. I originally wanted caramel that was soft enough to be a good center, but hard enough that we could cut it and dip it into the chocolate. I failed on all six tries. Luckily I saved this batch of burnt caramel – it just tasted too good to toss. We piped it into our new mold and it ended up being the best chocolate of the season! Gotta love (and trust in) happy accidents.

Here are our other creations:

White chocolate peppermint

White chocolate peppermint

Milk chocolate caramel hazlenut

Milk chocolate caramel hazelnut

Dark milk chocolate chai

Dark milk chocolate chai

We also dipped vegan peanut butter balls, pretzels and a few swedish fish into the chocolate.

pretzels and pb balls

And, we’ve learned to use all the excess chocolate to make tasty bark – another way to play with new and tasty flavors.

This year we had cranberry, macadamia nut & white chocolate; toffee, cashews & bacon salt and "kitchen sink bark" with the rest of the white chocolate, macadamia nuts, cashews and a few hazelnuts.

This year we had cranberry, macadamia nut & white chocolate; toffee, cashews & bacon salt and “kitchen sink bark” with the rest of the white chocolate, macadamia nuts, cashews and a few hazelnuts.

The next day was my other favorite part – packaging up all our pretty chocolates!

All this stuff and I stuck to simple white boxes with either red or green bakers twine.

All this stuff and I stuck to simple white boxes with either red or green bakers twine.

The vegan box (peanut butter balls and cardamom caramels)

The vegan box (peanut butter balls and cardamom caramels)

ptrezel boxsampler box

And finally, the best part of all. Giving these treasures out to friends and family!

Well that and starting to think up possibilities for next year 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s that time of year, early summer and the end of strawberry & rhubarb season. Thanks to my CSA I had a bit of both on hand. I like the flavor of rhubarb, but really don’t like the texture and have never cooked with it before. Some kind of strawberry rhubarb crisp or pie was the obvious choice, but I didn’t want to make something with pieces of rhubarb in it.

So… I ignored the rhubarb and made this strawberry cake from smitten kitchen:

Then this morning I went strawberry picking with a friend. The bushes were pretty much picked out, but we managed a couple pounds each. Since my freezer is already pretty well stocked with frozen berries I decided these should be jam. I had just enough for a batch of fresh strawberry jam! Summer stored away in jars to last all year long, yum!

So… two rounds of strawberries and that rhubarb was still mocking me.

I’d recently been thinking that I wanted to experiment more with new flavors of ganache for truffles… why not rhubarb? I do like fruit (or in this case tart veggies) with my chocolate… I hunted around a bit online and found a couple recipes that at least gave me a starting point. I used this one for the base of the rhubarb puree (though I added less sugar and on a whim a bit of grated ginger). Since I was already playing with a couple new things why not make them vegan? I used almond milk instead of cream (and left out the corn syrup and butter – those don’t belong in ganache!). The puree is super tasty and I’m happy to have extra to use for something else. I don’t know that you’d guess the truffles are rhubarb, but it’s a nice tart fruity contrast to the dark chocolate. I’ll call them a success.

I’m thinking the perfect dessert would be a tart crust and a layer of the rhubarb ganache topped with the rest of the rhubarb puree. Maybe next rhubarb season…

When I found this recipe for nutella truffles I couldn’t resist.

Nutella, bittersweet chocolate, liqueur, cream, vanilla & a little butter… a winning combination.

Chocolate, nutella, cream & butter melting together…

… into a beautiful ganache

Add the liqueur and vanilla and let it set-up and then its ready to roll.

Final step is rolling the truffles in crushed, toasted hazelnuts.

One of my favorite secrets is how easy rolled truffles are to make. And while these were really tasty, the nutella gets lost completely. Someday I’ll learn that nutella will always get overpowered by bittersweet chocolate and I might as well keep things simple. But you still can’t go wrong with chocolate and hazelnuts in any form.