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August 2011 Daring Bakers: Chocolate Truffles

A couple of months ago I felt like it was going to be a big challenge for me to make phyllo for my homemade baklava for the Daring Baker’s Challenge. I was so pleasantly surprised to find out that phyllo was not nearly as difficult as I’d imagined it would be. But this month was a completely different story. We were challenged by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives, and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?! to try our hands at making our own chocolates! And no simple chocolates would do, we needed to temper our own chocolate! Eeek! There’s a reason my culinary program offers an entire class on tempering chocolate…because it can be quite tempermental! Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement, but I think you get the idea that tempering chocolate isn’t exactly a walk in the park.

Before I did anything, I went to Google to find out everything I could on the method for tempering chocolate. And since I still wanted more info, I then went to Borders and got myself a full book on tempering chocolates (at 25% off!) and proceeded to read each page carefully over and over, soaking in as much chocolate knowledge as I could. And when that still wasn’t enough for me, I went to one of my instructors at school and picked his brain about everything else chocolate related. My first day in a non-chocolate-related class with him almost a year ago, he had said that chocolate is “his thing” and I’m glad I remembered that because he was able to give me some great pointers for attempting this on my own.

When I was fully prepared, I grabbed my chocolate and proceeded to temper my chocolate using the seed method (adding room temperature chocolate to chocolate that has been melted to 120 degrees F to bring the overall temperature of the chocolate down to 90 degrees F). I had to shock my chocolate over the flame a few extra times to get all the “seed” chocolate melted in properly, but I got my chocolate at the perfect 90 degrees and proceeded to carefully dip each chocolate one by one, tapping off the excess chocolate and ever so carefully sliding them on a sheet to start drying. Since I only managed to get 6-7 chocolates dipped before my chocolate would get too cool, I had to keep shocking it over a flame quickly to bring the temperature slowly back up to the perfect 90.

I made two candies to be dipped in my tempered dark chocolate. When you think of a truffle, you probably think of a cream-based ganache truffle – melted chocolate with cream and any flavoring you prefer. Instead of a cream-based truffle, I decided to go to the gusto and make butter-based ganache truffles! Why butter instead of cream? Butter provides and extremely smooth, lucious feel in your mouth! If eating chocolate wasn’t good enough by itself, try adding butter to the picture and it is indescribably amazing! I had people ooh-ing and ahh-ing with these babies all over the place! They are that good!

The idea for making a butter versus cream ganache is essentially the same – tempered chocolate, butter instead of cream and flavor. In my case, I used tempered white chocolate (and let me tell you, tempering which chocolate is worse than tempering dark chocolate!) and room temperature butter. My flavors are, well for lack of a better phrase, to die for! I went with a strawberry balsamic butter ganache as well as a madras curry and coconut butter ganache!

Here is a lovely, delightful, scrumptious picture of my little treats:

For the strawberry balsamic ganache, I added strawberry preserves and balsamic vinegar. It worked out perfectly, because a good friend of mine recently came back from Italy and she brought me back a bottle of balsamic vinegar. I figured these chocolates were the perfect reason to use the vinegar for the first time.

For the madras curry and coconut ganache, I used madras-stlye curry powder (spicier and more packed with punch than regular curry powder). And I added cream of coconut to help tone down the kick of the curry powder and to help add an extra element of smoothness to the ganache. Delectable! There is no other word to describe these chocolates!

They disappeared from my house at an alarming rate, because everyone wanted to try one. You’ll see on the strawberry balsamic truffles I used a rose cocoa butter graphic on top so I could distinguish the two apart from each other. It’s easy to apply, the print comes on a plastic sheet, so I cut little squares to the size of my truffles. As soon as I set them down after dipping them in the dark chocolate, I carefully set the plastic sheet on top. I gave them a day to dry in place, then easily peeled off the plastic and the cocoa butter design stays in place! Stunning, huh?

I’m really happy and excited I was able to do these. And in case there was any question about it, no I have not taken the class my school offers on chocolate yet. This was genuinely my first time temering chocolate, and it was quite a fun experience! I look forward to doing it again, but I need to give myself some time before loading up on chocolate and butter because I like to eat them too much!

For a look at all the other great chocolates and candies the members of the Daring Bakers had, check out the website here: http://thedaringkitchen.com/

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Comments (12)

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  1. Katie says:

    Wow! Your chocolates look so beautiful and professional. I love the swirled design on top of the flat one. I know so little about tempering chocolates, so perhaps reading up a bit would be a good idea!

  2. Korena says:

    I’ve never heard of butter ganache before but it sounds great! And the flavours sound AMAZING – no wonder they disappeared so quickly! Your chocolates look so professional – obviously all your research paid off :)

    • Megan says:

      Butter ganache = amazing! But I just know with every bite it was going straight to my thighs haha! Thanks so much for your compliments :)

  3. jolly says:

    they look so yummy, makes me wanna learn baking too. :D

  4. Jenni says:

    Fantastic job! Your chocolates look perfect and amazing! I love the strawberry swirls!

  5. Makey-Cakey says:

    The madras ganache sounds intriguingly delicious!

  6. Julia says:

    They are so impressive! Good job!

  7. T. says:

    “Stunning” is right! Your chocolates look wonderful, and tasty too!

  8. ohkeeka says:

    WOW! I can’t believe you made those yourself! They look like something you’d buy. And now I’m totally craving truffles…

  9. slanecek says:

    Wow, that’s so great combination! I like the ideas of balsamico & strawberries and coconut & madras curry!
    And they look beautiful!

  10. Sandie says:

    They look so lovely. I especially like the sound of the strawberry balsamic version. Well done