Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Chocolate Class

This could get a little lengthy today. But it's all good stuff, I promise.

This year when I was contemplating my truffle making, I kept thinking about chocolate molds, and whether or not they would make a difference. My choice of truffle filling is a soft filling- I whip my ganache so it's light and fluffy and very delicate. This tends to make dipping in chocolate challenging. I decided to order some molds and see how they work. It took a few tries on my part to figure out the best way to make them work, but I think I love my truffle molds. Here is the story...
Here to the left we have your standard chocolate assortment.
Different cocoas, chocolate bars, chocolate chips, and dipping chocolates. This year my truffles are coated in dipping chocolate0 which is the large flat disks you see on the bottom. This chocolate comes pre-tempered, which makes it very easy to work with, and makes for a nice shiny coating on the truffles.

I started by melting my chocolate buttons in a double boiler. You can see that process off to the right here. I use a very small saucepan, and just set a metal bowl on top of that to melt my chocolate in. I make sure I keep the water at a simmer, and the chocolate is melted and ready to go in no time at all. The next step was to fill my molds. I used a teaspoon to shovel melted chocolate into all the little cups on one mold. Then I tapped the mold on the counter several times to give it a chance to adhere. That picture is here at the left. Now, I only let that chocolate sit still for a minute before the fun part came in. I flipped the mold upside down over a sheet of foil, and started swirling my mold to pour the chocolate out of the molds. You can see that here at the right. I just have to mention, yet again, how wonderful Reynold's Release Foil is. I swirled the excess chocolate over a sheet of that foil, and after it set, I was able to pick it right up and re-melt it. I love that foil! Anyway...

What was left after the swirling was a lovely chocolate shell just waiting for some filling. But first, I needed to let the chocolate firm up. So my trays of shells headed out to the garage to chill while I made sure my filling was ready for piping. This time I was making a mint truffle. I have shared my recipe before, and I'll direct you to that here- but I have to warn you that it is difficult to work with. Before I knew it, my shells were set, my ganache was in the piping bag, and it was time to pipe it in. This went extremely quick. In just a few minutes, all my shells were filled and back in the garage for 15 minutes to let the filling set up. (I should probably mention (now that I'm looking at the pictures) that I did use an offset spatula to scrape extra chocolate off after I swirled it. ) After the ganache had set up a bit, I took a damp finger and pushed down any peaks that had poked up when filling, and then I re-melted some of the chocolate. A teaspoon made quick work of filling the shells the rest of the way, and then I simply needed to wait. One hour later in the garage, I figured they were ready. I have learned that getting them out of the shells intact is the toughest part. And something that helps that along is the freezer. Two at a time, I set the trays of truffles in my freezer- for the briefest amount of time, I'm talking like 30 seconds or so. Then I pull the trays out and give them a sharp rap on the counter. I flip over the molds, and kind of jiggle them like an ice cube tray, and little perfect truffles come bounding out onto the counter.

My only problem with molded truffles is that it doesn't allow me to put a stringer on, and since these were minty, I wanted to be able to identify them. Instead of a stringer, I took some Peppermint chocolate bits and chopped them up pretty finely. I melted the chocolate one more time, and carefully dipped the tip of each truffle in chocolate, and then into the chopped peppermint bits. And her I present to you, my Hint of Mint Truffles, all lined up and ready for packaging.

5 comments:

Molli said...

Erika-

Your truffles look great. You make it look so easy - so easy that I think I would like to do this next year!

Are those Guittard disks from King Arthur?

Andy said...

looks great, how much are you charging? haha

Erika said...

Molli, I think they are Merkins? I'm not 100% on that, I buy them from a local store that gets them in bulk and repackages them- I do know that it's the same chocolate though that several of the premiere bakeries in town use, so it's pretty good stuff.

Lol andy! I get asked that every year. Sadly, this great state requires a commercial kitchen before I am able to offer my wares. Don't think I haven't thought about that though!

frenchkitcheninamerica said...

We are on the same page. I made truffles today, too. I'll be posting about them later, though.

Erika said...

Mimi I'm looking forward to seeing your post on truffles. :-)