Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's Easy to Make Your Own Chocolate Truffles...


8 oz heavy cream
16 oz good quality dark chocolate
optional: nuts, cocoa, liquor of your choice

*note, this is a fairly large recipe, it will make several dozen. You can halve the recipe if you wish.


Chocolate truffles are by far the easiest type of gourmet chocolate to make at home because you don't need to temper any of the chocolate. All you need to do is make ganache, cool it to a thick consistency, scoop small amounts of it with a spoon and roll it into balls and then roll them in the coating of your choice (nuts, cocoa powder, etc).

To make ganache:

You will need a 2:1 ratio of chocolate to heavy cream. For example, if you have a 1 lb bar of chocolate, you need 8 oz (1 cup) of heavy cream,
which is roughly half of a pint.
If your ganache separates (looks globby and oily), it is easy to correct. Just add a small amount of whole milk and stir and keep doing this until it is smooth. Ganache can be kept in the refrigerator for months. Keep your leftovers!

Slice the chocolate on a cutting board with a serrated knife in a straight downward motion in thin slices (approx 1/4 inch). The thinner the slivers of chocolate, the sooner it will melt.
Then boil the heavy cream in a saucepan. Turn off the heat and stir in the chocolate. It will be a consistency similar to thin frosting. That's ok, simply allow it to cool in the refrigerator, checking every 5-10 mins. When it is a little less firm than cookie dough, you are ready to make your truffles. If it gets too hard, no problem! You can just reheat it on low power in the microwave until it is the proper consistency.

*When your ganache is still soft, you can add a flavoring. Liquors work well.
Some tasty liquors are Frangelico, Amaretto, Kahlua, Framboise, Triple Sec, and Rum.
You can also use extracts, such as mint or almond. Literally any flavor that pairs well with chocolate will do! Keep adding as much as you want until you achieve your desired flavor.

For coating, I recommend processing nuts in a food processor then toasting them in the toaster oven or in a dry skillet. For the truffles pictured above, I used hazelnuts and then toasted them.
Cocoa powder makes a lovely coating if you sift it. Place your coatings in flat-bottomed dishes.
So there you have it!

Step 1. Make ganache and flavor it with desired flavoring
Step 2. Chill it to scoopable consistency
Step 3. Scoop into small balls and roll in dish of nut or cocoa powder coating.
Step 4. Place on trays to set.
Step 5. Eat and enjoy! Give to your friends!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Peanut Brittle

I got this recipe from my friend Melissa. It's made in the microwave and I think the cleanup was fairly easy compared to making it on the stove top. It tastes just as good too. The nuts will get slightly toasted in the microwave, so the flavor is spot on.
I've also made batches adding a little bit of chipotle chile powder or cinnamon. Either of those spices work well.


1 c granulated sugar
1/2 c light corn syrup
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter
1 tsp baking soda

Combine 1 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup light corn syrup and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes.

Add 1 cup of nuts, mix (although it'll be super hard to mix well), and microwave for 2 minutes. If your microwave is strong, keep an eye on it to make sure the nuts don't scorch.

Add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp butter, mix and microwave 2 minutes.

Add 1 tsp of baking soda and stir well. It gets all foamy at this point but just stir until it settles down.

Spread immediately onto parchment paper, flattening with a spatula or knife to about 1/2 inch thickness. Let cool completely and then break up to serve.