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Nobody knows the truffles I've seen

November 28, 2009|By SCOTT C. ANDERSON / Special to The Herald-Mail

Now that we're officially in the Christmas season, it's nice to take time to sit back with a cup of hot cider and a few of these melt-in-your-mouth mocha truffles. This is a loose variation of a chocolate ganache recipe intended to incorporate a more buttery mouthfeel to the truffles.

The secret to an intense melt-in-your-mouth flavor is to heat your cream over moderate heat, use the best-quality chocolate possible and find some nice, farm-fresh butter.

To truly taste the difference in chocolate, use chocolate from Valrhona (www.valrhona-chocolate.com). Comparing store-bought semi-sweet or dark chocolate to Valrhona chocolate is like driving a Ford Pacer and then hopping into a 1967 GTO convertible.

For this recipe, I use unsalted butter and heavy cream from Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg, Pa. Their butter is close to European butter in flavor and butterfat content, which yields a creamier taste.

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The addition of espresso or instant coffee to the truffles deepens the chocolate flavor.




Mocha truffles



1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant espresso (see cook's note)
14 ounces chopped chocolate (see cook's note)
1/4 cup Kahlua (see cook's note)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup cocoa powder (see cook's note)

In a medium stockpot, bring cream up to 110 degrees over medium heat; use candy thermometer to check temperature. Add sugar and instant coffee, and stir until blended. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Slowly drizzle in the Kahlua, stirring until blended. Remove from heat.

Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Do not refrigerate at this stage.

When the chocolate has cooled to room temperature -- about 72 degrees -- cream the softened butter with a mixer until light and airy. Stir chocolate mixture into butter in small amounts and blend together.

Place mixture into the fridge until firm (4 to 6 hours; longer if you keep opening the door to check on it).

Remove mixture from fridge. Set up cocoa in a bowl with a spoon. Place 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder into one hand. Using a mini ice cream scoop or small spoon, scoop out 1-inch balls of the mixture into hand with and gently roll the truffle around in your hand, coating evenly. Do not roll too long or the heat from your hand will begin to soften the truffle. Set finished truffles on tray or baking sheet.

If you prefer, you can put the cocoa powder into a pie tin and gently roll the truffles before setting on tray.

Refrigerate finished truffles to allow them to harden.

Cook's notes: You can substitute instant coffee for the espresso, if you desire a less intense mocha flavor. For this recipe, I would recommend Valrhona's Le Noir 61 percent Baking Bar for the chopped chocolate, but you can substitute semi-sweet or dark chocolate baking chips, if desired. You can substitute 1/4 cup heavy cream for Kahlua. I also recommend cocoa powder made by Valrhona.

-- Scott C. Anderson is associate food service director and chef with Shepherd University dining services

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