It's good. It's bad. It's in, and then it's out. Leading up to Valentine's Day, it's always in. Chocolate.
Prevents heart disease, lowers blood pressure, minimizes risks to cancer, and maybe even turns us on. Chocolate.
Films have been made. Books have immortalized it. Blogs are founded on the stuff. Histories have been charted. Wedding fountains spout gallons of it. Chocolate.
Flavenoids. Antioxidants. Caffeine.
Dark. Milk. White.
Have wars been started over it? Here's hoping a history buff is reading and can attest to that.
It snowed in Rome last weekend. And the city shut down. Paralizzato was the word heard for days. I tucked myself away and played with chocolate.
Returning from Castroni, which is Rome's premier cloud nine for all foodies, I had a good-quality half kilo bar of 60% chocolate. By the time the snow hit, I was scanning the kitchen for assorted bits to roll up into truffles.
Three ways were found:
Marsala-Prune-Honey, the sweetest version.
Olive Oil and Orange, my personal favourite, as a small love exists in me for olive oil + chocolate.
Vanilla Black Tea, super creamy, balanced in sweetness, and covered in toasted almond bits.
All were delectable.
Truffles are best to be made the night before, and set in the fridge to firm up before rolling out the next morning. Or just put in the freezer for an hour. However you decide, they are fairly easy, and as long as you've got the double boiler lined with melted chocolate, you may as well make a variety of flavours.
The three recipes here were made with a 60% cocoa content chocolate (seems to be standard percent for truffles) totalling 450 grams. I am not sure where that other 50 grams ran off to. I've heard this is a common problem when making truffles...disappearing chocolate.
Three Ways to Truffle Your Chocolate
Makes 40-48 truffles
Eat with Port or other dessert/sparkling wine
Time 2-3 hours active time (plus chill)
General truffle making instructions:
Melt: In a double-boiler (or small pot in a bigger pot with an inch or two of boiling water) melt the chocolate and other ingredients. Line a shallow dish with wax paper and pour the melted mix into that.
Chill: Place in the fridge overnight or freezer for one hour. Truffles made with cream are harder to roll out and should be chilled longer than those made without.
Roll: Place the cocoa powder on a plate and cover your palms with cocoa powder as well to prevent sticking. Using two small spoons, mush together a ball from the chilled chocolate. Then using your hands, cover in cocoa powder and roll between palms/on plate to smooth out. Place on another plate covered in wax paper.
They keep in the fridge for up to a week, or the freezer for a month.
Recipe: Marsala-Prune-Honey Truffles
Adapted from Apron and Sneakers
1/4 cup Marsala
2 Tb chopped prunes (or sub any dried fruit...raisins, cherries, etc.)
160g chocolate, finely chopped
1 Tb honey
1 Tb butter
1) Put the prune bits in a small dish and cover with the Marsala. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. Strain out the Marsala into a separate cup and top up to make sure it's 1/4 cups worth.
2) In a double-boiler, heat the butter, honey, and Marsala. Add in the chocolate bits and melt until smooth. Stir in the prunes.
3) Chill and roll out in cocoa powder.
Recipe: Olive Oil and Orange Truffles
Adapted from Edible Paradise
120g chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/2 Tb butter
4 Tb best quality extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt
1/8 cup cocoa powder and zest of half an orange
Maldon sea salt flakes
1) In a double-boiler, melt chocolate, butter, olive, and tiny pinch of salt until smooth.
2) Chill and roll out in cocoa powder mixed with orange zest. Press a flake of Maldon sea salt onto each.
Recipe: Vanilla Black Tea Truffles
Adapted from Gourmet, Dec 2002
2/3 cup cream
2 Tb butter
2 heaping tsp loose black tea leaves (vanilla flavoured or otherwise)
170g chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup cocoa powder and 1/4 cup minced, toasted almonds
1) In the double boiler, heat the cream and butter until just before boiling. Add the tea leaves and steep 5-8 minutes. Either add the tea leaves into the cream contained in a tea ball (then steep at least 8 minutes), or strain cream into a small dish to get rid of the tea leaves.
2) Add the cream back into the pot, and stir in the chocolate until smooth and melted.
3) Chill, and roll out into cocoa powder mixed with the toasted chopped almonds. Press the almonds firmly into the truffle so they have staying power.