Monday, September 28, 2009

A Mini-Treats Mini-Series: Part 1-Truffles!

For the next few days, I'll post recipes and instructions for new and exciting mini-treats! My hope is that you'll learn something new and maybe even try something you've been reluctant to do before.

First up - truffles!

Ah, that's a yummy-looking bunch!

This summer, I took Autumn Carpenter's truffles class at the ICES Convention in Chicago, IL. She made the truffles look easy so I just had to try them.

Here's what you'll need for the shells:
Candy Melts
Multi-purpose squeeze bottle or disposable piping bags
Candy molds
A microwave-safe bowl
chocolate transfer sheets

For the shells of the truffles, it's easiest to use candy melts instead of real chocolate (what's the difference?). Melt the candy melts by microwaving them for a few seconds at a time. Then, you can use one of those cute multi-purpose squirt bottles or just put it in a disposable piping bag. I started with the squirt bottle, but decided it was totally unnecessary. Just go straight for the inexpensive, easier-to-use disposable piping bag! (Side note, I put the cute Mickey Mouse bowl in this photo...but it turns out that it's not microwave-safe. Bummer! If you have these bowls, do not use them for melting the candy melts.) Grab your favorite candy molds - I'm using a peanut butter cup-style and a truffle-style mold. Also, get out those Chocolate Transfer Sheets you've been dying to use.

What's a Chocolate Transfer Sheet? It's a very cool cocoa butter design printed on a large sheet of acetate paper. When the sheet is placed onto warm, melted chocolate, the cocoa butter transfers from the acetate to the chocolate. You can have a very cool design on your chocolate - without even having to hand-paint it!

Let's get started! Squirt some of the melted candy melts into the candy mold...

Then, using a clean paintbrush (that has never been used on anything but food), gently brush the chocolate up the sides of the candy mold. The chocolate will begin to harden as you do this so work relatively quickly.



























After you've coated all the molds in the tray, put the tray in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes, until the chocolate is hardened.

Meanwhile, make the chocolate truffle filling (each recipe makes approximately 60 truffles, and I made a batch of white and milk chocolate so I made 124 truffles total!).


2 1/2 cups (3/4 pound) finely chopped real milk chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon flavoring

Melt milk chocolate a few seconds at a time in the microwave or over a double-boiler. Cool to at least 98 degrees F. Whip cream until it holds a soft peak. Add the cream to the chocolate, a little at a time, in a plastic bowl that doesn't retain heat, stirring with a spoon. When all the cream is added, stir in salt and flavoring.*

*At this point in the recipe, I divided my milk chocolate into 4 separate bowls. The following are the flavorings I added:
Bowl #1: Grand Marnier Truffle - 1/2 teaspoon Grand Marnier
Bowl #2: Coffee Truffle - 3 drops LorAnn coffee flavor
Bowl #3: Raspberry Truffle - 3 drops LorAnn raspberry flavor
Bowl #4: Milk Chocolate Truffle - 1/4 teaspoon vanilla flavor
And I divided my white chocolate into 3 bowls:
Bowl #5: Coconut Truffle - 4 drops LorAnn coconut flavor
Bowl #6: Key Lime Truffle - 4 drops LorAnn keylime flavor
Bowl #7: Banana Truffle - 4 drops LorAnn banana flavor

Chill the truffle mixtures in the refrigerator until firm, but not stiff (15-20 minutes). Beat with a spoon only until fluffy. Do not overbeat.

Now, you're ready to fill your truffle shells! Place the truffle filling in a disposable piping bag and pipe a small amount into each truffle shell. Don't fill it all the way to the top because you still need to seal the truffle with more candy melts.


Freeze the truffles for a couple more minutes until the truffle filling hardens. Now, pipe some melted candy melts over the truffle filling, completely sealing it inside the truffle shell. Place the truffles back in the freezer for a few more minutes. Then, you should be able to invert the candy molds to remove the truffles. If they do not fall out, tap on the counter.


You're doing great! Ready to take it a step further? Let's make a "truffle sandwich" with the chocolate transfer sheets!

Squirt some of your melted candy melts onto the rough side of your chocolate transfer sheet (that's the side with the cocoa butter on it). Watch out! Those multi-purpose squirt bottles have an unpredictable squirt pattern. In fact, I managed to blow the screw-top lid right off the bottle TWICE and got chocolate all over my kitchen. Like I said before, just stick to the disposable piping bags.
Spread the chocolate into a thin layer (maybe 1/16 of an inch thick).
Try to get the chocolate relatively smooth, but it doesn't have to be perfect. Place the chocolate transfer sheet on a cookie sheet or flat surface, and put the whole thing in the freezer for a few minutes to let the chocolate harden. Once the chocolate is hardened, remove it from the freezer. Place it on your countertop so that the chocolate is under the transfer sheet.

Gently peel back the acetate sheet. See how the pattern has now magically transfered to your chocolate??? It's a chocolate transfer sheet - get it now!?
Using a cookie cutter, cut round circles out of the chocolate, and set them aside.
Place one disk, pattern-side-up, on your work surface. Using a 1M decorating tip, pipe a small swirl on the disk. Top it with another disk, also pattern-side-up.

Now for the finishing touches. You need to decorate the truffles a little so you can tell which flavors they are. Let's just go through the batch:

These are the milk chocolate truffles. They're pretty distinct on their own, so you're done with them!

These are the banana-filled truffles (with both white and dark chocolate shells). I dipped them in graham cracker crumbs.
I dipped the raspberry truffles in red sprinkles.
The coffee truffles were dipped in chocolate jimmies (yummy!).
These truffles were made in the peanut butter cup candy mold and have a thin layer of coconut truffle filling topped with a key lime truffle swirl. No need to decorate these little guys!The last ones, the Grand Marnier truffles, were hand-dipped. To do that, use a melon baller to scoop some truffle mixture onto wax paper. Freeze the scoops until they're firm. Then, quickly shape them into balls, or flat disks in my case. Freeze them again until they are very firm. When the centers are cold and firm, dip them in melted candy melts. While the chocolate is still wet, place a small square of chocolate transfer sheet on top of the truffle. When the truffle has hardened, peel back the acetate to reveal a patterned, dipped truffle!

Together, they make up quite a cute box of truffles, don't you think?

Still feel intimidated? Yea, I have the tendency to bite off a lot at one time. I'm actually surprised that they turned out as well as they did. This was my first time making them! That just shows you how easy they really are. If you're still nervous, just make one flavor for your first try. Your friends will still love you. After all, who can turn down a truffle? Or 10???

4 comments:

Sue said...

They all look and sound so yummy! Did you include a truffle surprise in the package that's headed my way???

Melanie said...

I wish! They melt really easily so they'd never make it all the way to TX. We can make more at Christmas though!

SilverMoon Dragon said...

They look gorgeous! So professional. I want to find some of those transfer sheets... sounds like fun!

bugjune13 said...

I am looking for sand pail candy molds...do you have an idea where I can find them?

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