The We Should Cocoa challenge, managed by Chocolate Log Blog and Chocolate Teapot, is a great excuse to make a chocolate treat and to use our creativity. The idea is to make something with chocolate each month. We can use any sort of chocolate or cocoa substance and use any ingredient that we like, but we must include the special ingredient or theme selected by the host. August’s Challenge is hosted by Elizabeth of Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary and she challenged us to make chocolates or truffles.
I’ve been making truffles and filled chocolates since I was a teenager and took a community education course on filled chocolates. I started out using molding/coating chocolate and plastic molds for the shells and simple buttercream, peanut butter or chocolate ganache for the fillings. As I’ve gotten
older more experienced, I’ve graduated to more complicated techniques including hand tempering couverture-grade chocolate for dipping, using cocoa butter transfer sheets for decoration and flavoring the truffles by steeping my cream with natural ingredients vs. using extracts. It’s still a work in progress and this month’s challenge provided a good excuse to make another attempt at these techniques.
For this challenge, I decided to flavor my ganache with orange peel and a little bit of cinnamon, which I steeped in the heavy cream and then strained before adding it to the chocolate for the ganache.
I wasn’t successful with the chocolate tempering this time (hopefully only because the middle of summer isn’t the ideal time for working with chocolate) but truffles are always delicious, regardless of their appearance!
- For the ganache
- 1 lb. (16 oz) dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 Cup (8 oz) heavy cream
- zest from 1 large orange
- ¼ - ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped, for the "foot"
- For the coating
- 1½ lbs. 72% couverture dark chocolate, tempered
- cocoa butter transfer sheet, cut into squares
- Make the ganache:
- Bring the cream to a simmer over medium-low heat. Remove it from the heat and stir in the orange zest and the cinnamon. Allow the flavorings to steep in the warm cream for 20 minutes. Strain out the zest and bring the cream back to a simmer.
- Pour the heated cream over the butter and the chopped pound of chocolate. Let it sit for 2 minutes, then stir the ingredients gently to combine. Do not stir or whip too vigorously as you don't want to mix too much air into the mixture. When it's done, it should resemble a shiny, thick pudding.
- Pour the ganache into a plastic-lined 8"x8" metal pan. Cool the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Melt the 3 oz of chopped bittersweet chocolate.
- Invert the filling onto a baking sheet covered with plastic wrap. Using a spatula, coat the bottom of the ganache with a thin layer of the melted chocolate to form the "foot". You probably won't need all of the melted chocolate. This "foot" will give you a stable bottom to the filling which is helpful when dipping/coating it later. Place the ganache in the freezer for 2 hours to set.
- Cut the Filling:
- Remove the ganache from the freezer and place it foot side down on a parchment lined cutting board.
- Trim the edges evenly. Cut the ganache into 1" squares with a sharp, non-serrated knife. Separate the squares on the parchment paper. Allow the squares to sit overnight at room temperature to dry.
- Dip the centers:
- NOTE: Ideally, you would dip the centers at a cool (68F) room temperature as dipping cold chocolate can interfere with the temper of your chocolate coating. However, in the summer, as was the case for me, the room will probably be too warm to allow the centers to be firm enough to dip. I had to chill mine in the refrigerator for them to be firm enough to handle.
- Temper 1½ lbs of couverture chocolate using your favorite method. Dip each center one at a time into the tempered chocolate. Lift it out with a fork, tapping it against the side of the bowl to allow excess chocolate to drip off, then scraping the bottom of the fork against the side of the bowl. Set the coated square onto clean parchment paper and immediately press a square of transfer sheet onto the wet truffle. Repeat with each of the truffles.
- When the truffles are fully set, carefully peel off the transfer sheet and trim any rough edges of the chocolate with a small paring knife.