December 20, 2011

Chocolate Truffles Gone Awry

I love to make Christmas cookies.  But it's exhausting.  So when I saw Gilt City deal on a truffle-making class, I thought "quick, impressive alternative!"  Not so much.  This week I'm reporting a big honking cooking failure.

Now everything with this class was great.  Fun, tasty, friendly folks.  It took place in the basement of Castle and Elephant by Taste of Chocolate, or Boston Chocolate School.  We were greeted with decadent hot chocolate and a history lesson, including a sample of cocoa butter and coca beans.

Hot chocolateCracked Cocoa BeanCocoa Butter

I had every intention of walking away from this class with some new skills.  Our chocolatier made it look so easy.  We were even give a recipe list to take home with several recipes for flavored ganaches and a detailed explanation on tempering chocolate.  Actually, the class itself really focused on the chocolate tempering - although we didn't try it ourselves.  She had these big machines that just constantly kept the chocolate at temperature.  My at-home problem wasn't tempering - technically, I never even made it that far.  We were also handed pre-made blocks of ganache in three different flavors.  Then we were sent on our way to shape, dip and decorate our truffles. It seemed so easy when an experienced set of chocolatiers had pre-made the ganache and tempered the chocolate!

UtensilsGanache BallsTempering chocolate

When I attempted to reproduce those delicious chocolates at home, my problem was the ganache.  Ganache was solidly breezed over.  No one mentioned to me the importance of temperature.  That I would need to heat the heavy cream to the same temperature of the chocolate.  That there was this risk of separation between the fat and the chocolate.  That it could turn into a crumbly, lumpy mess rather than the smooth "pudding-like" consistency that was described.   Nope.  I got to discover that on my own.

Chocolate + CaramelCrumbling ganacheUnfixable ganache

I scoured the internet to find some sort of "fix" for the crumbly, dry ganache.  I read about reheating half of it and then bringing down the temperature by mixing in the rest of the room temperature ganache.  This did not work.  It actually separated further until there were two distinct substances - little ponds of fat across a bumpy brown landscape.

I ended up tossing the lot and baked a bunch of cookies instead (I'll get everyone caught up on the cookies in the next post).  Below I am posting the original recipe for the chocolate caramel truffles that I attempted to make.  Perhaps someone else will have better luck.

Dark Chocolate

Chocolate Caramel Truffles
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 heavy cream
18 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp butter, soft

1. Place sugar and water in pot.
2. Let mixture cook until amber in color (using a candy thermometer this should be approximately 350F).
3. Remove from heat and whisk in heavy cream a little at a time. Mix in a slow stream to prevent from boiling over.

Boiling SugarAdding cream for caramelHomemade Caramel

4. Pour the hot caramel over the chopped chocolate.
5. Cover with foil and let sit for 5 minutes.
6. After 5 minutes, remove foil and whisk to blend.  Next, whisk in butter.
7. Refrigerate until solid enough to roll into truffles.

Pouring caramel into chocolate

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