Monday, December 01, 2008

truffle madness

handmade truffles are easy but take absolutely forever to make!

I took a little chocolate-making class and got the fool idea to make a bunch of handmade truffles for Christmas gifts. So I ordered 256 truffle shells for myself and three friends. It was fun and festive at first, but after about three hours of hard chocolatier labor, I lost all energy and couldn't even look at those stupid things. They taste great, but I'm not sure it's worth the effort.

The madness began the night before when I made four different fillings: milk chocolate ganache, dark chocolate ganache, and milk/dark/caramel ganache (my favorite), and pure caramel (or as my friend Megan called it, pure Christmas). We planned to roll the different types differently (some in chocolate, some in coconut, some in cocoa powder, etc.) so we could tell them apart. But after about 20 truffles, we got impatient and starting throwing handfuls of truffles in every and any bowl of toppings that were available. So truly, "you never know what you're gonna get," though most of us agreed that the ones rolled in coconut were the best, regardless of the filling.

Above, we are filling the truffle shells with ganache. Then, an hour or so later, after the ganache had chilled and set, we topped the shells with melted chocolate. Then another hour or so later, we rolled the shells in melted chocolate (below) and rolled them around on the special truffle rack (like a waffled cooling rack) to create the signature truffle texture.

This step took the longest by far and nearly drove us all to insanity. We started dipping the truffles one by one, letting the excess chocolate drip off and carefully rolled them around before transferring to the wax paper. Very quickly we started rolling five at a time and after an hour, my friend Julie threw twenty at a time into the chocolate and simply dumped the whole bowl onto the rack. Our kids had fun helping out, mostly by licking chocolate off any and all surfaces.

They turned out quite pretty despite our sloppy technique. I ate and gave away most of my truffles before I got around to taking a pic of them en mass, so luckily my friend Julie took the above pic of our finished product. We each took home 64 truffles and here's my stash after giving away the prettiest ones and eating the ugliest.

Of course, truffles taste even better when they come in a pretty package. I had saved a few Sprungli truffle boxes from previous indulgences, so I repurposed them for my own handiwork. I only wish I had time to print up a cute label. If I ever do this again, I'll make my own boxes to accompany the treats to add an extra personal touch.


SwissMiss said...

You are so professional! And yes, they turned out gorgeous, despite the 'mass production' methods.

Julie Ramsay said...

Wow! I want to learn and taste test all of them!

Alice said...

only you Tanya would take on such a feat. So I keep checking the mail but haven't seen any truffles yet.

Jessica said...

I would love to know what class that was that you took. I think it would be fun, too!

Tanya said...

Hi Jessica - a friend of mine who teaches cooking at a high school taught an informal class for a group of women from my church - not a commercial class. Sorry :)

Claudia said...

First I must say that your truffles look fantastic. Secondly I feel close to you because I thought I was the only one who saw home made truffles as a waste of precious time and truffle love.

Every time I buy truffles I pay their price in peace, with great joy because I know how messy, slow and boring it is to make truffles. Making truffles is for those who don't like to eat truffles.



SwissMiss said...

The Coop in Wollishofen had the shells on half-price on Friday, trying to clear out their Christmas stock. Just if you wanted to make more or anything... ;)

Tanya said...

More truffles? No, no, no! :)

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