The first time I made truffles was when I was in Seattle. I’ve always been a big fan of dark chocolates. I’m not a milk chocolate kind of person, and definitely not a white chocolate kind of person – I love my cocoa!
Getting to eat a chocolate truffle is a real treat since it is really decadent, but also really expensive. The first time I made champagne truffles, I was mesmerized at how easy and decadent it is. Unfortunately, I’ve to say that while it is easy to make truffles in the US, it is tough to do it back in Singapore. Since moving back, I’ve always had trouble sourcing for chocolate. They are either mediocre chocolate, or really really expensive. Once, when I decided to make Pierre Herme’s Riviera for my mom’s birthday, his recipe suggested to use a particular type of Valrhona chocolate. In an attempt to make it perfect, I went to the store to see how much it would cost. After some calculations, the cost of chocolate alone for a 9-inch cake would be more than a whopping SGD$100 (USD$78) – absolutely ridiculous and crazy. From then on, my siblings, whenever they go in and out of the US, would carry 10lb blocks of chocolate for me. I would in turn bake them awesome goodies :)
I was really excited to make Alice Medrich’s mint truffles as I really do enjoy making truffles and equally enjoy using ingredients from the garden. We have quite a nice herb garden at home that we frequently pick and harvest to use for cooking. With the organic craze happening all around the world, nothing can be more organic than produce from your garden!
These truffles are wonderfully smooth with a tinge of mint flavor. Alice Medrich does not roll the truffles in cocoa powder but I always love the intense taste Valrhona dutch-process cocoa powder gives and always never fail to turn to that method. A note to inexperienced bakers/cooks – ads want you to believe that chocolate truffles can only be made by highly skilled chocolatiers but it isn’t true! Once you cross over the barrier, you’ll hardly ever go out to buy a truffle anymore. Trust me on this :)
Ending off with a fun fact! Why are truffles called truffles?
1. Chocolate truffles resemble somewhat to the “real” kind of truffles (fungus) with its spherical shape and (usually) dark color.
2. Just like how chefs covet their truffles (fungus) as prized possessions and only use it on their best dishes, pastry chefs only use their best chocolate, their prized possessions, to make chocolate truffles.
Adapted by Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet
*Note: These truffles require some time to make. Plan early!
1/2 cup lightly packed mint leaves, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup cold heavy cream
10 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
about 5 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate for dipping
about 1/4-1/2 cup of dutch-processed Valrhona cocoa powder for dusting
1. Two days before you plan to make the truffles, stir the mint leaves into the cold cream. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. Strain the cream into a measuring cup and press on the mint leaves against the strainer to release as much of the precious cream and mint flavor as possible. Discard the mint.
3. Add more cream to make the 3/4 cup. Set aside.
4. Melt the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water, stirring frequently until most of the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and stir until the chocolate is completely smooth. Set aside.
5. Pour the cream into a small saucepan. Heat the cream until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and let it stand for 3 mins to cool slightly. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk briskly, using a circular motion, until the cream is thoroughly mixed with the chocolate. The mixture will look smooth, glossy and thickened. Do not over whisk.
6. Scrape the ganache into a plastic wrap lined pan or a glass container with a wide base and let cool at room temperature without disturbing it. Once the ganache is cool, line a plastic wrap over the top of the ganache and let set at room temperature, preferably overnight. In Singapore’s humid weather, refrigeration is the only way here.
7. A while before shaping the truffles, melt 5oz of the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water and let cool at room temperature.
8. Once the ganache is set, leave out at room temperature until it is pliable. To shape the truffles, use a miniature ice cream scoop or melon baller to form 3/4 to 1 inch balls of ganache. If the ganache is still hard, I find it useful to dip the ice cream scoop/melon baller into hot water and dry it off before scooping the ganache out. If necessary, smooth out the surface with your thumb or heel of your hand. Lay the truffles out on parchment paper or wax paper. Return them to the fridge for a brief period of time.
9. At this point, pour the cocoa powder on a dish with a wide base. If there are any lumps, use the back of a spoon to smooth it out.
10. To roll the truffles with a thin coat of chocolate, lightly cover your fingers on your left hand with some chocolate. Using your right hand, pick up a ganache ball and put it on your left hand with the chocolate. Roll it around with your fingers until it is covered with chocolate and drop it on the plate with the cocoa powder. I usually do about 3-4 and use my right hand to shake the plate to cover all the truffles with cocoa powder. Leaving it in the plate, I then proceed to do 3-4 more. Just before I roll the second round of 3-4 truffles in cocoa powder, the thin chocolate layer in the first round of 3-4 truffles should have set. You can test it by gently touching the truffles with your clean right hand. Once they are firm enough to lift, they’re ready. Transfer the rolled truffles to truffle paper or in your container to store. Continue this process until all the truffles are done. If you’re left handed, do it the opposite way.