Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dating is like chocolate

You are probably a little confused. Why am I holding up chocolate covered hands? Well I'm going to tell you...obviously. It wouldn't be much of a blog if I didn't, would it? 

This recipe is for chocolate truffles. Here's the thing about have to use chocolate. 
Here's the thing about chocolate....its SUPER temperamental. For these truffles, you have to temper chocolate. Basically that means that you are improving the consistency, durability or hardness of a substance by heating and cooling it. If that's not a metaphor for a relationship, I don't know what is! I mean think about it. In a relationship, you want to make it stronger. You want to change the durability of your love together. If your not careful and you put something out of balance, its hard to pull the whole thing together. You have to be really dedicated and motivated to making the whole thing be successful. If you don't keep the balance, something will go horrible wrong. 

Chocolate is temperamental. It can only handle so much heat. So much pressure. It's hard yes but it's also so delicate. And too much pressure, too much beating can cause it to separate. To breakdown. 

Relationships are lot like making truffles. What you put in is what you get out. If you don't take care of your chocolate, it will separate. It will get grainy. It will dry out. If you don't take care, it will harden. If you are not careful when you roll your truffles they will be misshapen. If you use too much pressure, they won't turn out. 

What You Need

For the Ganache 
Generous 2 cups heavy cream 21 ounces 
bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 
Generous 1/4 cup Grand Marnier or Stoli Razberi vodka (optional)  

To enrobe the truffles 
18 ounces bittersweet chocolate, tempered 
18 ounces white chocolate, tempered  

To garnish the truffles 
2 cups Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted 
2 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut, toasted (see note, below) 
About 2 cups toasted nuts, finely chopped (see note, below)

What You Do: 
Heat the heavy cream in a 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Make sure that you have chopped the chocolate as finely as possible to allow it to melt quickly and easily. 
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-size mixing bowl. 
Make a ganache by pouring about half of the hot cream over the chocolate and letting it sit for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate. Then slowly whisk until smooth and homogenous. 
Do not add all of the hot cream to the cold chocolate at once; the shock of the temperature extremes would cause the fat in the chocolate to separate. 
As the chocolate melts, you will see some elasticity if there is no fat separation. This means the chocolate still has an emulsion; the fat molecules are still holding together. 
If the ganache separates, it loses its elasticity, collapses, and becomes very liquid. Use a hand-held immersion blender to ensure a smooth ganache and to keep the emulsion of the chocolate. 
Add the remaining cream gradually and mix until all of the hot cream is incorporated and the ganache is smooth and homogenous. 
If the ganache separates, it is very easy to fix. Simply add a small amount of cold cream and whisk well. 
This will bring the ganache back together. The ganache should be thick, shiny, and smooth. 

Add the desired flavoring and mix until fully incorporated. 
Pour the ganache onto a plastic wrap-covered baking sheet and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. 
Cover the ganache with plastic wrap and allow it to cool for at least 4 hours at room temperature. 
As it cools, it will thicken and set. 

When the ganache has cooled to the consistency of toothpaste, scrape it into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. 
Do not stir the ganache when you do this. Incorporating air by stirring will cause the ganache to harden. 
Pipe 1-inch-diameter mounds spaced 1 inch apart on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet.
 To pipe the mounds, hold the pastry bag at a slight angle and allow the tip to touch the parchment as you begin to pipe. 
Once you have formed the mound, stop squeezing and lift the tip straight up, leaving a small tail on the top of each mound. 
You can also use a spoon and drop small mounds of ganache onto the baking sheet.
 Let the truffles harden at room temperature for a couple of hours (or in the refrigerator for 15 minutes), until they are hard enough to roll with your hands. 
 To roll the mound into a ball, place a truffle between both palms, squeeze slightly, and roll between your hands. 
The truffles will look nicer if they are as round as possible. 
When all the truffles are rolled into balls, they are ready to be coated. 
If they have become too soft, place them in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours until they are firm enough to dip. 

You can use either a dipping fork or your hands to dip the truffles in chocolate. 
To use the fork, drop the truffle into the bowl of tempered chocolate and then retrieve it with the dipping fork. 
Hold the fork over the bowl for several seconds to allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Gently scrape the bottom of the fork against the side of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate and roll the dipped truffle in the desired garnish. 
Place on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. 
If you use your hands, dab some chocolate in the palm of one hand. 
Roll the truffle in that palm to completely coat it with chocolate. 
Place the enrobed truffle on the baking sheet. Repeat for the remaining truffles. This method is very quick but it can also be extremely messy. 

When all of the truffles have been coated once, repeat the enrobing procedure. 
This is necessary only when you enrobe the truffles by hand rather than with a fork. 
The truffles are usually more evenly coated when dipped with a fork. 
As soon as each truffle gets a second coating, immediately roll it in the desired garnish. 
You need to do this before the chocolate sets or the topping will not adhere. At this stage, it is good to have a friend help because it is hard to dip and roll at the same time. 

Place the truffles on a clean parchment paper-covered baking sheet and allow them to set, about 5 minutes. The truffles will keep for up to 2 weeks at room temperature, when stored in an airtight container. 

To Make Coconut and Nut Topping: 
Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir to keep the sugar in the coconut from burning. Return to the oven and toast until golden brown, about 3 more minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and cool on a wire rack. To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 300°F (148°C). 
Spread the nuts evenly on a baking sheet and place in the oven. 
Toast for about 30 minutes, until they are golden brown. 
You will be able to smell the nuts when they are ready. 
A good test is to break a nut in half and check to see if it is light brown on the inside. 
Toasting nuts brings out their natural flavor. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet on a wire rack. 

If you decide to roll the truffles by hand, it is important to make sure your hands are cold. A good trick is to dip your hands in ice water for a few seconds and then dry them. Do this immediately before rolling the truffles. If your hands are too warm and the truffles begin to melt while you are rolling them, redip your hands in the ice water, dry them, and proceed.

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