Frangelico Chocolate Truffles

November 27, 2016

These truffles have few ingredients and steps, which makes them seem deceivingly easy to make. If the right kind of chocolate, cream and proper refrigeration aren’t used and done, however, things can go wrong rather quickly! This recipe and experience fall into three of the categories I have on this blog right now-recipes, alternative recipes (I will discuss chocolate in more detail; some chocolate is quite natural and starts off plant-based) along with some oops’. Once you get the correct ingredients and steps down, though, these little truffles are beautiful and elegant and would make a great dessert or gift for anyone!tray-full
When gathering ingredients for this recipe, I wasn’t sure what single cream was. I had never recalled seeing it in the store and when I was shopping for the truffle supplies, I decided to grab half and half since I couldn’t find single cream. I also grabbed milk chocolate for my main chocolate component. I got home and followed the steps of the recipe with bringing the butter and cream (or in this case half and half) to a boil, then I took the mixture off of the heat and stirred in the chocolate until fully incorporated and then added the Frangelico. I put the mixture in the refrigerator and would stir it every 10 minutes or so. I noticed that the mixture was not solidifying at all. Every time I would check it and stir, the mixture was still rather runny. After about a half hour, I put the mixture in the freezer for about 10 minutes to try and get it to harden. The mixture eventually looked like it was sort of solid and could be added to a piping bag…or so I thought! Not long after I started spooning the chocolate into the bag, it started melting and became runnier by the minute. The chocolate was just pouring out of the nozzle of the bag and going all over the place. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the piping bag busted because I was squeezing the bag too hard so I had chocolate EVERYWHERE! All over the counter, the floor, the rugs. The chocolate mixture tasted great, just didn’t look so good. There was no way I was going to get any kind of swirl or ball design out of this liquid mess (I don’t have any photos of the mess, I was too busy trying to keep the chocolate from spreading even farther over the counter and floor). I was forced start over. I suppose that’s what baking is all about, though, as are most things in life. Practice, practice, practice. Don’t g
ive up and try again.
After talking with my baking class chef and doing some research I realized that heavy whipping cream is the correct substitution for single cream. It is thicker and richer than half and half and helps make the whole mixture thicker, which means it will solidify better. The type of chocolate used also makes a difference. Dark, higher quality chocolate is best for truffles. Particularly couverture, which is chocolate with a cocoa butter content of 32-40%. This kind of chocolate has the best flavor and is commonly used for truffles and coating. The fat content of the cocoa butter part of the chocolate is what determines the quality of the chocolate. A high fat content and low sugar content equals the best quality.
Chocolate starts off as a very natural p
roduct that comes right from mother nature. It all starts from the seed of the Theobroma Cacao Tree, which is native to Central and South America. The outer husk of the seed is cut and the pulp containing the seed pod is collected. These are then covered with banana leaves and left to ferment for a week. Once fermented, the beans are spread out to dry in the sun. The warmth stops the fermentation process and reduces the moisture content of the beans. The dried beans are then delivered to traders. Traders then bag the beans and deliver them to producers.   Much like coffee, producers may use a single source chocolate or blend the beans to achieve a more balanced product (this method is usually more ideal and produces a better, more well-rounded tasting chocolate). The beans will then be roasted to fully develop their full flavor. The nibs (the cacao bean that is left after the beans are shelled-crushed cacao bean basically) are ground very fine into a cocoa mass. {Sidenote: You can buy plain cocoa nibs at the store. They are cocoa bits that haven’t been processed and have no sugar or flavorings added to it. Nibs are about as natural as chocolate comes.} Chocolate liquor is the product that results from grinding the cocoa nibs. The heat generated during the grinding process produces the liquid chocolate, which is also knows as cocoa/chocolate liquor. The liquor contains both cocoa butter and cocoa solids. After the liquor is produced, it can be further processed in two different ways.

  1. It can be pressed to separate the cocoa solids from the cocoa butter. The solids can then be dried and made into cocoa powder. The cocoa butter can be used in food prep for baked goods.
  2. It can be made into dark, milk or white chocolate.
To produce dark chocolate, the cocoa liquor and cocoa butter are mixed with sugar and sometimes vanilla. Milk chocolate is produced similarly, but has the addition of milk or milk powder. White chocolate excludes the cocoa liquor. Milk chocolate doesn’t off the same benefits as dark chocolate due to its lower percentage of cocoa solids-you’re not getting as much of the natural, untainted cocoa.
Bloom is something that we all need to look out for when storing chocolate. Bloom is the term used for the slightly gray discoloration that can appear on the surface of chocolate. This is caused by some of the fat or sugar content separating from the bulk of the chocolate. This usually results from improper storage. Fat bloom can be identified by touching the surface of the chocolate. The gray will disappear as your body heat melts the fat. Sugar bloom is identified by adding some water to the top of the chocolate. The sugar will absorb the moisture of the water immediately. In either case, the chocolate should be used as soon as possible.
For people who don’t consume dairy, there are dairy free chocolate brands available. You can also use cocoa powder as a substitution for chocolate. You just need to adjust for the cocoa butter (fat) and sugar that would be found in normal chocolate. 3 Tablespoons of cocoa powder plus 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil equals 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate. Add 1 Tablespoon of sugar for bittersweet chocolate and up to 3 Tablespoons of sugar for semi-sweet chocolate. Fruit purees may also be an option in replacing some of the fat and sugar.
Now back to the truffles…I remade them with dark, couverture chocolate and used heavy whipping cream. I still had the mixture setting in the refrigerator for closer to an hour, stirring it every 15 minutes or so. The mixture did set and harden a bit and was easier to spoon into a piping bag. I used a larger, star nozzle tip and swirled the chocolate out into miniature paper cups. I then dusted them with purple, shiny sprinkles. They looked beautiful and elegant and tasted the same! They are quite rich, so you can’t eat many at once, but they are delectable and I highly recommend trying them out!

 

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2 Comments
    1. Your truffles look delicious, sweetheart, and I loved reading your blog talking about your trial and errors, and your explanation of the difference between chocolates and types of cream to use – it was so interesting! I had to chuckle when you wrote about the chocolate mixture running all over the counter and floor. I’m sure it wasn’t funny to you at the time, but I sure have done things like that in years past! I have been baking for a lot of years, but I still learned a lot when reading your blog! I wish I could sample some of these – they look amazing! Keep up the good work, my sweet Beatnik Baker! You are making amazing delicious creations! Love, mama

      1. Thank you so much for all of your support!!
        I’ve had that happen when making scones where the milk ran all over the place and went behind the oven. It was sure a mess! Haha.

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