Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sinful Chocolate Truffles

Last night my wrists needed a break from knitting, so I decided to use the Ghiradelli chocolate I've been hoarding since February to make truffles. I intended to make these for Valentine's Day, but as I was single this year and suffering from from a wicked wisdom tooth infection that week, I wasn't feeling especially motivated to cook, bake, or eat much of anything. Now my mouth is healed and in need of chocolate, and it seemed like the perfect time to get cookin'

I haven't made truffles in about 3 years, and I can't recall where I found my last recipe, so a little googling led me to a
Joy of Baking article where I learned that truffles were intended to look like actual truffle mushrooms in the dirt. That's not especially appetizing, but it made me feel better about the organic, non-uniform shape of my truffles. Even when I use a melon baller to shape them they come out looking slightly misshapen.
This time I made three different flavors, almond, mint, and raspberry. Yum!

Here is what I did, adapted from a Ghiradelli and Food Network recipe:
Ghiradelli Sinful Chocolate Truffles
1/3 C Milk
7 Tbsp Butter
1 C Semi-Sweet Ghiradelli Chocolate Chips
1C Bittersweet Ghiradelli Chocolate Chips
1 tsp mint extract (optional)
2 Tbsp Chambord (optional)
1/4 C Raw Almonds (optional)
1/3 C Dark Chocolate cocoa powder

1. Combine milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir often and heat to boiling.
2. Toast raw almonds in a dry pan over high heat. Pay close attention, as they can burn very quickly. You will know they are done as soon as you can smell them. I find that toasting nuts really brings out the flavor.
3. Pulverize toasted almonds in a food processor (I used my little Magic Bullet). Set them aside.
4. Pour boiling milk mixture over chocolate chips in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine and melt chocolate. You may need to microwave the mixture for a very short period of time to get all the lumps out.
5. At this point I divided the chocolate mixture into three different bowls and flavored each separately. The above measurements for mint extract, Chambord, and the almonds are approximate. I didn't actually measure anything; I flavored each mixture to taste. Be sure to reserve some almonds for coating the truffles.
6. Set your chocolate mixtures aside to harden. About thirty minutes in the refrigerator did the trick for me.
7. Dip a melon baller in a glass of warm water and scoop out balls of each chocolate mixture. Drop the balls into a small bowl or lipped plate of coating. I coated the almond mixture in the finely chopped almonds and the mint and raspberry mixtures in dark chocolate cocoa powder. You may wish to clean your tools in between flavors. This is the messiest yet most fun part of the process.
8. I store the truffles in a wax paper-coated container in the refridgerator. That is, if there are any leftovers.

If I use this recipe again, I think I will use cream instead of a mixture of butter and milk. These candies tasted great to everyone else, but I would do something differently next time. I dislike buttery chocolate, and I tasted the butter especially in the almond truffles. I don't usually keep cream or even half and half in the house, but I suppose it would be worth buying for this recipe. Actually, maybe next time I will try using silken tofu and exclusively dark chocolate to make vegan truffles. I bet my friend Marietta has a great recipe for raw vegan chocolate truffles. Now that should be tasty!

Total Eclipse!

I am excited to announce that my very first pattern is available for free! Presenting Eclipse! I am still waiting for ravelry's designer hook-up, so for now I'm hosting the pdf in Google docs. There's no need to have a Google account to access it, just click on the link in this post on on the photo in the sidebar. Then you can view the document online or download it.

As a few people have asked, no, Eclipse actually doesn't have anything to do with the Twilight saga. The idea for this design came to me while I was driving, to wear while I was driving, my little Mitsubishi Eclipse, hence the name. I never thought I would drive a convertible, but last fall I was lucky enough to get a great deal on my current car, so I seized the opportunity and I've enjoyed it a lot during the warmer months. The fall and early spring are great times to drive around with the top down. The sun is usually shining but not beating down on me like some sort of punishment. However, during this time of year the wind can still deliver quite a chill. I needed something to keep my hair neat and my neck warm without flattening my hair or blowing away at high speeds. A lacy snood provides the perfect coverage and look. I didn't fall in love with any patterns I found, so I designed my own with one of my favorite lace patterns, Milanese lace from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. I adapted the pattern for knitting in the round. Lace or fingering weight yarn work equally well for this quick project.

Pattern Specs

Yarn: 1 skein of Malabrigo Lace or Malabrigo Sock (sample is knit in Malabrigo Lace in Amoroso)
Gauge: 6 stitches per inch in lace pattern
Needles: US 5 16" or whatever needle you need to achieve gauge
Sizes: 20" (22", 24") around, the length is customizable

Please contact me with any questions about the pattern.

Happy Knitting!