Thursday, December 08, 2005

Bittersweet Truffles in Spices

As I continue prepping for my annual holiday party, I'm just finishing my second batch of truffles. I've made chocolate truffles before and they're amazingly easy, but this year I was inspired by something different courtesy of the December issue of Food and Wine and Chocolat Moderne in New York which is my new favorite chocolatier. (Buy the issue if you do a lot of holiday cooking.) Here's a recipe in advance that I know lots of people will ask for.

Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles Rolled in Spices

1 cup heavy cream
3 tblsps light corn syrup
3/4 lb bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tblsp butter softened

For rolling:
1/3 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut (Try Wild Oats, Marsh only has the sugary kind)
1/4 tsp ground cardamom (you can find the pods at Kahn's or Cost Plus, weirdly enough, then crack and grind them in a spice grinder)
pinch of ground cloves
2/3 cup plus 2 tblsps sugar
1 tblsp plus 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground chipotle powder
1 tsp ancho powder (I found both the chipotle and ancho at Kahn's in Carmel)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp five-spice powder

As you put together these spice combinations, feel free to tweak until they really sparkle. I ended up adding quite a bit more five-spice powder and next time might even grind star anise to add to that one. I also backed the chili powders down since 2 tsps is a lot and very spicy.

1. Bring cream and corn syrup to a boil, then pour over ground chocolate. Let stand 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Whisk butter in, then refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

2. Make coatings -- toast coconut in a dry skillet over moderate heat until lightly browned about two minutes. Then transfer to a small bowl and add cardamom, a hefty pinch of cloves, 2 tblsps of sugar and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon.

In another small bowl, whisk 1/3 cup of sugar with the remaining 1 tblsp of cinnamon, the allspice and chili powders.

In a third small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of cocoa with the five spice powder and the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar.

In the last bowl, put the remaining 1/4 cup of cocoa powder.

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop up level tablespoons of the ganache and drop them onto the parchment (I did about 12 at a time.) Place the cookie sheet in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Then using your hands, roll each mound of chocolate into a ball, then roll in 1 of the coatings. Put into baking cups (I found cute little red foil cups at Sur La Table) and store in a tin in the fridge.

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