Saturday, August 27, 2011

Daring Bakers August 2011 - Dark Chocolate Truffles filled with Chili-Chocolate Ganache

Dark chocolate truffles with spices
The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

I was most excited because the challenge involved tempering chocolate, something I had never done by hand before. During my brief stint working at DeBrand Fine Chocolates in Indianapolis in 2001, we would make some garnishes out of tempered chocolate, but had fancy tempering machines that we just had to turn on. I went with the double boiler method, and after my candy thermometer decided my bowl shape/size wasn't conducive to candy making in the batch of sponge candy I torched (NOT PICTURED, haha, it was terrible), I decided to try to do it by feel. I know, this might sound crazy. Tempering chocolate is Very Serious Business. But I thought maybe it is more like baking bread, where the measurements are precise except for when they aren't, and it is more important to develop a feel for how the dough should feel, and make slight adjustments.

So shiny you can see me in them
My bonbons or truffles (I think I'll call them truffles since they are chocolate inside chocolate) ended up with that perfect shiny snap, so I feel like I am not completely wrong in thinking you might be able to temper chocolate by sense. I heated up about 2/3 of the chocolate until it was melted, smooth, and had started to heat up (definitely not even close to boiling). I removed it from the heat and stirred chocolate drops in until they stopped melting easily, then put it back on the heat for a minute or so until it got glossy again. I had a plastic mold, and through trial and error discovered that the easiest way not to make a mess of things was to drop some of the chocolate into each divet, swirl it around with a brush until it had coated the sides, and then chill it. The first batch, I tried doing it where you ladle chocolate over the whole mold and pour the extra back into the pot, and all I really made was a huge mess!

Inside of the truffle
For the insides, I made two kinds of ganache. One was a dark chocolate mixed with ancho chili powder, a sprinkle of cayenne, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. The other was a milk chocolate ganache with a little Irish cream. The milk chocolate took a lot longer to get to the appropriate consistency, so we ate most of it as a snack later that week.

The truffles were tasty. Shiny and a good snap as you bit in, very soft and smooth in the middle, with a little bite due to the spices. Now that I have more of a hang of it, I think it would be simple to do again.... simple but not cheap. Making chocolates is an expensive venture! I think I may use this method the next time I make such things as peanut butter balls, just to have a better finish on the outside. I usually just melt down bags of chocolate chips, but using a tempered chocolate will really class things up a bit. Next time I will also plan ahead better and order bulk couverture chocolate online. I couldn't find any in local stores, and did buy some off of a chocolate shop in Asheville, but I couldn't rely on them as a source (it isn't like they have that chocolate on their menu or anything!).


Lisa said...

You did a GREAT job! They look delicious - I especially like your photos with the teeth marks!

Anonymous said...

Wow, they look great! So shiny! It is very expensive to make them unfortunately - but they always seem to end up better than the ones you can buy in most shops!

Lisa said...

Wow, Jenny, your tempered chocolate is spectacular! That shine is gorgeous! Also love the chili-chocolate and milk chocolate -Bailey's fillings! You really kicked some truffle and chocolate booty! I'm so glad you enjoyed it and learned a new skill while doing so. I bet there's going to be some very happy recipients of your future chocolates!

MandyM said...

Your bonbons look great! (I'd say bonbon 'cause they were moulded, not rolled by hand :D) They have a beautiful shine and no sign of blooming. Perfect!
Thanks for taking part in the challenge!

T. said...

Wowie, look at that shine! Great job on your tempering.