Baked Sunday Mornings: Truffles Redux

This week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe is Butterscotch Pudding Tarts. I made the tarts a while ago and loved them -- I would definitely recommend the recipe. But instead of making the tarts again this week, I decided to revisit a recent recipe: truffles

I made dark chocolate-raspberry truffles in November when they were on the schedule and I thought they were delicious.... but a massive pain in the butt to make due to the need to temper the chocolate. After that experience I decided I needed to up my tempering game. So I did two things. First, I bought several types of chocolate that have a high cocoa butter content and are therefore more fluid and well-suited to coating truffles, including Cacao Barry Lactee Superieure milk chocolate, Extra-Bitter Guayaquil dark chocolate, and Zéphyr Caramel white chocolate. Second, I decided to research other methods of tempering. I was going to buy some Callebaut Mycryo, which is powdered cocoa butter that can be added to chocolate to temper it. Then I came across this post from Chef Eddy Van Damme about using plain old cocoa butter -- that has been grated fine with a Microplane -- to temper chocolate. It seemed worth a try. I've been using his method to successfully temper chocolate since and I haven't looked back.

I actually tried making the Baked milk chocolate-almond truffles before and made the mixture for the centers, which is a milk chocolate ganache with almond-infused cream and almond extract added at the end. But I was so fed up after coating the raspberry truffles that I just threw away the milk chocolate ganache instead of of forming the centers and coating them. This time I made the ganache, chilled it overnight, used a #60 scoop to form the centers (I got 20 from my batch), and put them in the freezer while I tempered the chocolate. Tempering with the cocoa butter method is relatively straightforward. I melted the Lactee Superieure milk chocolate and brought it to 115 degrees; let it cool to 93 degrees; added Microplaned cocoa butter equal to 1% of the weight of the chocolate; let the chocolate cool to 87 degrees; and then it was ready to go. I wasn't sure how much chocolate I would need to coat the truffles, so I used 400 grams. I ended up with 225 grams left over.
If you compare the photo of my milk chocolate-almond truffles above to the raspberry-dark chocolate truffles I made a few months ago, the differences are clear. The coating on the milk chocolate truffles is much thinner and perfectly smooth. I did have to periodically reheat the chocolate while I was dipping truffles to keep it from getting too cool (dipping frozen ganache centers into a small amount of tempered chocolate is definitely going to decrease the temperature of the coating chocolate), but I just briefly set it back on top of a double boiler when the temperature was dropping too low. The finished truffles were lovely.

I have a lot of confidence in this tempering method because I've used it more than once. For our holiday party I made pecan pie truffles coated in Guayaquil 64% dark chocolate, and also got a beautiful thin coating on my truffles. They were a huge hit at our party and are pictured below.
And when our friends Jim and Colleen asked me to make the favors for their daughter McKenna's Star Wars-themed birthday party in December, I decided to make cookies in the shape of Resistance fighter pilots and molded chocolates. Conveniently, I already had several different Star Wars silicone molds on hand that were perfectly sized for chocolates -- I had purchased them back in September thinking I might use them for Stella's Chewbacca-themed party. I made dark chocolate Darth Vader heads, white chocolate Storm Trooper heads, and white and dark chocolate Han Solos frozen in carbonite.
I'm thrilled that chocolate tempering no longer scares me. And very happy that I was able to actually make these truffles after abandoning my first effort partway through.

Recipe: "Milk Chocolate Almond Truffles" from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

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Anonymous said…
Beautiful, and I *love* those Star Wars molded chocolates! My mind is blown-- I've never heard of this tempering method. I have cocoa butter chips, and I wonder if those would be good enough, or if it must be grated...
Louise said…
You really went over to the dark side. Love what you did with the silicone molds. I'm going to have to try this tempering method as it sounds like a winner. And, the Pecan Pie Truffles need to go on my baking list.
Dafna, I'm not 100% sure, but I suspect that you do have to grate the cocoa butter... but you could always grate the chips!
Thanks so much! The pecan pie truffles were a bit boozy for my taste, but they were a huge hit with the guests at our holiday party!