Sunday, November 13, 2011

Super Simple Chocolate Truffles: Espresso Flavoured and Oh So Good

For a coffee and chocolate lover, there is nothing better than lounging at a quaint little cafe and drinking a strong espresso while savouring a single decadent dark chocolate truffle.  If you don't have an espresso maker at home, nor an espresso café or gourmet chocolate shop nearby, then I have an easy way for you to recreate the experience and the flavours in one delectable home-made truffle.

This is Camino's former packaging. 
To see their new branding and
packaging colours, click here.
The simplest way to make a tasty espresso-flavoured chocolate truffle is by using a similarly flavoured chocolate bar in your recipe.  It saves you from the added steps of soaking espresso beans in cream and from pairing just the right espresso beans with the chocolate you are using. 

My favourite espresso-flavoured chocolate bar is the Camino Espresso Dark Chocolate bar with 55% cacao. And it is great for making decadent chocolate truffles with a real coffee kick.  It comes in 100 gram format and is a solid, smooth dark chocolate that has no crunchy bits of espresso or coffee beans in it, so it is perfect for making a smooth truffle. It is also Fair Trade certified and made with organic ingredients, and its flavour reminds me of a very dark roast coffee from Starbucks (or Bridgehead Coffee House in Ottawa, known for their very dark fair trade and organic coffee - love them!). I am often looking for that strong dark roast coffee experience when I eat flavoured chocolate and Camino`s Espresso bar is the closest thing to it that I have found.  It is the perfect pairing of coffee and chocolate in my view, and with 55% cacao, it has just the right sweetness.

So once you have tasted a piece or two of the chocolate, you can break it all up and make some truffles. Coat the truffles in white chocolate and you'll have a real coffee and cream experience. Here is my super-easy recipe...


Lisabeth's Super Simple 'Café au Lait' Truffles:

Ingredients:
  • 3 100 gram Camino Espresso 55% Dark Chocolate bars (approx 10.5 oz) - or your preferred brand of smooth espresso-flavoured 100 gram chocolate bars
  • 1 cup whipping cream
Instructions:
Step 1 Break up all three Espresso chocolate bars in small pieces and place in a stainless steel or glass bowl.


Step 2 Heat cream in a small saucepan on the stove top just until boiling point is reached.  Pour three-quarters over bowl of chocolate and begin to stir.  Once the cream is mixed in and looks smooth (don't worry if there are still some larger chunks of chocolate), add the remaining hot cream and stir until full mixture is smooth (The reason why it is best to pour 3/4 of cream at first is because too much hot cream all at once can cause the chocolate mixture to become grainy and it would take a lot of cooling an reheating to turn it smooth again).


Step 3 Place a lid over the bowl or place cellophane wrap directly on chocolate mixture and let set overnight on the counter (or for 6-8 hours if you are doing Step 1 in the morning and rolling your truffles in the evening). Once set, place in refrigerator and refrigerate for at least one-to-two hours.


Step 4 With a spoon, scoop out truffle and roll in the palm of your hands to create balls.  If your hands are melting the chocolate and it is difficult to create round truffle balls, wear some thin clean kitchen gloves.  The gloves will prevent the heat of your hands from melting the chocolate.  Roll truffles in any size that you prefer, depending how large you want your truffles to be.  Place each ball on wax paper on a pan and put back in the fridge while you prepare your chocolate for dipping.


Step 5  Melt 100 grams (3.5 oz) of white chocolate (see tip below for choosing a white chocolate).  To melt and temper quickly, place chopped or broken white chocolate in a microwave-safe bow and microwave on HALF power (level 5) for TWO minutes. Take out and stir until smooth.  If there are still large chunks, microwave for only 5 seconds at a time and stir each time to check if chocolate is melted (DO NOT OVERHEAT OR CHOCOLATE WILL BURN).  If chocolate becomes grainy, it is burnt or water has gotten into it and you will need to start over.  So ensure that your hands, bowl and spoon are dry and no droplets of water get in.


Step 6  Take truffle balls out of fridge.  Place a new clean sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet.  Place one truffle ball in melted chocolate at a time and coat with chocolate.  Spear with a fork or skewer (or chocolate dipping fork if you have one) and lift out carefully and place on wax paper.  For coconut-covered truffle balls, immediately roll the truffle in a dish of sweetened, shredded coconut while the white chocolate coating is still warm and melty.


Step 7 Chill in refrigerator and store in an airtight container for up to 10 days.  If you wish, freeze immediately and pull them out as you need them - they make a great addition to a dessert tray during the holidays.  The coconut-white chocolate covered truffles look like snowballs and make for a perfect winter treat display.


Tips for choosing White Chocolate: I used Camino organic white chocolate couverture, however you could use Valrhona or Callebaut or just white baking chocolate from the grocery store, if you have nothing else.  A 100 gram Green & Black's white chocolate bar would do as well if you want to stick to all organic chocolate.


With seven steps above, it may seem complicated, but it really is a very simple recipe and once you've made truffles a few times, you'll be able to do it with your eyes closed!

Here are the details on the Camino Espresso Dark Chocolate bar that I was sampling today (who doesn't sample the chocolate while making truffles?!?):

Camino Espresso Dark Chocolate, 55% cacao, 100 g
La Siembra Co-operative, Ottawa, Canada
http://www.lasiembra.com/camino/en/chocolate-bars/espresso
Organic Ingredients: cacao mass*, golden cane sugar*, cacao butter*, whole cane sugar*, ground coffee*, ground vanilla beans*.  *FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED. May contain traces of nuts, peanuts, soy and dairy products.

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