December 16, 2009

12 Days of Goodies- Day 4: Chocolate Ganache Truffles

As much as I love sweets and trying new and different baked treats, I always come back to the tried and true chocolate. Sometimes, when that hankering for something sweet kicks in, nothing can hit the spot like a good piece of dark chocolate. And I don't particularly mind what vessel that dark chocolate comes in, be it a liquid, a bar, or candy coated. But there is something slightly better than pure dark chocolate. Chocolate mixed with heavy cream, thus creating one of the most heavenly things on earth... ganache. The word alone drips with decadence. So when I went in search of that perfect bite of chocolate, I immediately turned to Ina Garten. Of course, not to my surprise, I was able to find a recipe for chocolate truffles that seemed as easy as they did delicious. I am usually game for a challenge in the kitchen, but when you sign up to bake something 12 days in a row, taking the easy road every now and then only seems sane. But come to think of it, simplicity and chocolate really go hand in hand. Chocolate is often best enjoyed in its natural state, without all the fuss.

Chocolate Ganache Truffles
Recipes (slightly) adapted from Ina Garten, courtesy of Food Network

1/2 pound good bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli)
1/2 pound good semisweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons orange flavored liqueur, optional (recommended: Grand Marnier)
1 tablespoon prepared coffee
1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract
confectioners’ sugar
sweetened cocoa powder

Other optional coatings:
toasted coconut
toasted, chopped almonds, peanuts, or hazelnuts
chopped toffee bits

1. Chop the chocolates finely with a sharp knife, or in a food processor. Place in a heat-proof mixing bowl.

2. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just boils. Turn off the heat and allow the cream to sit for 20 seconds. Pour the cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the bowl with chocolate. With a wire whisk, slowly stir the cream and chocolates together until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the orange flavored liqueur, if using, coffee, and vanilla. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

3. Mix about 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar with 3/4 cup sweetened cocoa powder in a shallow dish. With a melon baller or small cookie dough scoop, spoon round balls of the chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll each ball of chocolate in your hands to make it round. Roll in the confectioners’ sugar-cocoa powder mix, or try one (or all!) of the other optional coatings. Store rolled truffles in an airtight container and they will keep for weeks in the refrigerator, but serve them at room temperature.

Makes bout 35-40 truffles

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