Truffles are, I think, one of three or four perfect desserts. They’re not at all fussy to make, but they are always a treat: luscious, full of flavor, and small enough to really savor. Perfect for a New Year’s Day brunch.
After a few minutes standing and doing eeny-meeny-miny-mo at the bulk section of our co-op, I decided to make these with malt-sweetened chocolate. It’s much less sweet, and has a nicely malted flavor. After all the excess of the season, it was a nice reprieve, and wasn’t even rejected by the wee ones.
By the way, all the pictures except for the one at left were taken by my friend Cynthea. My lust for a DSLR camera is now officially at full tilt.
Malty, Gingery, Orange-y Truffles
Heavily adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe
Yield: about 30
1. Using your microwave, or in a bowl set over simmering water, melt together:
- 10 oz. malt-sweetened dark chocolate chips, or bars chopped fine (You can probably find this at your local health food store or in the health food section of your large supermarket. If you can’t find it, go ahead and use regular dark chocolate, but you will then have Unmalty, Gingery, Orange-y Truffles.)
- 3 T. unsalted butter
When softened, stir and set aside.
2. In a small heavy saucepan, heat:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 T. light corn syrup
until simmering. Remove from heat and whisk in:
- 1 T. vanilla
- 2 t. orange blossom water
Pour over chocolate and butter mixture, and let stand for a minute or two. Beat together well with a rubber spatula, until very smooth.
3. Spread chocolate mixture into a pie plate or glass pan. Refrigerate for an hour.
4. Once chocolate has set, scoop out nascent truffles with the larger side of a melon baller. (Don’t worry – they’re not supposed to be perfect little spheres at this point.) Place a piece of parchment on a plate or cookie sheet, and refrigerate for half an hour. (This timing matters if you want to make them immediately. Longer than half an hour and they’ll be too hard to work, necessitating some time at room temperature for malleability.)
5. While the truffles are becoming workable, chop:
- 1/4 c. crystallized ginger
into 1/4″ dice and put aside.
6. In a pie plate, mix together:
- 1/2 c. raw sugar
- 1/2 pinch kosher salt
- 1/2 pinch dried orange peel
- 1 T. cocoa powder
- 1 t. malt powder (if you use sugar-sweetened chocolate)
7. When the chocolate is set but workable, take each one and place a piece of ginger in its little indentation and then roll in your hands until it becomes something of a ball.
8. Roll in the sugar mixture firmly, so that all sides are covered. Repeat for all. A few minutes of chilling won’t hurt, though they’re best at room temperature. (Do you know why this is always true of chocolate, by the way? It’s because it melts at just about the temperature of the human body, and so you get its peak flavor if it goes onto your tongue warmer rather than cooler.)