Saturday, July 28, 2012

Roasted Almond Chocolate Truffles

Truffles! They're rich, smooth, and chocolate-y...if not a bit messy to make. This recipe adds roasted almond morsels to the traditional mix, bringing satisfying crunch and depth of flavor to the luxurious smoothness of a typical truffle.

Truffle recipes are very versatile, and despite the addition of crunchy toasted almonds to the batter, this recipe is no different. You can add different extracts, liqueurs, and flavorful tidbits to the batter, and you have a world of garnishes in which to roll the finished truffles. I split my batch into fifths, and rolled each in a different garnish: cocoa powder, toasted chopped walnut, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and crushed Oreo.
Beware, perfectionists! Forget about making these chocolate delights look like they came out of a machine. Instead just savor the flavor, and embrace the imperfection of humanity. And, maybe, add a friend: the job can be made easier if one person scoops and shapes the truffles and another person rolls them in garnish.

Roasted Almond Chocolate Truffles
yeild: ~ 40 truffles 3/4-inch diameter each

1 c. whipping cream
11 oz. bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped
2 T. unsalted butter, chopped into cubes
3 T. espresso or Disaronno (almond liquer) 
a pinch of salt
1 c. (4 oz.) unblanched almonds, roasted and finely chopped (Roast at ~400 F for several minutes, until golden brown, checking often and stirring almonds/rotating pan as necessary for even browning)

Garnish for rolling: 1 c. (4 oz.) unblanched almonds, roasted and finely chopped
  1. In a heavy 1 1/2- to 2-qt. saucepan, scald the cream. Remove from heat. Quickly and carefully stir in the chocolate with a spoon...the less air you incorporate into the mixture, the smoother your truffles will be. Allow to sit 5 minutes while the chocolate melts.  Add the butter, almonds, pinch of salt, and espresso or liqueur. Stir the mixture thoroughly with a spoon to fully incorporate the ingredients, careful again not to introduce air bubbles.
  2. Allow to cool uncovered for several hours at room temperature. This cooling stage contributes to a creamier truffle. Then, cover and refrigerate until set, 6 to 12 hours.
  3. Scoop teaspoon-sized amount of truffle out of the cooled mixture -- the small end of a melon-baller works well for this. You may also use a small spoon or a "spring-loaded" 1-inch cookie/gelato scoop. Dipping the spoon in powdered sugar between scoops can hep keep the truffle mixture from sticking. 
  4. Roll into balls using fingertips; avoid using your palms, which are much warmer and will more quickly melt the mixture.  Roll each ball in the remaining 1 c. roasted almonds.
  5. Store well-sealed in the refrigerator for at least 2 hrs or up to one week. You can also store them for up to a month in the freezer.
  6. Allow chilled truffles to rest 5-10 minutes at room temperature before serving.
Variations:  Substitute walnuts, pecans, or other nuts for the almonds; Substitute liqueur of your choice for Disaronno; Add a teaspoon of extract to the mixture; Roll truffles in garnish of your choice sweetened or unsweetened cocoa, roasted finely chopped nuts, toasted coconut, crushed oreos, graham cracker crumbs, nut flours, crushed toffee, powdered sugar, combination of powdered sugar and cocoa, sprinkles, sugar crystals.