I'm a strong believer in being there for your friends. And when one of my friends was recently dumped, I thought what better way to temporarily heal wounds then with chocolate... and cocktails ;-) So this Friday night was filled with girlfriends, truffles, brownie bites, and a little bit of booze too. Perfect opportunity to try my hand at SMBP's boozey black & white truffles.
This is what I greeted my friends with:
Refer to Heather's wonderful blog for the recipe (and better pictures!) - I used dried plums for the fruit as suggested, and pretty much followed the recipe exactly (I just added a tiny bit less of the melted chocolate to the truffle filling, and a tiny bit more frangelico). I actually made these at 11pm Thursday night... and was up til about 1AM. (Friday was not a great work day.) I was bitchin' and moanin' as I was making them, because I managed to ruin an ENTIRE bag of white chocolate chips. I was having trouble getting the white chocolate thin enough, so I thought I'd share some chocolate-melting tips I learned through my own mishaps:
- Do NOT add milk to try to thin the white chocolate. It will seize (form a messy clump.) - I would have been fine to save this clump 'o chocolate for frosting in a different recipe that doesn't require melted chococolate later, but then I proceeded to my next fail:
- Do NOT try to melt white chocolate in the microwave. This ruins it completely (can't even use it in cookies or frostings, since it burns). You can melt regular (dark) chocolate in the microwave, but you have to watch it to avoid having it seize up.
- Melt the white chocolate slowly in a double boiler over low heat, stirring frequently once the chips begin to loose their shape.
- Have enough water in the bottom of the double boiler, but not so much that it's touching the top pan.
- Try to avoid having lots of steam escape from the double boiler.
I decorated some of my truffles with almond slivers and some with dark or semisweet chocolate. I kind of gave up on drizzling since I was too tired at this point to use the double boiler, so not all of my truffles looked as pretty. But I DO recommend drizzling with chocolate, since it makes for such a pretty truffle!
(*Update: for easy drizzling, use a mini whisk and shake it around- it creates a perfect drizzled topping! Also, after melting the chocolate for the tuffle centers, you can scrape the remaining chocolate from the pan with a spatula, transfer to a small microwave safe bowl, and use that to re-heat it for drizzling.)
When I ate a few of these fresh, I was a tad disappointed- after all that work, I didn't love 'em, and the boozey taste didn't seem to be coming through that much. BUT WAIT- after a night chilled in the fridge, they were AMAZING (and I mean dangerously so)- I think they just needed to cool and set, so the inner truffle part had that perfect consistency. And I may be crazy, but I think the boozey flavor came out more after they had chilled.
I'm also really happy to say that these don't melt sitting out at room temperature for a while. Other homemade chocolates seem to have that problem, but these were perfectly stable left out while guests were over for 3-4 hours. I would recommend storing leftovers in the fridge, though.
Despite saying, "I'm never doing this again" as I was making them, rolling and covering tons of little balls, I changed my mind.... yep, I'm gonna make these again ;-) They are too good not to share with friends.
Oh yeah, and I almost forgot about dinner! I was enticed by Genevieve's quinoa with roasted grapes recipe, so I made a version of that (similar to this one), but with wheat berries and asparagus. I loved the roasted grapes! Such a cool addition to the recipe, unexpected and delicious. I also made an arugula salad with roasted beets, pears, and figs (simply wrap the sliced pears & figs in tin foil and roast at 400F for about 20 min; for the beets, slightly longer, and you can drizzle with balsamic.) - Use the juices from the roasted beets & fruits for dressing, plus a little balsamic if you want. Makes for a delicious salad.
Nothing like good food and friends to make someone feel better!