You know I’m always looking for a good reason to eat chocolate. One might say I have a problem. Whatever. Chocolate is good for the soul.
I was hoping to whip up something chocolatey for a post today, but Owen isn’t feeling very well and we’re heading to the doctor in a bit. (I’m sure he’s fine, no worries…probably an ear infection, poor little guy!) Even though the day is not going as planned, I can’t leave you completely chocolate-less on Valentine’s Day! So, I’m reposting a recipe from a few years ago.
Oh how I wish I had time to make these truffles today. THEY ARE SO GOOD. I think that’s really all I have to say. Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!!
Scotch Truffle Hearts
Recipe contributed to the Scharffen Berger book Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate by Alice Medrich. From the book: Since we began Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, Cocolat founder Alice Medrich has been a constant help, ready to lend a hand with everything from bean tasting to recipe tasting. We’re especially honored to have Alice’s chocolate recipes in our book because both of us are fans of her chocolate confections, which she first began selling in Berkeley in the 1970s. These chocolates have a thin dark shell around a decadently soft center, underscored with the warmth and fragrance of a single-malt Scotch. Alice recommends that you mix this ganache gently with a spatula rather than vigorously with a whisk. Because the chocolate coating is not tempered, the hearts must be stored in the refrigerator to keep them from discoloring or blooming. Enjoy them cold, right from the refrigerator, or let them sit at room temperature for a half an hour or so, to bring up the flavors of the chocolate and the Scotch.
– 7 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
– 1 cup heavy cream
– 2 tbsp. single-malt Scotch
– 12 ounces 82% extra dark chocolate, finely chopped
– 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
Line an 8X8 inch 2-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, overlapping the top slightly, and set out a fine-mesh strainer.
Place the 62% chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate, and stir gently with a heatproof spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Do not whisk or splash the mixture by stirring too briskly, or the texture of the chocolates will be cakey and granular. Add the Scotch and stir just to incorporate. (Jane note: I left out the Scotch b/c I didn’t have it on hand and they came out very delicious just the same!)
Strain the ganache into the prepared pan. Tilt the pan to level the ganache. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Transfer the pan of the ganache to the refrigerator to soften for 20 minutes. Choose a baking sheet of dish that will fit in your freezer and line it with parchment paper.
Place a sheet of foil about 12 inches long on your work surface. Remove the ganach, using the foil that you used to line the pan to help lift it. Invert it onto the clean sheet of foil. Peel the foil from the bottom.
Using a 1 1/2-inch heart-shaped cutter, cut out hearts as close together as possible to avoid excessive amounts of scraps, and transfer to the prepared pan. (Jane note: I found a set of heart cutters for fondant made by Wilton at Michaels – the hearts were 3 sizes, which was helpful in making a lot of hearts with little scraps. The leftover chocolate I rolled into round balls to make a more traditionally-shaped truffle.) If the ganache becomes too soft to work with, cover with plastic wrap and return to the freezer to harden.
Once all of the hearts are cut, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until very hard, at least 4 hours or overnight. (At this point the hearts can be placed in a an airtight container and frozen for up to 2 months.)
TO COAT THE HEARTS: Choose a baking sheet or pan that will fit in your refrigerator and line with parchment paper.
Melt the 82% chocolate and stir until smooth. Cool to 100-105 degrees F. (Jane note – I melted the chocolate over a double boiler. The chocolate was quite warm and took some time to come down in temperature. At 109 degrees it started to harden, so I would recommend working with it around 115 degrees – I had no problems with it melting the truffles.)
Put the bowl of melted chocolate next to the prepared baking pan.
Remove the hearts from the freezer one small batch at a time. Place a heart in the center of the bowl of chocolate and, using a dipping fork or table fork, flip it over and push it under the surface of the chocolate to coat completely. Slip the fork under the center and lift the heart out of the chocolate, tap the fork on the side of the bowl so any excess chocolate drips back into the bowl, and then wipe the bottom of the fork on the edge of the bowl and set the heart on the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining hearts. (Jane note: These directions were spot on and it was actually pretty easy to do if you follow them. I did need to zap the dipping chocolate twice in the process to remelt it a bit.)
Use a small fine-mesh strainer or shaker to dust the hearts with the cocoa. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until the chocolate has hardened. (Jane note: the chocolate hardened FAST…so if you’re going to put toppings on (cocoa, powdered sugar, decorative sugar crystals, sea salt) you gotta get them on there quickly!)
The hearts can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Makes 30-36 hearts.