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Monday, April 20, 2009

Truffles, Part 2: Dipping the Centers

I think that it is so funny how you can do something so many times and suddenly, you figure out a whole new way to do it that is awesome. I have never made such perfect truffles before! They had always turned out fine. You know, they were homemade. But I always had problems dipping the truffles and having them turn out properly because I am too cheap to buy the expensive chocolate used by the pros for dipping. Couverture is used for dipping because it is more fluid at dipping tempertures. Well, I'm sorry; I'm not going to use it! It's hard to come by and it's darn pricey. So I always make do with Ghiradelli's chocolate, which tastes great but is a little thick for dipping. I used to always end up with really thick coatings and puddles around the bottom of the truffle as they cooled.

So what was that new thing I figured out? Hand rolling the truffles completely negates the problems of using a less fluid chocolate for coating your centers. I had read about hand rolling, but somehow never got the right mojo going for it. Now I can't believe it took me so long to figure out. It's so easy! Here's how it works:

Dipping the Centers

Temper about a third again as much chocolate as you think you will need to coat your centers using the procedure shown in my Tempering Chocolate 101 post. Prepare to hold the chocolate at the working temperature of 87-92 degrees with a heating pad (see tempering post for details).

Have all your centers sitting at room temperature. If you are dipping loose centers, then have them just cold enough to hold together. Using my "rolling" method, you will need to dip the truffles twice. But if the chocolate is properly tempered, you should be able to do a second dip within 10-15 minutes. A second dip will cover any cracks that develop or places where the first dip was too thin and filling came squirting out (see picture). The filling comes out through thin spots because the warm chocolate coating heats the filling enough to expand slightly. Just knock the tail off and proceed with your second dip.


I've outlined the rolling procedure in the video below. However, a couple of items to note. You want each coating of chocolate to be relatively thin. This keeps a large "foot" from forming on the bottom of the truffle, which can be unappealing. On your second dip, you will want to try to have the same edge down as before so that your finished truffle doesn't have a funny flat spot on it. Lastly, when I roll the truffles off of my hand, I am careful to have the last spot my fingers touch be on the top of the truffle. This seems to give the best finished appearance. Look for how I do this in the video.

The only other important thing to mention is that if you are making multiple flavors, you need to think about how to differentiate them. You can top truffles with all sorts of things. Melt some white chocolate or make royal icing in any color to make designs. Sprinkle with candy toppings (you'll probably need a helper to do this as the sprinkles need to be applied before the coating hardens). Be imaginative - the sky's the limit here!

Truffles are shelf stable and can remain fresh unrefrigerated for about a month provided they are kept from overheating. If you want to store them longer, they can be refrigerated or frozen. Thaw frozen truffles in the refrigerator. Let all refrigerated truffles come to room temperature before eating.

3 comments:

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  2. Michelle, thanks for the heads up. I've never heard of this wacanai. I'll have to check it out!

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