Grand Marnier Chocolate Truffles

ganacheIMG_1213IMG_1216

 

 

I needed a desert for a thanksgiving party and felt that by the time people got to desert they’d be pretty full. I decided chocolate truffles are always easy to go down, just one bite. I made these as little gifts for my weddings, used them to decorate around a birthday cake… I am also going to give them as gifts for the holidays. I will just put 5 or 6 in a little clear plastic bag, tie a cute bow and that’s it!  You can also get nice small candy boxes at cooking stores or craft stores. There are also molds to make your truffles perfectly round with no mistakes, but I like the homemade look to my truffles.  I don’t want them to look professional just taste that way.

 

Ingredients:

16 ounces of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate finely chopped.  I usually use the big dark chocolate bars (500 grams) from Trader Joe’s.

1 cup heavy cream (not whipping cream)

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier ( you can also use triple sec, framboise, or any other flavored liqueurs)

24 ounces chopped dark chocolate for melting and dipping the truffle balls.

For decorating:  Chopped nuts (pistachios, walnuts, pecans,…. ) powdered sugar, sel de cali- orange flavored sea salt, melted white chocolate, sprinkles… what ever you want: get creative.  chopped chocolate

 

Directions:  Put the chocolate into a large heatproof bowl.  In a small saucepan over medium heat bring the cream to a slight boil.  Pour cream over chopped chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Add your favorite liqueur ( about 2 tablespoons).  Put mixture, which is actually called a ganache, in the fridge over night or if you are pressed for time, pour the ganache in a shallow dish and put in the refrigerator/freezer for about 30 mins.  Once the chocolate seems ready in a solid pliable form, not hard, start making little balls with a teaspoon or a melon baller.  Don’t make the balls too big, remember this will be the inside of your truffle, there will still be an exterior layer of hardened chocolate.

Place the balls on a lined baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place the sheet in the refrigerator for another 10 mins.  cheap double boilerMeanwhile chop and melt the 24 ounces of chocolate over a double boiler.  I don’t have one so I balanced a heat proof bowl over a sauce pan filled with water boiling.  Once the chocolate is melted, take the balls out of the fridge. Dip and swirl each in the melted chocolate. place on cookie sheet and sprinkle on nuts, salt..whatever you want. You can also roll it in chopped nuts.  I just kept mine with little added sprinkles and maybe one or two rolled in nuts.  Once you are done, put the truffles back in the fridge.  Continue until all are done.  By the way, don’t re-heat chocolate or over cook, it will break down and won’t work. The truffles last up to 2 weeks and the best is to refrigerate them.

Enjoy!!!!!

IMG_1210

 

Cauliflower Au Gratin

A great side dish or even a meal if you add hard-boiled eggs.  This specific photo is without the eggs.

cauwlflower au gratin

The first step is to cut up one whole cauliflower and blanch the florets or steam for just a bit, don’t cook entirely.  Put the semi cooked cauliflower in a nice pan or casserole dish to bake.  Turn the oven on to 350 F.

Next make a home-made bechamel sauce.  This requires a lot of attention and stirring.  Once your bechamel sauce is done, pour it into the pan with the cauliflower.  Top off the dish with some grated Gruyère cheese and a bit of grated parmesan.  Bake for 30 mins and turn the heat up to 400 bake for 10 more minutes so the cheese gets browned.  If you want to turn this into a meal you can place 4 hard-boiled eggs cut in half on top of the cauliflower mixture and then add cheese.

 

Cauliflower
Cauliflower (Photo credit: Indiana Public Media)

Ingredients:  1 head of cauliflower

1 cup grated Gruyère Cheese

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Parmesan Cheese (or more accurately, Parmigian...
Parmesan Cheese (or more accurately, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

For the béchamel: 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons fresh grated nutmeg, 3 cups whole milk, 4 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons flour.

To make the béchamel.  Put the 3 cups of milk to heat in a pot keep warm and don’t let it boil, turn as heat as low as possible.  In a pot melt the butter and add the 3 tablespoons of flour, stirring constantly until you form a nice colored roux.  approximately 3 mins of stirring.  Add little by little the warm milk by constantly stirring. Once all the milk is mixed in, continue to stir and get the bechamel bubbling.  If it’s thin at first, don’t worry, it will eventually thicken.  Once it’s the consistency of heavy cream you can remove from heat.  Stir in the salt, Nutmeg and mix in about 1/2 cup of the grated Gruyère cheese ( or a good swiss cheese).  Poor it over your cauliflower.  Make sure all the florets  are covered.  Then add the remaining 1/2 cup Gruyère and sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese.  Bake!  It’s a great dish to bring to  pot luck, to have as a side with meat, fish, poultry, great for Thanksgiving and other holiday dinners.  And again, you can make this the main dish by added hard-boiled eggs cut in half.  Enjoy-yum