Grand Marnier Chocolate Truffles

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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!!!!!

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Le Macaron

We went to a wonderful brunch at the Terranea Resort a few weeks ago. It was absolutely delicious and amazing.  There was a table of deserts that my son loved.  He discovered the macaron-macaroon cookie.  It’s not a typical American Macaroon with coconut. It’s a merengue based cookie.  He had a chocolate one and loved it.  I had a coffee one, a pistachio one and it goes on.  They are delicious.  So he asked me to make him some.  Wow, that was a bit intimidating at first.  I looked up many recipes on the net and found so many.  I didn’t have too much trouble making them, but feel the recipe wasn’t the best.  It wasn’t as delicious as the ones I have had in the past at Laduree 

Beaten egg whites
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in Paris, and there was one in Milano as well.  I bought a book at TJMax that was calling my name.  It’s a book of Macaroons with over 30 recipes.  I will stick with the chocolate ones for my son but look forward to trying the pistachio and others out.  Yum again!

Ingredients

3/4 ground almonds

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

2 extra-large egg whites

1/4 cup superfine sugar

pinch of cream of tartar if you have.

filling:Ganache

3 1/2 oz or 100g semisweet chocolate chopped

2/3 heavy cream

 

Place ground almonds, confectioner’s sugar and cocoa in a food processor, process for 20 seconds.  You can also do this in a bowl, if you have no food processor.  You are then supposed to sift the mixture into a bowl.  I never do, but go ahead.

Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, very important, it will not work without the paper!

Using a spatula, fold in the almond mixture into the meringue mixture.  Oh forgot to tell you need to whip the egg whites before hand until it holds soft peaks.  ONce they hold peaks gradually beat int he superfine sugar to make them firm and glossy.  I have found that adding a pinch of cream of tartar helps.

Pour the batter into a pastry bag with about 1/2 inch tip, if you’ve no bag, use a ziplock and cut a small hole at the tip.  Pipe small circles onto the parchment paper.  Tap the baking sheets firmly onto a surface to remove any air bubbles.  Let stand at room temp for about 30 mins.  Preheat oven to 325F or 160 C

back for about 10-15 mins.  Cool for 10 mins and peel the macaroons off the parchement paper and let cool completely.  Works best if you have a wire, cooling rack.

Make the filling, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Heat the cream in a saucepan until just boiling then pour the hot cream over the chocolate, stir and let cool for about 15-20 mins.  Then you just make a little sandwich.  Delicious!!!

Enjoy and for those of you doing the Dukan diet, this is a great treat for the splurge days.  Or you can try and make a sugar free version!

Français : Macarons, Paris, France
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