The Christmas chocolate dipping is finally complete.
Hold on...I need to stretch...oh my back...oh my feet....
I'm in need of a massage.
I am now revealing my secret for my gingerbread truffles. Time consuming? Yes, but so worth it.
This is my secret. Truffle shells. I purchase my truffle shells through Hauser Chocolates in Rhode Island. Yes, I have them shipped to Utah. I make sure the temperatures have cooled down before I order. I don't want them melting during shipping. I order pecans from Georgia (they are amazing). Belgium Callebaut chocolate, Tahitian Vanilla bean, etc.
I purchase the milk chocolate 26 mm shells. They cost $18 for 126 shells. I first ordered the dark chocolate shells because I'm a dark chocolate lover, but I thought it was just too much dark flavor going on. The center is filled with a dark chocolate ganache and they are dipped in dark chocolate. That's why I opted for the milk.
The shells are packaged very well and rarely do I have a broken shell.
For the Gingerbread ganache you will need:
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
15 whole allspice berries
15 whole cloves
2 tablespoons milk-flavored (light) molasses
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
AND 16 ounces of chopped semi-sweet chocolate.
Place the cream in a medium size sauce pan.
Add the molasses,
and fresh ginger.
Bring the cream mixture to a very slow simmer. Cover. Remove from the heat and let stand 30 minutes.
Reheat the cream to a low simmer again. They pour through a strainer over the chopped chocolate.
(yes, I know, the handle broke off my strainer. Santa...hint, hint)
Strain out the solids and throw them out.
Let the mixture stand for at least 5 minutes. Don't rush this. Just allow the hot cream to melt the chocolate.
Beginning in the center, stir.
Slowly moving out toward the edges of the bowl.
You ganache is complete.
Stick your finger in a take a taste. Don't use a spoon or you'll eat the entire bowl. It's that good.
This is important:
Allow the ganache to cool completely. Do I need to repeat myself?
If you don't cool completely the warm ganache will melt the truffle shells. No bueno.
I know from experience.
You will notice that these cute little shells have a good size hole in the top.
You will need a pastry bag fitted with a tip that has a good size hole. Not too small or it will take you forever to fill the shells. Not too big or you will have ganache oozing out everywhere.
I would suggest purchasing disposable pastry bags. Dang! I was out.
Note to self: stalk up of disposable pastry bags.
Slowly fill the little shells with the ganache.
You will have about 1/4-1/2 cup of the filling left over. That's a good thing because it makes the most amazing hot chocolate. To die for hot chocolate. It will keep for about 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator and freezes well.
Gently tap the shells so the filling settles and fills the shell completely.
Cover with plastic wrap and let set in a cool place, NOT the refrigerator, for 24 hours.
I allow all chocolate centers to sit for 24 hours before dipping. It just makes life easier.
I thought I would be smart and reuse the plastic cover that comes with the shells. You will notice in some of the following photos, that it's a bad idea because it sticks to the ganache and then they become extremely difficult to remove.
What was I thinking. I knew that. Ugh! Menopause!
This is my warming pan that will melt a 10 lb block of chocolate. Because I have about 50 million chocolates to dip today, I am melting 10+ pounds.
I'm trying to think about how much chocolate you will need to melt to just dip the truffles. Hmmmm at least 3 pounds. That's a safe amount.
What the heck, just buy a 10 pound block. You know you'll use it eventually. I always do.
Now it's time for tempering 101.
Once you have melted chocolate you MUST, MUST temper it. If you don't you will have those nasty white streaks in your chocolate and it will crumble and will not have the "snap" that you want when you take a bit.
Whether you are dipping truffles, strawberries, pretzels, whatever. You must temper melted chocolate.
Chocolate is very temperamental. It needs love and care. It needs to be handled perfectly.
Here is a very good link for tempering and here for more technical instructions.
My explanation: Melt the chocolate over warm NOT EVEN simmering water. It feels quite warm to the touch. Once the chocolate is melted I pour out about 1 cup onto a marble slab. This is when I get messy. I Begin to stir it with my hands until the chocolate is very cool to the touch. If I were to smear some of the chocolate onto a piece of waxed paper, it should set up quickly. It should maintain it's sheen and snap.
Did I mention that I have my kitchen COLD. I turn off the heat and open windows and doors and freeze for about 12 hours.
I would like to you pause for just a moment, notice the filled truffle shells in the back ground. Can you see the broken shells? Ugh. This is because I put the plastic cover back on instead of using plastic wrap. I was really hoping to hide this from you. Dang camera captured the boo boo.
Keep stirring that chocolate.
The chocolate will be give to thicken a bit as it cools.
Can I just tell you how hard this is to do while taking pictures.
I work with my right hand and keep my left have clean.
Drop the truffle into the tempered chocolate.
Cover with chocolate. I like to keep the hole of the truffle shell on the bottom. This will give me a great flat bottom for the finished truffle.
Pick it up in your fingers.
Tap off any excess chocolate. At this point the flat part of the truffle shell is pointed up.
Just turn the truffle over so the flat part sits on the waxed paper.
Whoops I forgot that part. Have several baking sheets lined with waxed paper ready to go before you start the dipping process.
I like to top the truffles with a piece of candied ginger.
This way I can tell which truffle is which and why my son's call these truffles "Nipples of Venus".
I store my candy in tins. My husbands grandmother just happen to have tins from large reels of film from the olden days. They work perfectly, because I don't like to stack the truffles. You now have 126 Gingerbread Truffles to give to your friends and family.
This is a one pound box of chocolates ready to be wrapped and delivered.
Don't you just love this waxed paper lining I have. Williams-Sonoma used to carry this every year. I just loved it. Last year they stopped. What the heck? I want it back. I've already complained. Didn't work.
Here is a past photo of the assorted chocolates that I dip. This year they have been made with my homemade cultured butter. Let me tell you the English Toffee is amazing. I am pretty much dipped out for a season and I am glad I can put it behind me and enjoy the holiday season.
Please take a moment of read my last years post Christmas Chocolates if you are interested in the history behind my chocolate dipping. Each chocolate dipped with love in remembrance of my wonderful Grandmother, who will always hold a deep place in my heart.
Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I believe that Christmas should be celebrated to it's fullest for this reason. Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem to Mary. His arms are stretched out to us always with the great invitation to "come unto Him". I will rejoice His birth this holiday season as I give a little homemade gift to those I love.
My gift to you: The True Meaning of Christmas
As promised, I would like to send a few boxes of chocolates out to you dedicated followers or to anyone who just happens to stumble upon this post. On December 14th I will let the magic of Random.com select three winners of a box of my home dipped chocolates.
Just fill out the entry form below. I will let Random.org select a winner on Friday, Dec. 14th. Then I will ship out three boxes of chocolates, to anywhere (that's possible) and hopefully you will received them by Christmas.