Monday, January 10, 2011

Gingerbread Truffles

 We may be a bit past the time of year for gingerbread. But hey, things that are rich, delicious, and covered with chocolate never go out of season. Behold: gingerbread truffles. I'm not a huge huge fan of gingerbread by itself but these truffles, well, they take all the potential dryness and bread-iness of usual gingerbread and, well, make it exponentially better. By taking out the bread and adding chocolate. 

And who can argue with that?

The original recipe (from Bon Appetit, December 2005) called for half of these to be dunked in semi-sweet chocolate but as I'm a sucker for white chocolate (and I was making other kinds of semi-sweet truffles), I decided to go all white chocolate for this recipe. And I was pleased with my decision. Very pleased. 

Ingredients

3/4 cup whipping cream
10 whole allspice
10 whole cloves
1 tablespoon mild-flavored (light) molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
7 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
7 ounces plus 12 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), chopped
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger plus additional for garnish

Method

Bring first 7 ingredients just to boil in heavy medium saucepan; remove from heat and let steep 1 hour.
Combine 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate and 7 ounces white chocolate in large metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water; stir until chocolate is melted and smooth (see chef's note at bottom for help with this). Remove bowl from over water. Strain cream mixture into chocolate; stir to blend. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger. Chill filling until firm, at least 3 hours.

Line baking sheet with parchment. Using 1-inch melon baller, scoop filling and roll between palms to form balls. Place on parchment. Chill truffles at least 2 hours.

Line another baking sheet with parchment. Place 12 ounces white chocolate in another medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water; stir until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water. Cool until thermometer inserted into chocolate registers 100°F. Hold 1 truffle between thumb and index finger; dip halfway into white chocolate. Place on prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining truffles. If desired, press small pieces of crystallized ginger atop truffles. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover; keep chilled.)

Chef's Note: Now, truffles are the latest "hip" make-it-yourself gift and, as a "hip gift-giver" myself, I admit, these work well. They look impressive and well, who doesn't like truffles? There is a trick to working with chocolate though. When double-boiling/melting the chocolate, you run the risk of having the chocolate separate on you, making it go all glossy and nasty. It won't fridge right, and it'll make it impossible to work the ganache into balls. If this does happen, never fear! If you see your chocolate start to separate, throw a dash (only a dash!) of hot/boiling water into the melting chocolate. The chocolate will come right back together and you can get on with your ganache making in safety. This happens to me almost every time I make anything with chocolate and without this trick, I would have given up chocolate long ago.

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