Saturday, February 17, 2007

DIY -- Martha's Chocolate Truffles

About a year ago I tried making the Chocolate-Champagne Truffles in Sparkling Sugar in the Winter 2006 Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. I'd never made truffles before, but I'd melted chocolate and openned bottles of champagne, so I figured putting the two together would easy. Maybe the trouble comes from not boiling the milk properly? Or maybe I didn't have the right proportions of ingredients. But several hours later all I had to show for myself was a bowl full of gloopy champagne-flavored chocolate and an open bottle of champagne. I didn't have a stopper for the bottle so I had little choice but to drink it or waste it.

I drank one glass, then fell asleep. The next morning I woke up and the chocolate still hadn't become thick enough to roll into truffles. Martha, what went wrong? Is it because you are a dictator with an army of assistants making vats and vats of champagne-chocolate goop before the truffles finally emerge? Is it because you are perfectionist, measuring every ingredient down to the last grain of sugar, and I'm more likely to eyeball it? Is it because I don't know how to boil milk? (Seriously, what do you do with the skin? Throw it out or just mix it into the chocolate with the rest of the milk? So far I've gone with mixing it in...)

Today I revisited truffles. A different recipe this time, but the same basic principles: boil milk, melt chocolate, mix in flavoring (grapefruit juice), chill, shape into balls, dust with cocoa powder. Currently my bowl is chilling in the fridge. For 1 to 4 hours. I know it needs to reach a certain thickness in order to form into balls, but is it possible to over chill it? What if I forget and leave it in for 5 hours? I guess I'll find out. I just realized that it's 6 pm now, so I could conceivably be rolling truffles at 10 pm tonight. (Or we'll find out what happens when the chocolate chills overnight.)

The moral of the story, kids, is even if you're a good, or even great, cook, if you want to try a new recipe for a big event like a shower, rehearsal dinner, wedding reception, etc., give yourself plenty of time to practice it. I really don't think homemade truffles will be on my menu.

Edited to add: Sunday morning, and the chocolate still isn't thick enough to handle. Grr.


Anonymous said...

Your post conjured up memories of truffles past!Usually I leave about a 10 year interval between truffle adventures as the memoriy of chocolatey, sticky fingers and counters and bowls and spatulas seems to take about that long to fade completely - they are worth it though. I now have one of those very small ice cream soops which I think would be a great help to get the goop portioned quickly without the heat from hands softening and stickifying it. My experience also is that if the goop is over chilled, room temperature resting for a little will soften it until malleable again. I have also rolled them in phases over a couple of days.
Good luck - and by the way, I'd skim off the skin anytime it happens when I'm cooking!

Susan said...

I've never made chocolate, but I do know that my mother always told me that when you boil milk, you're supposed to stir it constantly so it doesn't skin over.

I doubt that explains why it's not setting up, though. Odd!

Lorna said...

What kind of chocolate are you using? That can make a difference. Also, you may find that a recipe which uses cream instead of milk works better - too much water does bad things to chocolate!