The Foodie Files

Friday, November 24, 2006

Sugar High Friday - Earl Grey Truffles

Two years ago I passed a bake sale in my school hallway and I stopped dead in my tracks. Truffles?

In a school where re-selling Krispy Kremes and stale bagels at higher prices constitutes a bake sale, someone had made...chocolate espresso truffles?

They were nestled in between a chocolate chip pumpkin loaf cake and Mexican wedding cookies. Had I entered an alternate universe? No, not quite, for I soon discovered the reason behind this gourmet extravaganza.

In order to raise money for a school trip, participants had baked goodies from "Baking from the Heart" and were selling the cookbook alongside them. I bought some of the cakes and truffles, gobbled them in shock, and promptly bought the cookbook which contained the delicious recipes. I then hoarded this cookbook for two years on my shelf, and neglected to actually use it.

Yet no more, thanks to SHF! This month, The Passionate Cook hosts SHF 25 with a theme of Chocolate Truffles. This was a great idea, because at this time of year I am always in need of little, edible "thank you"s to send off to friends, teachers, and relatives.

As it turns out, the espresso truffles from the bake sale were a variation on a recipe for Earl Grey truffles, which sounded a bit more intriguing than the espresso. I had always suspected that making truffles was simple, and the easy instructions confirmed this suspicion. I broke open four Tazo tea bags for the tea leaves, which I simmered for 15 minutes in a mixture of 2/3 cup heavy cream, 1 stick of unsalted butter, and a pinch of salt. Then I strained the mixture over four ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate, and poured it into a 9 inch loaf pan lined with foil. After four hours of refrigeration, I formed spheres and rolled them in Dutch-process cocoa powder. The truffles should be set on a foil-lined baking sheet and chilled for 1 hour, then stored in the fridge between sheets of wax paper in an air tight container (but that's not what I did...I tasted them immediately after forming.) They should be served at room temperature.

The end result? I liked them. You can tell I am an amateur candy maker because a few came out a tad lumpy, but mostly they were creamy and delicious. Earl Grey just seems to pair naturally well with chocolate, and since a lot of fancy chocolates are made with Earl Grey, these have a bit of a high-end flair.

The best part? A secret, surprise perk. As I rolled the chocolates they somewhat melted on my hands, and over time my palms became completely covered in chocolate and cocoa. There was something amazingly fun about this...allowing the chocolate to get all over everything without restraining it. It was relaxing, and my hands smelled of chocolate for several hours, putting me in a terrific mood. The truffles were tasty, but the truth is that I would make them again just for an excuse to get covered in chocolate.

Though I would also love to bring them to a bake sale someday and try to turn a few heads of my own...

Thank you The Passionate Cook and SHF! I can't wait for next month!


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