Hope everyone had a good Christmas! If you have read my posts from the beginning, you know that last Christmas was the start of everything. Last year was when I made a cheesecake with a big chocolate bow on top – my first big project and my first post. It was also when I got my chocolate tempering machine, which I use all the time now, as a present. This year, I made goodie boxes full of chocolate treats to hand out as presents to everyone. Each had 2 flavors inside: Maple Hazelnut & Pomegranate.
There was a debate going for which flavor was better. I think pomegranate won just slightly, but if you try them let me know your pick!
Here is how to make them:
To make the pomegranate ganache filling, first you need to make pomegranate syrup. Don’t buy the bottles in stores that are mostly sugar water with a little pomegranate. Trust me, its much better as a rich, thick syrup and you can use the leftovers to make pomegranate lemonade. Fun fact: each year I get a pomegranate at the bottom of my stocking.
Pomegranate Syrup (makes 1/2 cup cuz you’re gonna want leftovers):
Over heat, stir together 2 cups pomegranate juice with 1/4 turbinado sugar until the sugar dissolves. Let simmer very slowly until reduced by ~1/4 and has thickened.
In a double boiler, melt 10 oz chocolate with 1/2 cup cream. Once smooth, add in a couple tablespoons of the pomegranate syrup, or more if you really want a sour kick.
Temper some white colored cocoa butter by putting it in the microwave at 10-30 second intervals until it is liquid.
Set up a polycarbonate chocolate bonbons mold over some parchment paper. Dip a paint brush in the white cocoa butter and, using your finger, flick the white cocoa butter over the molds – just like you are doing splatter paint.
Now temper some red colored cocoa butter and use a different paint brush to brush the insides of all the cavities on top of the white specks (when you dump your truffles out of the mold the white specks will show up on top of the red. We are painting in reverse). Your goal is to completely cover the cavities, but even if it doesn’t look solid and you can still see some plastic showing through paint strokes, it will come out of the mold looking like the entirety was covered- don’t worry.
Coat the cavities in tempered chocolate (I used Valrhona Caraibe 66%) by filling each mold, rotating it so all sides get coated, turning the mold over so the excess drips out and then use a scraper to scrape away the last drips that are too slow to fall.
Wait a couple minutes for the chocolate to set and is no longer shiny. Fill each mold most the way up with the pomegranate ganache. Pour tempered chocolate on top and scrape away the excess. Leave to set. Turn the mold over and give it a shake and a couple hard knocks until all the truffles fall out.
Maple Hazelnut filling:
In a saucepan place 1 cup blanched hazelnuts and 1 cup real maple syrup. Let cook on high heat until a candy thermometer reads over 300 and the color has become very dark.
Pour over a silpat lined baking sheet and wait for it to cool and harden.
Break the maple-hazelnuts into pieces and grind in a food processor with a pinch of salt and a stick of butter. Put into a pastry bag (I didn’t use a tip but instead just the opening where the tip would go) to prepare to fill the chocolates.
Maple Hazelnut Bonbons:
Prepare a magnetic polycarbonate chocolate mold with a chocolate transfer sheet with the pattern of your choice.
Coat the cavities of your chocolate mold in tempered chocolate (I used Valrhona Abinao 85% – a bitter chocolate to offset the sweetness of the maple) by filling each mold, rotating it so all sides get coated, turning the mold over so the excess drips out and then use a scraper to scrape away the last drips that are too slow to fall.
Wait a couple minutes for the chocolate to set ant is no longer shiny. Fill each mold most the way up with the maple hazelnut filling. Pour tempered chocolate on top and scrape away the excess. Leave to set- I put mine in the freezer for ~15 minutes to be extra safe. Turn the mold over, take off the magnetic back, peel away the transfer sheet, and push the truffles out.
This year, I got 2 chocolate books that I am certain will inspire some future posts. One was Dandelion Chocolate’s Bean to Bar which is making me want to try making chocolate (chocolate bars that is, not truffles) from cacao beans, but I will need another machine for that so we will see if I ever get around to that. The second is a The Artful Baker, a book filled with BEAUTIFUL pictures of cakes, pastries, and anything else you can dream up. I also got more colored cocoa butter so I have lots of color options to choose from.
Have a good rest of the year and here is to all the best to come in 2018!