Candied Ginger Truffles
Inspiration comes from the strangest places! This recipe was inspired by a 6 year old girl scout, a professor at the CIA and a "hot mama" with a blog called the Steamy Kitchen. About a week ago a friend of mine and her daughter were making truffles to bring to her girl scout troupe and called me with some technical questions. The next day my teacher and friend, Stephen Durfee sent me a video he made for the CIA, all about chocolate. At the time I happen to be surfing through Jaden's website the Steamy Kitchen and found a great article about ginger. Well those three images collided and I all the sudden had a craving for truffles with the zing of ginger. I didn't have any fresh ginger on hand, which is very unusual for me, but I did have some that was candied. It was one of those unplanned moments that turned out for the BEST! After watching Stephen's video I decided to make the truffles with the best chocolate available. His recommendation was to use Criollo. That is the name of the cacao bean, not the brand of chocolate, (It is like naming the type of grape in a wine). So I did a little research and found El Rey had the chocolate I wanted to use. This makes perfect sense since Criollo is grown in Venezuela and the El Rey chocolate company is there as well. I like a bittersweet truffle so I went with the Gran Saman Dark 70%. The 70% refers to the amount of cacao solids and cacao butter in the chocolate. There shouldn't be anything in the chocolate that is artificial or too difficult to pronounce. The higher the % number the more intense the chocolate flavor and typically less sweet. Of course, this was my quest to test out what Stephen had to say. You should use your favorite chocolate. If you don't have a favorite then Stephen recommends having a chocolate tasting (sounds good to me!)...buy a bunch of chocolate bars (hershey's doesn't count!) and taste them to determine which suits your palate. The winner is a good place to start your recipe. Candied Ginger Truffles: 12 ounces Gran Saman Dark 70% (or any other comparable high quality chocolate), finely chopped 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 2 teaspoons rum (optional) 4 tablespoons very finely chopped candied ginger cocoa powder for garnish 3 ounce melted chocolate for dipping truffles and attaching the ginger garnish small cubes of candied ginger for the garnish To make the truffles: In a small sauce pot, heat the cream and rum until gently simmering. Turn off heat and add chopped chocolate, stir gently to make sure all the chocolate is covered in the hot cream. Cover the pot for about 4-5 minutes. Gently whisk until all the lumps of chocolate have melted. Add the finely chopped candied ginger. Pour the truffle mixture into a container and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to set at room temperature for 2+ hours (depends how cold your kitchen is). With a small truffle scoop (I used a #100) make your truffles. Don't worry if they are not perfectly round. Once they are all scooped then roll the truffles between your hands to get them rounded. This is why it is important that your ganache (truffle mixture) is set firm. To dip the truffles in chocolate: With your fingers rub a little bit of the chocolate on the palm of your hand. Enough that you can coat the entire truffle, but not so much that you are wearing chocolate all over your clothes! Roll the truffle in the chocolate on your hands and then drop it onto a clean piece of parchment to set up. Once the truffles are dipped in chocolate, let them set at room temperature. If you are in a hurry you can pop them into the refrigerator or freezer for a couple of minutes to speed things up! Once they are set, then coat them in cocoa powder. Just put a little cocoa in a small bowl and gently roll them around. Repeat with all the truffles. Now they are good enough to eat...unless, you are interested in gilding the lily and adding a bit of flair to your truffle, then you can pipe a bit of chocolate on the very top with a parchment pastry bag and, add a very small cube of candied ginger!