Dark Chocolate & Espresso Truffles
21 Nov 2006

Dark Chocolate, meet espresso. Espresso, meet dark chocolate. I knew you two would get along. Here's my second truffle for my week-long extension to Sugar High Friday's Truffle Edition. The key to making great espresso infused truffles is the quality of the espresso you are using. The beans should be impeccably fresh and very finely ground. I'd also recommend staying away from super-dark, such as French or Italian, roasts. These can taste burnt and make the take away from the velvet of the truffle. Instead, go for a medium roast, just dark enough for some complexity without being charred.

Of course, good chocolate is important as well. For these truffles, I used Dagoba organic dark chocolate that was 73% cacao. If you look closely at the photos, you'll notice a lot of swirl in the chocolate. While they tasted fine, the swirl indicates that I didn't temper the chocolate quite right. Ideally, you end up with a beautiful glossy and consistent chocolate casing. Dark Chocolate & Espresso (roughly adapted from The Sweet Life by Kate Zukerman) Makes 8 to 10 truffles 2oz dark chocolate (~70% cacao) 1/8 cup heavy cream 2 t coffee, ground for espresso 1/2 t butter (at room temperature) cocoa powder for dusting (options) You'll start by making the ganache. In a heavy bottom pan, heat the cream and espresso on medium heat, stirring the whole time. Remove from heat just before it boils. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes. Strain into a small cup to remove any coffee grounds. Set aside. Heat water to about 150F and place in a metal bowl, about 1/2 way up. Place another, smaller, metal bowl on top to act as a double boiler. Check the temperature... you should be able to touch the bottom of the top metal bowl. If it's too hot to touch, add some cold water to the bottom bowl. You want the top bowl to be about 120F when you add the chocolate. Coursely chop the chocolate. Add 1oz to the top metal bowl. Set the other chocolate aside for the coating. Stir the chocolate with a rubber spatula until it's completely melted. Remove it from the heat, and slowly pour in the cream mixture, and whisk until it's smooth and you can see the whisk lines in the chocolate. Don't over stir! Whisk in the butter, then spoon into a small cup, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When the ganache is cooled, remove it from the fridge. Have a plate ready as well as a bowl of hot water and a melon baller. Dip the melon baller in the hot water, then quickly dry with a dish towel, and press it into the ganache. Turn the baller 360 degrees to form a ball, then tap the baller to force the ganache ball out. I found that hitting it against the side of the bowl worked best. Then, very carefully, move the ball to the plate. Repeat with the rest of the ganache. Cover the balls, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To make the chocolate coating, heat the double boiler as you did with the ganache (make sure you wash it out and dry it very well first!). Add 2/3rds of the remaining chocolate and stir with the spatula until it's well melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 1/3 of chocolate, and stir until it has melted. This should start quickly dropping the temperature of the chocolate, and give it a "seed" to help it temper properly. It will probably take about 15 minutes for the chocolate to cooled to the right temperature to proceed. According to the books I've ready, you want it to be about 87F, although I'm not exactly sure what temperature mine was when I started dipping. Again, I went by the touch method. Make sure your room isn't too hot... ideally it will be 72F or less. Once the chocolate has cooled, you can start the dipping. Remove the ganache balls from the fridge. Put some cocoa powder in a shallow bowl, if you are going to dust them. Pick up a ganache ball, and roll it in the melted chocolate, and then drop it gently into the cocoa. Use the other hand to roll it, and place it onto a plate. Then proceed with the remaining ganache balls. They should firm up almost immediately and be ready to eat. Also published on Well Fed Network's A Nice Cuppa

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