Friday, November 7, 2014

Delectable Handmade Truffles

Raspberry & Irish Cream Truffles
My chocolate saga continues to the final stages of decorating and packaging. Each flavor of truffle is distinguished by a different garnish. As with any garnish, two basic rules apply; it should represent or identify the flavors of the dish (or in this case truffle) and be 100% edible. A piping bag with various sized decorator tips is used to drizzle or swirl a contrasting color of chocolate. Other options are to roll in cocoa or chopped nuts, wrap in colored foil, use crystallized edible flowers or mint leaf. If there are dried fruit or nuts inside, place a small piece on top for the garnish. I grow specific varieties of violas and mint on my deck to crystallize between April and June for the chocolates. For instructions of how to make 'Crystallized Edible Flowers', see page 105 of my cookbook, 'For the Love of Food'.
Garnished Truffles and Crystallized Ginger in paper Bon Bon cups
I carefully choose the dipping chocolate to enhance, not overpower flavors of the fillings. For example; the delicate flavor of Raspberry Liqueur is dipped in white chocolate then drizzled with dark. Milk chocolate is used to enhance the rich, smooth flavor of Bailey's Irish Cream and is then finished with a swirl of white chocolate. The bold flavors of Kahlua, Grand Marnier and Peppermint are dipped in dark chocolate. My 'Peppermint Leaf Patty' is adorned with a tiny crystallized mint leaf.
Once the truffles are dipped, decorated and firm enough to handle, they are each placed in a tiny paper Bon Bon cup. It is important to handle the finished chocolates with cotton gloves to prevent any damage from the warmth of your hand or fingerprints on the finished chocolates.  

Special Selection Truffles;
all recipes from 'For the Love of Food'
The 'Special Selection' of Handmade Belgian Truffles in the photo at left were prepared as a gift. All recipes for this chocolate selection can be found in my cookbook 'For the Love of Food'. I place a piece of wax paper between layers and on top of the chocolates in boxes and make a descriptive 'menu' of what garnish depicts each flavor. 
Boxes, bon bon cups and ribbon can be found at Dollar Stores and The Bulk Barn in Courtenay, or at Micheal's Craft Supplies, 6677 Mary Ellen Drive, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, BC.

Chocolate is temperamental to work with; moisture or heat over 104F. can render it unusable. For more detailed information of working with chocolate, see page 56 and 57 in my cookbook, 'For the Love of Food'. It takes time and experience to develop the skills, so if you are a beginner, be patient with yourself. I have been producing this line of handmade truffles for over 21 years, that adds up to over 25,000 individual chocolates. It is truly a labor of love. These handmade delicacies are very special gifts for very special people in your life. Till next week... Bon Appetit!

Handmade Belgian Truffles ~ Lovingly prepared and photographed by Sally Rae