Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Truffles & Tempering

Well, I don't know about you, but when I am making a cake or cookies or some sort of sweet treat, testing out the dough before it goes in the oven is a necessary step. Sampling the raw version of my baked goods is quite enjoyable although not the safest these days. Case in point: chocolate chip cookie dough. Who needs the oven when you've got chocolate chip cookie dough? Mix all the ingredients in the mixer, add the chocolate chips, done. Dessert is ready.
Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so, as there have been many an eggless chocolate chip cookie dough truffle recipe floating around the food blogosphere for quite some time.

(Do you see my silly husband's face in this picture?)
These truffles are better than sinking your spoon into chocolate chip cookie dough. Why? Because they are covered in a thin layer of chocolate. One is all you need to satisfy your craving. I chose to temper my chocolate before I coated the truffles because I wanted my chocolate to be shiny with that snap when I bit into it.

Tempering is a means of rearranging the crystalline structure of the cocoa butter in the chocolate to a uniform, more stable state. When you just melt chocolate and use it, the crystals in the cocoa butter are scattered, leaving the chocolate dull and unable to set hard. The easiest way I have found to temper chocolate is as follows. You can use chocolate chips, though using a good quality block or bar chocolate yields a better result:
1. Heat about 8 oz of chocolate over a double boiler until melted (about 110F), keeping a few ounces of chocolate for later on in the process. Make sure you are using a thermometer for the best results. A double boiler is a small pot of water that's come to a simmer with your bowl of whatever it is you are melting (in this case, chocolate) on top. Under no circumstances do you want even a drop of water to meet your chocolate. The chocolate will seize and be rendered unusable.
2. Once your chocolate is melted, take it off the double boiler and start rapidly mixing the chocolate, adding in small bits of your reserved chocolate (already tempered) to lower the temperature slowly until you get to 88 - 90F for dark chocolate, 86 - 88F for milk chocolate, and 80 - 82F for white chocolate. This is called seeding.
3. When the chocolate is at this temperature, it should be tempered. How do you test it? Coat the back of a spoon with the tempered chocolate. It should set up dry and hard within minutes. You should maintain the tempered chocolate at this temperature while you are using it by placing it on the double boiler or adding reserved chocolate as necessary. You may add vegetable shortening by the teaspoon to thin out the chocolate for dipping. You can use this chocolate to coat cookies, truffles, candy or pour into chocolate molds. Refrigerate when you are finished and your chocolate should set up within a few minutes to a nice gloss and a satisfying snap.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
(Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publications: 100 Best Cookes, 2011)

1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 T vanilla extract
3T milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
8 oz dark chocolate, tempered
vegetable shortening, as necessary

In a mixing bowl using an electric mixer (stand or handheld), beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy (about 1 minute). Add the vanilla extract and milk and mix to combine. Slowly add the flour until the mixture is well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula. Roll the dough into 1" balls and place on a lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate the dough balls for about 20 minutes while you temper your chocolate as directed above. Once the chocolate is ready, remove the dough balls from the fridge and dip each one individually into the tempered chocolate, tap off the excess and place back on the lined cookie sheet. Allow the truffles to completely set up in the refrigerator.

No comments:

Post a Comment