Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Truffle-icious Use For Juniper Berries

Chocolate Juniper Truffles

Jennifer Hahn and Katy Beck

These are velvety, melt-in-your-mouth truffles with a gin-infused chocolate ganache (filling) and a crunchy juniper berry in the middle. Thankfully, they are as easy to make as they are to pop in your mouth. The main thing for quality control’s sake is to buy the best bittersweet chocolate you can find—such as Callebaut or Varhona with 50% cocoa solids. The best places to get such quality chocolate is from a chocolatier that sells bulk chocolate. You can make ganache the night before, so it can solidify in the fridge, and be ready to roll into bite-sized morsels the next day.

Yield: 3 dozen walnut-sized truffles

1 / 2 cup organic heavy whipping cream
1 / 4 teaspoon vanilla
9 ounces bittersweet organic chocolate (chopped in walnut sized pieces)
1 1 / 2 ounces organic unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 tablespoons of Bombay Saphire Gin
3 dozen (1/4 cup) common juniper berries (available in bulk at many spice stores and food co-ops)
1 / 2 cup unsweetened organic cocoa powder (sifted)

Bring cream, juniper berries and vanilla to boil. Turn off heat. Add chopped chocolate. Stir or whisk till smooth. Set aside.

Cool mixture to warm then stir in room-temperature butter. If you add the butter when the chocolate mix is too hot, the oils will separate. Add Bombay Sapphire Gin. Pour intoa glass baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and chill in fridge until solid—about 1-2 hours.

Set out two cookie sheets lined with wax paper and a bowl with unsweetened cocoa.

Using the melon ball to form the truffles

Run a chilled melon ball scoop across the top of the solidified ganache to make a rough ball the size of a walnut. Push one juniper berry into the center of the ganache and roll it into a round ball. This can be a sticky job if you have warm hands that melt the chocolate. I wash my hands every ten minutes or coat them in cocoa to keep the ganache from sticking. If the ganache becomes too soft to handle, return it to the fridge or freezer again for a few minutes.

Cocoa handprints anyone?
Roll the truffle in unsweetened cocoa until thoroughly coated. Place on cookie sheet until all truffles are ready. Store in a sealed container in the fridge. If you stack the truffles, separate the layers with wax paper. Truffles will last for two weeks in the fridge or a month in the freezer.

Allow truffles to warm to room temperature before serving.

Additional topping suggestion: Omit the juniper berries and roll the plain ganache in toasted hazelnuts, walnuts or a mixture of cinnamon and cocoa with a pinch of cayenne for Aztec Truffles.

Boxing up the final product

1 comment:

  1. These were sooooooooooo good. And I'm not even one of those chronic chocaholic types, I'm relatively chocolate-neutral.
    -Molly (salal fiend!)