***Sigh. I disappeared again 😦 …
I don’t want it to be this way. But something about working 11-hour days at the office and trying to make the most of Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays with people I will only be with for a few more weeks robs me of both my time and my motivation to cook/bake, clean up, photograph, write… but I’m trying, really. The kind of funny part is that I’ve kept up with the creating and “photographing” (with Camera+ on my iPhone, as I may or may not have misplaced my parents’ fancy D-SLR…) for every single week, but then I realize I have yet to edit the pictures (for whatever that’s worth) and I have yet to write the post, and, well, it just doesn’t feel like there’s enough time. I know, I know, people juggle a lot more than what I have on my plate… but I’ve never been known for my time management skills, and somehow the hours escape me. “I’ll do it tonight” becomes “I’ll do it tomorrow” becomes “I’ll have more time for this over the weekend” becomes a fridge full of food that has yet to be shared with the world via our little corner of the internet.
But anyway. All that rambling to let you know that I’m still alive, and I’m still cooking and baking, and hopefully there’ll be a lot more of me around here as my Tampa adventures wind down.
And, if it helps make up for my absence at all, today I bring you chocolate. (Yay!)***
Are you a fan of the combination of chocolate and raspberry? Truth be told, I used to hate it. HATED every raspberry-flavored thing I tried for years and years, so I eventually stopped trying raspberry-flavored things. Raspberry and I spent years apart before we were fatefully reunited one day…
(*Cue flashback initiation sequence*)
Lauren and I were lucky enough to go to pretty much a “foodie” university. Our dining halls had Indian, Mexican, Chinese, comfort, etc. food stations, and all the food was way awesome. But despite all this variety, my favorite part of the Wash. U. dining experience was the dessert case in the cafe (no surprise there!) that came as part of the new construction that went down while we were students. I would walk by it every single day just to see if there was anything I needed to try. Lauren and I spent so many nights with three desserts spread across a table, taking bites of and judging each one.
And one day, I spotted this slice of a chocolate pound-cake/loaf kind of deal that I HAD to have. It looked impossibly moist and just totally irresistible. So I bought a slice, duh, (maybe two…), and ventured home, nestled into bed, took a bite.
Well, it was so super amazing, obviously. I kept thinking it was chocolate and something else, and I couldn’t even pin down what the other flavor was… until my fork hit a little pocket of jam. I tried the jam alone, and that’s when it hit me. Raspberry! And chocolate! Chocolate raspberry, and I loved it. Converted!!!
And so, when I was thinking of what to make for Valentine’s week, chocolate raspberry something was a no-brainer. I settled on truffles pretty quickly, since I’ve always wanted to make them and spending $10/mall visit on Godiva truffles was really putting a dent in my budget, considering how often I go to the mall.
Ok. Here’s the thing. These were AWESOME. So, so awesome. So very wonderful, in fact, that my friend would not believe me when I told him I made them. (As if the fact that I offered them to him in a Tupperware container wasn’t enough of a hint…) So, they’re probably almost as good as the best truffles you’ve ever had unless you live in Belgium or something. Maybe.
BUT… they are a LOT of work. At least they were for me. First they were too soft to roll into little truffle-y shapes, so I refrigerated the chocolate blob for an extra hour… which led it to harden to a rock-like consistency, which made it impossible to scoop any shapes out at all. So I ended up microwaving that blob until it was manageable… and then I used a knife to, in ruthless caveman-like fashion, carve out chunks of chocolate, which I then had to let sit and soften until they could be rolled into truffles, which I then had to freeze. AHH! So much temperature particularity to make these handle-able! It was a little too much for me.
So as good as they were, I probably won’t be making them again soon. The value of a recipe like this, though, is that you can adapt it any of nine billion ways… so next time some crazy chocolate combo pops into my head, I might whip up a batch of these just to say I made my own peanut butter potato chip truffles or white chocolate strawberry basil truffles or something. You know? Yep.
Anyway. Try these if you need a kitchen project to keep you busy! Maybe you’ll have more luck than I did at making the whole process manageable… but in any case, you’ll end up with perfect truffles, or goofy-looking little chocolate blobs, or a bowl of raspberry-infused dark chocolate goodness. Win, win, win!
Chocolate Raspberry Truffles
Just a note on the customizability of these… switch things up! Sub blackberry schnapps or a blackberry-esque brandy and blackberry jam for the Chambord/raspberry extract and raspberry jam, respectively, for a more wine-y truffle, or go a different route altogether and forgo the jam for some peanut butter or Nutella for even more flavor combinations to mess with. The possibilities are endless! Truffles! Yay.
Adapted from Dulce Dough
Yield: 30-40 truffles (of course depending on the size)
12 ounces semi-sweet or darker chocolate, finely chopped (I whacked it haphazardly with a knife and used my new love to further chop the resulting pieces.)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup seedless red raspberry jam
1 teaspoon raspberry extract (or 2 tablespoons Chambord… I’m broke, so it was raspberry extract for me.)
pinch of salt (a few pinches, if you’re me)
assortment of toppings, optional (cocoa powder, sprinkles, shredded coconut, chopped nuts, etc.)
1. Place your chopped chocolate in a large-ish bowl. Don’t eat all of it. This was really, really hard for me.
2. In a saucepan, bring the cream and butter to a boil over medium heat.
3. Once the buttery cream begins to boil, remove it from the heat immediately and pour it over the chopped chocolate.
4. Stir the butter/cream/chocolate (also known as heaven or happiness in its purest form) until the chocolate is allll melted and the mixture is as smooth as silk.
5. Add the raspberry jam into the mix. This is getting exciting!
6. Allow the whole mess to cool slightly, and then add in the Chambord/raspberry extract and the salt.
7. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing it down so the wrap is flush against the surface of the chocolate (gotta get rid of those air bubbles), and refrigerate the chocolate for four hours.
(This is where I ran into problems… At four hours, the chocolate was too soft; at five, it had achieved jawbreaker status. Play it by ear, and I hope you fare better.)
8. Using a spoon or something similar, scoop out rounded teaspoons of the chocolate mixture, and form them into balls. As you finish shaping each truffle, roll it in your topping of choice (red sanding sugar for me!), and set it on a tray or plate or whatever (preferably parchment- or wax-paper-lined).
9. Refrigerate the truffles until firm. (I ended up having to freeze them… haha.)
10. Store them in an airtight container for up to two weeks. They won’t last that long.