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Happy National Truffle Day
Today we celebrate the humble, delicious, and often misunderstood Chocolate Truffle. Odds are you've seen these miniature chocolate delights gracing your desert plates, but never understood what they were, where they came from, how they got their name or how the heck terpenes can enhance an already near perfect morsel of goodness. Read on for some history, some perspective, and a wicked delicious recipe that uses our Clementine terpene blend to highlight the natural complementary flavors of Orange and Chocolate.
Aren't Truffles Mushrooms? How This Delightful Accident Got Its Name
According to legend, the chocolate truffle was invented in France, in the kitchens of legendary culinary giant Auguste Escoffier. As the story goes, Escoffier's apprentice was attempting to make a pastry cream, which involves tempering hot cream into a beaten egg and sugar mixture. Instead of pouring the cream into the eggs, however, he poured it into a bowl of chocolate chunks.
The resulting mixture subsequently hardened, into what we now call a ganache, and the apprentice found he could ply, work and roll the chocolate paste into little lopsided balls. Once rolled in cocoa powder, these little chocolate delights came to resemble the prestigious, luxurious Black Truffles found in the Périgord region of France and the Piedmont region of Italy. The similarity was enough to warrant a shared name, and thus was born the chocolate truffle.
Less Expensive, Equally Luxurious
At about $100 an ounce, Black Truffles will set you back a pretty penny. The reason behind this costly expense would involve a dedicated article unto itself having to do with seasonality, ectomycorrhizal symbiosis, specially trained pigs and dogs and a discussion of French and Italian terroir. While this delectable fungus may be slightly out of your price range, we present to you the next best thing : the Chocolate Truffle.
Equally luxurious and self-indulgent, these little nuggets of delight are a breeze to whip up, can be done in a few easy steps and cost you a fraction of the price of their noble namesakes.
The Soul of the Matter
The heart of any good chocolate truffle is the chocolate ganache. Without it, you can't call it a truffle. Ganache is a rich, decadent, smooth chocolate mixture of milk, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate, heavy cream, and butter. With truffles, ganache is subsequently rolled in a variety of toppings, and then, optionally, covered in couverture, which is a coating chocolate that gives the truffle a nice, smooth, polished sheen. If the ganache is central to the identity of a truffle, it is the toppings you roll it in that give it its personality. We've chosen to put a simple, but signature spin on a classic truffle recipe by adding pure vanilla extract to the mix (common) and a dose of our Clementine terpene blend (not so common).
A Match Made in Heaven
Our Clementine terpene blend is a veritable study in orange. Freshly zested and squeezed oranges, tangerines, and yes, clementines, are the primary scents you notice immediately with this blend, and the flavor is redolent of sweet orange citrus that is subtle, but assertive. Now, orange and chocolate are notoriously amorous lovers, and get along extremely well on the palate. Where chocolate is smooth, sweet and occasionally bitter, citrus, and oranges in particular, offer zesty, edgy highlights and sweet tangy notes in counterpoint to chocolate's deeper bass notes.
The aromatic compounds that form during chocolate's fermentation phase are astoundingly complex and on par with any glass of Chateau d'Yquem a wine connoisseur might enjoy. The scent of our Clementine terpene blends adds nuanced, balanced, complementary layers to chocolate's already heady bouquet, and the flavor it imparts is exactly the right shade of subtle you need to take your chocolate truffle to the next level.
For our toppings, we went with Toffee, Espresso, Raspberries (freeze-dried) and Pecans. That's right, our toppings spell T.E.R.P. Why? Because we could.
Here's how you can use Clementine terpenes to get your truffle game rollin'.
T.E.R.P Chocolate Truffles
- 12oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Tbs Butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 30-40 drops Clementine terpenes (@ 5% dilution)
- 1 Cup Toffee Bits
- 1 Cup Espresso Powder
- 1 Cup Rasperries (freeze dried and pulverized)
- 1 Cup Pecans, shelled and chopped
- Heat cream to just below a simmer (the surface will start to ripple and shimmer)
- Pour warm cream over chocolate chips
- Add butter and vanilla extract
- DON'T TOUCH for 5 min (seriously, let it sit there)
- Stir to combine
- At the last minute, add Clementine terpenes and mix once more to combine
- Immediately pour ganache into chosen vessel and refrigerate for 1-2 hours (or overnight)
While the ganache is setting, prepare your toppings for rolling. We recommend a separate vessel for each toping, with plenty of rolling room.
Once the ganache is set, you're going to have to work quickly. Using a spoon or small cookie scoop, portion out bits of ganache and roll them into little balls of relatively similar size (remember, they're bite sized - think marbles, not golf balls).
Don't be alarmed: the natural warmth of your hands will start to melt the ganache, which is why you need to work quickly. We recommend portioning straight into your toppings, setting those trays in the fridge for about 30 min, and then quickly rolling and topping the truffles before letting them set once again back in the fridge (or freezer, if you're short on time).
The cooler the operation, the cleaner the work and more uniform the truffle.
And that’s it! Melt your mix, chill it, roll it and eat it.
This recipe will make between 20-40 truffles, depending on how you roll. More than enough to enjoy with friends on National Truffle Day.