Wednesday, August 22, 2012

SF Food Swap -Angela

For this Food Swap, I made Rustic Chocolate Choffy Truffles .
(informally named 'Big Chocolate Choffy Balls).

Per my disclosure in the Ginger Beer post, I didn't use a recipe. I did use a recipe the first time I  made truffles, but I no longer remember which one or even where it came from (cookbook? internet? magazine?) More about the truffles below, but on to the SWAP!

This was my second Food Swap, and thanks to Aimee and Stephanie for being the guiding lights behind this great SF event. For basic info on how a Swap works, click here.  Around 20 people gathered in the Sport's Basement Grotto ready to share and trade homemade goodies after a delicious potluck. Pictured is my First plate (and dessert plate). As people continued to arrive, the potluck table continued to grow with an amazing array of fruit, meat, salads, desserts, crackers and dips (this was in addition to the foods on offer as a part of the swap). These pictures show only a very small sampling of the culinary delights available that evening.

I brought 8 baggies (with 8 big Choffy balls each) plus some to cut up for tasting. My favorite overheard comment regarding these truffles, "They don't look that chocolate-y, but they have a Strong chocolate flavor." Thank You! It's nice to get feedback about your goodies, especially as I had been a bit worried that the Choffy was too strong flavorwise for most people to handle. I was lucky enough to swap for these 9 items.

You may have noticed, hey Angela, you brought 8 items to trade, but left with 9? Well, that is the nature of the swap. I had handed out all 8 bags, but had some of the truffles left over from the tasting tray which allowed me to swap (with a bonus bag of caramels from JK's stash) for a ninth item. So I guess I'm sharing those boozey cherries. I may blog more in the future about what I'm using from these items as there are so many, too many to do justice to each on this one post. Below is my very basic set up on the swap table. Some swappers made lovely presentations for their goods, but I went simple. No muss, no fuss this time around!

Okay you guys, here is a basic truffle recipe.(dessert circus!!) I'm sure it will work fine. If not, well, let me know and I'll do a step by step photo blog and write the truffle recipe down as I go--which means I'll have to measure and whatnot, but hey in the interest of other peoples interest that's a sacrifice I can make. I suppose.

More importantly I have some chocolate truffle Tips for you.
1. Do not be afraid. Rustic truffles are VERY EASY. Unless you are afraid and then it is very hard.
2. Equipment=easy
I use- glass bowl+sauce pan=double boiler, 2 forks, one heat resistant spatula, 2-3 round cake pans, parchment or wax paper (you only need a tempering machine if you want shiny truffles, not the rustic kind)
3. the chocolate melting/tempering
Good chocolate = Valrhona 
decent chocolate = Trader Joes 72% pound plus bar (what I had on hand this time)
You can remelt (temper)  anything. This means when your Amazingly delicious Valhrona seizes you take a piece of unmelted (tempered) chocolate bar and add it. Wait until the heat from the chocolate has melted it and then stir until your coating chocolate is once again smooth and glossy. 
4. Round cake pans allow you to roll your truffles easily in your choice of Rustic coating (nuts, cocoa powder, whatnot). Place pans in the fridge for a few minutes to crisp up the chocolate after their final coating.
5. Do not forget which is your dipping fork vs your coating fork.
6. Make very small ganache balls if you want the truffles to be bite size. Mine are usually 2 bites as I always forget this step when beginning and then can't be bothered to change size midway through the process.
7. Truffles take time. Do not scrimp on time or try to make truffles in a hurry. They are easy, but labor intensive. Make a friend come help if you are in a hurry. You can do things while making truffles, but only if they are simple. Consider these okay- put laundry from washer to dryer (wash hands first), let demanding cat in/out the door, toast a cheese sandwich. Do Not think you have time to- check email, blog or facebook. Do not vacuum. This is not a lasagna.

Good Luck and get ready to impress!

P.S. If you would like me to do a step by step truffle blog, please let me know in the comments below.