Wow 2014 is really flying by! Can you believe half of January is already over? I originally sat down to write this post on New Year’s Day and next thing I know, it’s the 14th. It’s been a whirlwind of work, finishing up tasks that have been sitting around forever, and getting my to do lists in order. But mostly work hah. Year end at a finance firm is not a fun time. Now why can’t I get a job where I can just relax, and they still pay me? The dream right?
So back to lists. If you know me, you know I love lists. I blame the math side of my brain. Even if I don’t finish every task (which, honestly, who ever does?) it still helps to have things organized and noted down. It also makes things feel so much more manageable, don’t you think? There, on this sheet of paper, are all the tasks I have to finish. And as I finish each one, I giddily draw a nice thick line through each item. So. Satisfying.
My love of lists goes into over drive when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions. I know I know… I barely keep up with my resolutions and abandon a huge majority of them before Summer even hits, but it’s still fun for me. It’s also such a great way to reflect. What was important to me last year? Is it still important? How have things changed? What do I want to accomplish this year?
I know we can write lists like this no matter what time of year it is, but there’s something therapeutic about a new year. It’s a way for the clock to reset, with a full 365 days ahead of us, full of possibilities. I haven’t had the time to fully formulate my list for this year, but I have a few that I know will make the cut in terms of the blog. Winter is always difficult for me (seasonal depression and all that), but it’s also difficult to keep up with the blog. The sun sets too early, and the hours that I DO have on the weekend are usually cloudy or rainy or dreary and it’s so difficult to set up a shoot.
That leads me to one of my resolutions – take some food photography workshops. I not only need help with my lighting, but also with my staging and editing. I tinker around, but I think it’s finally time to invest in myself professionally. The more I learn and the more practice I get in, the more streamlined my process will become. Well, at least I hope so. A second resolution is to try new recipes. Yes I can revisit favorites like chocolate chip cookies and the same cake with different frostings, but I need to branch out. Try a multilayer crepe cake or scones or macarons. Experiment for goodness sake! Fingers crossed and duas welcome
Now after ALL that rambling, I’ll get to the recipe of this post – chocolate truffles. If you follow my instagram page (if you don’t, now’s a good time to go follow me especially since I’m hosting a truffle giftbox GIVEAWAY!), you know I’m obsessed with La Maison du Chocolat. Yes it’s a bit pricey, but my oh my is it worth it. I spend way too much money at that shop, but I honestly can’t find the quality at any other shop I’ve tried. After trying this recipe for their base chocolate truffles, I can get close to replicating their smooth ganache at home! Robert Linxe recommends Valrhona (yet another favorite of mine) but I’ve tried this recipe with Callebaut with fantastic results. The ganache is creamy and smooth, and definitely the perfect chocolate flavor. Like with any truffle recipe, you need to use good chocolate. It’s the main ingredient and the shining star, and if you aren’t happy with the flavor of the chocolate before you start, you won’t like it after this recipe is done either. Let me know what you guys think!
- 11 ounces Valrhona chocolate - 56% cacao (I used Callebaut 52%)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream (**original recipe calls for 2/3 cup but I added extra to compensate for evaporation)
- Cocoa powder for dusting (I used Valrhona)
- Chop 8 ounces of chocolate and put into a bowl. Bring heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Take the pan off the flame and it cool for a few minutes, the put it back on the flame to boil again. Repeat this process so the cream has boiled three times *Linxe uses this method because he believes it helps the ganache last longer **Original recipe is for 2/3 cup of cream. Since I'm boiling it three times I upped the recipe to 3/4 cup of cream to compensate for evaporation. If you only boil once, stick to 2/3 cup of cream
- Pour the cream over the chocolate, mashing any big pieces with a wooden spoon.
- Stir with a whisk in concentric circles (don’t beat or you’ll incorporate air), starting in the center and working your way to the edge, until the ganache is smooth.
- Let stand at room temperature until thick enough to hold a shape, about 1 - 2 hour, then, using a pastry bag pipe into mounds on parchment-lined baking sheets. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the remaining 3 ounces of chocolate. Remove frozen ganache mounds from the freezer. Smear some on your hand. Gently rub each chilled truffle to coat lightly with chocolate. (The secret to a delicate coating of chocolate is to roll each truffle in a smear of melted chocolate in your hand. Linxe always uses gloves.)
- Toss the truffles in unsweetened cocoa powder. A fork is the best tool for tossing truffles in cacao. Shake truffles in a sieve to eliminate excess cacao.
- Store truffles in the refrigerator.