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Monday, May 20, 2013

Truffle Hot Chocolate Balls

I have daffodils blooming along a south facing wall, so the hot chocolate season is over for me. But some locations are still cold enough a mug of steaming chocolate might be comforting.

After a few years of enjoying Rich Hot Chocolate, I found this recipe. Opinion in the family is divided as to which is the better beverage. I like the convenience offered by this recipe and the fact individual servings can be heated in the microwave. I think is a bit less sweet (a plus); of course sweetness can be altered in either application. Some folks like to snitch a spoonful of the ganache, another benefit with this recipe.


Truffle Hot Chocolate Balls

Adapted from
Makes about 9-10 hot chocolate balls

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Microwave for one minute intervals, stirring often, until the mixture is combined and very smooth and silky. When you first start stirring, it will look grainy and messy but after it heats thoroughly and is whisked to combine, it will become beautifully smooth. Be careful not to overheat. Stop microwaving while there are still a few chunks of chocolate visible. Continue stirring until they have melted entirely.

Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes at room temperature. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator until the mixture is firm and scoopable, about 2-3 hours. Scoop out approximate 1/4-cup spoonfuls of the mixture and place them on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. An ice scoop of the right size works well, too. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and let the mounds harden slightly, about 15-20 minutes. Roll the chilled mounds into balls and place on squares of plastic wrap (about 4 inches by 4 inches). Pull the sides of the plastic wrap over to cover the ball and place the balls in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.

To make the hot chocolate: pour 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups (depending on how rich you like your hot chocolate) milk into a microwave-safe mug. Drop one unwrapped truffle hot chocolate ball in the milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute and stir until the chocolate is mostly melted. Microwave again for 45-60 seconds. Stir well until the chocolate is combined with the milk. At this point you may add flavorings such as vanilla, almond, orange, mint, cinnamon extracts or oils. Some folks like a pinch of cayenne or chipotle powder. Of course, topping hot chocolate with whipped cream can make you happy, at least in the short term.

Notes from Colette:

I tried this with semisweet and bittersweet chocolate chips. I added 2 T sugar to the bittersweet. You may add more at this point or in the mug if you please. I advise using good quality chocolate chips. You may also use block chocolate chopped into small pieces. (At Trader Joe's you can find chocolate blocks called Pound Plus chocolate made in Belgium; it works well, if you don't mind chopping the chocolate.)

After making this a few times and spending more time than I like rolling ganache and wrapping the balls in plastic, I decided to keep the ganache it in a bowl in the fridge. I measure out what I like in each cup just before I heat the milk. I usually start out with about 3 tablespoons of ganache. After you've made it for yourself a few times, you'll know about how much will suite your tastes. Some folks like more chocolate so sometimes tasting is needed.

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