When it comes to holiday gifts, few things go down better than a box of homemade truffles. They're infinitely more thoughtful than storebought gifts -- ironic, because you can make a huge batch to take care of your entire list in one day.
My all-time favorite truffle recipe is this dark ginger-spiced ganache with a white chocolate coating and a topping of crystallized ginger. This recipe makes about two dozen creamy, chocolatey, spicy morsels. Make sure you have a candy thermometer and a fine strainer on hand.
3/4 cup organic whipping cream
10 whole allspice
10 whole cloves
1 tablespoon organic light molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
18 to 20 ounces chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (choose organic and fair trade, such as Dagoba
14 to 16 ounces organic, fair trade white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger, plus extra for garnish
In a heavy medium-sized saucepan, bring the first seven ingredients to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let it steep for an hour.
Chop 7 ounces of the bittersweet chocolate and 7 ounces of the white chocolate into a large metal bowl. Place the bowl in a saucepan of simmering water and stir the chocolate until it is melted and smooth. Strain the cream mixture into the chocolate and stir in 1/2 cup of the crystallized ginger (make sure it is minced fine). Chill the filling at least 3 hours; it should be firm but not hard.
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Take a small spoonful of filling and roll it quickly between your hands until it forms a ball of one inch or less. If the filling gets too sticky, return it to the bowl and take another spoonful. Place each truffle on the parchment. It's okay if they're imperfect! They're not finished. Chill your truffles another 2 hours.
Line another sheet with parchment. Chop the remaining bittersweet chocolate into another metal bowl and melt it as before. Remove the bowl from the water and let it cool to 115 degrees. Drop one truffle in the chocolate and immediately lift it out with a fork. Tap the fork gently against the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate, then use a knife to slide the truffle off the fork and onto the parchment. Repeat. Chill your truffles until the chocolate sets.
Line another sheet with parchment, and melt the white chocolate in another bowl. Let it cool to 100 degrees. Hold a truffle in your fingers and dip the top half into the white chocolate. Place it on the parchment and press a bit of crystallized ginger into the top. Repeat. Chill again, at least 30 minutes.
These truffles should be kept chilled in a covered container. They'll keep for a week, maybe longer -- I've never had the fortitude to avoid eating them that long.
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image by me