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Chocolate and spirits have a great affinity for each other, and in this truffle recipe from Chocolates El Rey, the Venezuelan producer of fine chocolate uses its milk chocolate with delicious results.
Variations for finishing the truffles can include rolling them in cocoa nibs or cocoa or drizzling them with dark or white chocolate.
Yield: About 2 dozen medium truffles
8 oz. El Rey Caoba Milk 41% chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsps. butter, at room temperature
2 tbsps. bourbon
1 lb. milk chocolate, melted and tempered
Finely chop the milk chocolate.
Bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and add chocolate. Whisk together until the chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.
Add soft butter and bourbon to the chocolate mixture. Whisk together until combined (do not over mix). The ganache should be about the same temperature as the butter when you add the butter (do not add butter to a warm ganache).
Allow the ganache to harden. I normally allow the ganache to sit overnight before using it.
Scoop truffles with a melon baller. Fill the scoop 3/4 full for average size truffles. Round each truffle between your palms. Chill slightly before dipping or rolling them.
Temper the chocolate:
Slowly melt 10 oz. milk chocolate in a double boiler. Melt over steaming but not simmering water.
Meanwhile, chop the remaining 6 oz. chocolate. The temperature of the chocolate should reach 120 degrees (slightly hot to touch).
Remove chocolate from heat. Add a handful of the chopped chocolate to the ganache. Stir until the chocolate is melted.
Repeat this procedure. Continue adding chopped chocolate and stirring until chocolate is beginning to set up around the edges of the bowl and the chocolate in the center of the bowl will harden within 1-1/2 minutes when it is tested by dipping a knife into it.
The chocolate is now ready to use. If there are any unmelted bits of chocolate in the bowl, move them to the side of the bowl. Should the chocolate harden too much to use, place the bowl of chocolate over a pot of hot water just long enough to warm the chocolate (do not return the chocolate to direct heat).
For rolling the truffles:
Place a little of the tempered milk chocolate on each palm.
Dip a truffle into the chocolate (halfway or so) and roll the truffle between your palms until coated with chocolate.
Set the rolled truffle on a sheetpan lined with parchment paper to dry. If the chocolate is properly tempered and you are in a cool room, refrigeration should not be necessary. The chocolate should harden within 1-1/2 minutes. If it doesn't, the chocolate is too warm and not properly tempered.
Repeat this process. Each truffle should have two coats of chocolate.
Dip the truffles in tempered milk chocolate. Use a dipping fork and remove as much excess chocolate as possible to avoid a "foot" at the base. The dipped truffles may be decorated with white chocolate by drizzling the white chocolate over the truffles or by using a parchment bag to pipe it in a design.
Roll the truffles (as explained above) and then drop them into cocoa powder, ground nuts, or nibs, coating on all sides. This will change the appearance, texture, and flavor of the truffles.
To achieve a spiky appearance, roll the truffles around on a wire rack after the second coating of chocolate.
NOTE: Ideally, chocolates should not be refrigerated. Moisture collects on the chocolate giving it an unattractive appearance and rendering it useless (in its pure form) for melting and reusing. Truffles can be refrigerated in adverse conditions but it is not recommended.