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Anything minty is usually welcomed after the full and heavy meals typical of the holiday season. And here, the crème de menthe turns the traditional holiday candy cane into a grown-up treat. These would be perfect for an after-dinner nibble when a major dessert might be too much.
By Andrew Garrison Shotts
Andrew Garrison Shotts | Making Artisan Chocolates: Flavor-infused Chocolates, Truffles and Confections | Quarry Books, 2007
“Candy canes are so quintessentially winter and remind everyone of their childhood. Rolling the truffles in candy cane pieces adds a pleasing crunch that contrasts nicely with their smooth truffle center. How fresh the mint is when you buy it will dictate to some extent how strong the mint flavor of the final piece will be. If you can't find candy canes or are afraid they will make the truffles too minty, simply finish the truffles by rolling them in white chocolate. Likewise, if you prefer the candy cane crunch to the minty center, simply omit the mint flavoring and make a white chocolate ganache dipped in white chocolate and rolled in the candy cane pieces.” - Andrew G. Shotts
6 1/2 ounces (182g) 29 percent white chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 oz. ounces or 1/3 cup minus 1 tsp (70g) heavy cream
3 sprigs fresh mint
1/16 tsp. or a splash (2g) clear crème de mènthe
2 to 4 drops natural peppermint oil
1 tbsp. (14g) salted butter, cubed; soft but not melted
To finish truffles:
12 oz. or 3 cups (336g) candy cane pieces, roughly chopped
1 lb. (453g) 29 percent white chocolate, tempered
To make the ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-size bowl. Set aside.
Combine the heavy cream and the fresh mint in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until the cream mixture starts to simmer, then remove from heat and cover. Let the cream mixture steep for 15 minutes, then place the saucepan back on the stove, add the crème de menthe and the peppermint oil, and cook over medium-high heat. Once the cream mixture reaches a rolling boil, pour through a fine-mesh sieve directly over the chocolate. Let sit for 2 minutes. Stir, slowly incorporating all the ingredients. Using a candy thermometer placed in the center of the bowl, check the temperature. Once the ganache has reached 95°F (35°C), add the butter and stir well. Let the ganache sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until it is firm enough to pipe. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Pipe or scoop the ganache onto the paper. Set aside to dry overnight. When ready, roll the ganache into smooth round balls. Place on parchment paper and set aside.
To finish the truffles: Place the chopped candy canes in a shallow bowl or casserole dish. Dip the truffles in the tempered chocolate one by one (see instructions). Immediately after dipping, roll each truffle in the candy cane pieces until it is fully covered. Let the chocolate fully set before removing the truffles from the candy cane pieces.
Making Artisan Chocolates © 2007 Andrew Garrison Shotts. Photo © Quarry Press. All rights reserved.