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The year-end holiday season – whether it involves Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or some other treasured family celebration – evokes nostalgia in many of us, says Ecole Chocolat graduate and master chocolatier Elaine Hsieh of EH Chocolatier in Somerville, MA. Hsieh developed the holiday chocolate truffle recipe that follows.
By Elaine Hsieh
Once the chocolate spice ganache has set, roll the truffles in cocoa powder.
Yield: approximately 50 pieces
1 ¾ tsps. ground ginger
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ tsps. cinnamon
¾ tsp. allspice
6 oz. heavy cream
3 oz. corn syrup
10.5 oz dark chocolate (around 65%), chopped into small pieces
2.5 oz unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (75°F)
Cocoa powder, for finishing
1. Add cream, corn syrup, ground ginger, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and allspice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
2. Take off the heat and cover with lid to infuse for 15 minutes.
3. Remove the lid and bring cream mixture back to a boil.
4. Wait until bubbles disappear and then pour over chocolate. Shake bowl a little to settle the chocolate so it’s covered with the cream. Wait a couple of minutes.
5. Stir the melted chocolate starting in the middle of the bowl with a spatula. Continue mixing until the ganache comes together, looks and feels a little thicker and looks like chocolate pudding.
6. If the ganache appears to be separating and not coming together (appears oily, slides around the bowl), check the temperature and bring to 97-98°F. Then use an immersion blender to mix, keeping the blade below the surface to avoid incorporating air.
7. Add the softened butter and incorporate until the butter is completely gone.
8. Set bowl aside and cover with plastic wrap. Wait until at room temperature and firm.
9. Use either a very small ice cream scoop, melon baller, or two small spoons and scoop out balls of ganache onto a jelly pan lined with parchment or silpat.
10. Allow to firm up further in fridge for at least 2 hours.
11. Dust palms with cocoa powder, roll the scoops into balls, and then coat them with cocoa powder or finely chopped chocolate.
12. Can be kept in a plastic ziplock bag with enough cocoa powder to keep them from sticking to each other. Keep refrigerated. Take out 30 minutes before serving. They will keep up to two weeks.
Cook's Note: Your best bet for sure success is to use the highest quality chocolate you can find. And if you're planning to make these ahead of time and want to keep them as fresh as possible, place them in an airtight container, wrap very well and freeze for up to two months. When ready to serve or prepare as a gift, take truffles out of the freezer and let sit at room temperature for several hours before unwrapping.