CLASSIC MINT GANACHE TRUFFLES
I write this post, drinking coffee with no pants on in my living room, listening to the sound of our chocolate grinder whirring away -- cocoa beans from Belize and sugar from Texas milling and churning and making our whole house smell like fresh brownies. On the table: Wordpress for Beginners, a new moleskine agenda to keep myself on track, an empty cake plate with lingering muffin crumbs still clinging on. Not to mention: The Knot's Complete Guide to Weddings (I've still barely cracked it open -- it's huge and intimidating), a notebook full of blog feature ideas and quickly inked recipes for gluten free chocolate cake that I'm developing, a bag of raw cocoa beans.
This recipe for classic mint chocolate ganache truffles is about is easy as it gets. They're a special request from my brother, who just finished one of the hardest semesters of his life (Architecture school, ya know). At first I had dreams of sending him a chocolate cake. But -- having learned that's almost impossible -- these truffles were a perfect solution. They mail well (priority shipping + ice packs do wonders); and they're luxurious enough to make a perfect congratulations gift.
Sometimes I feel like my brothers and I live on opposite sides of the planet. Even though they're only a couple hours drive in either direction. Somehow sending them treats and presents makes me feel like I'm closer to them, like I'm in their kitchens whipping up sweets and chatting and snort-laughing with them.
Did I mention Logan and I (mostly Logan) made the chocolate for these? Bean to bar baby!
Adapted from Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook 1 cup heavy cream or heavy coconut milk 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves, chopped 12.5 ounces 70%-75% dark chocolate, chopped (we used a light Peruvian chocolate w cream, almond, and red fruit tasting notes) 2 tbsp ghee, butter oil, or coconut oil (regular butter also works)
Place chopped chocolate in a wide metal bowl. Set aside. Line bread loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, bring cream to a simmer. Add mint leaves and ghee and cut off heat. Steep 30 minutes, minimum. For a strong minty flavor, allow to cool and place in refrigerator for a couple of hours.
Bring the mint leaf + cream mixture to a boil (this helps the fat slip off of the leaves before straining). Cut off heat right as it begins to boil (about 210 degrees). Place a colander over your bowl of chopped chocolate, and pour cream + mint mixture over the colander to strain out the leaves. Press the cream out of the leaves with a wooden spoon or your fingers.
Allow 5 minutes for the hot cream to melt the chocolate.* Stir to incorporate.**
Pour into your parchment lined loaf pan and let cool to room temperature on the counter. Place in refrigerator to solidify. This takes anywhere from 3 to 5 hours. I think mine took about 3.
Once hardened, remove block of ganache from loaf pan and cut into 1 inch squares (mine ended up at about 1 inch by 1.5 inches). Roll in cocoa powder. Store in your refrigerator -- tightly sealed in a glass container is best. Or freeze for up to a month -- with caution: your truffles must be extremely well sealed if not vacuum packed to keep them fresh and to avoid water crystals from forming on the inside of packaging or on the truffles.
* If your cream isn't hot enough to melt all of your chocolate (it happens) place in a double boiler or bain marie or in a glass bowl over boiling water and melt until well incorporated.
** If your ghee or coconut oil seems to be separating out from your chocolate, and just won't incorporate, I strongly suggest using an electric beater to bring everything together. It takes 30 seconds to a minute on the lowest setting to whip it into shape. I actually love the texture this imparts to the ganache. (Update 5.24.2014)