I. Love. These. Truffles.
If you've read this blog long enough, you'll know that I love adding alcohol to dishes at any available chance. Some may call that a problem, I call that good taste.
A few weeks back, Tracey of Tracey's Culinary Adventures posted a truffle recipe, and they have been on my mind ever since. I have never tried to tackle truffles and I know they are not all that difficult, so I decided to go for it.
I looked at many different recipes, but finally decided to just throw a million recipes together into one deliciously tiny, creamy bite. Truffle recipes suggest different types of alcohols for filling: Grand Marnier, Kirsch, Kahlua, you name it. But frankly, I was feeling quite lazy that day and didn't want to walk to walk the two blocks to the liquor store. I looked through my available liquors: Tequila (shudder), Dewars (gross), Cucumber and Rosewater scented gin (interesting, but no thanks), Schnapps (huh?), Jim Beam (double huh?)... Caramel Baileys. Bingo.
Now, I love me some Baileys. I like to pour a little bit on chocolate ice cream and indulge my senses a bit. But I had never heard of a Bailey's truffle. So I decided to invent it. And it's a perfect treat for St. Patrick's Day!
I adapted the Joy of Baking Truffle Recipe with the Cooks Illustrated Chocolate Truffle method, incorporating their method of mixing the chocolate with butter and cream, letting it set, and then whipping it until it is light and fluffy. Sure, chocolate flew everywhere, and I'm sure if I look closely, I can still find tiny little nuggets of Bailey's chocolate gripping onto a cabinet door in my kitchen. But at least my truffles are creamy!
I saw that most truffles were rolled in cocoa powder or some sort of nut or coconut flakes. But I love that delicious chocolate shell that pops in your mouth as you bite down, pushing the smooth chocolate out through the crevices. I knew that involved tempering chocolate, which is annoying, but totally worth the outcome. The shell came out beautifully smooth (until I decided to touch them and then got my grubby little prints all over them) and crisp, and I was left with 60 dangerously delicious little bites.
To. Die. For. Remember that scene at the beginning of Julie and Julia, where Meryl Street takes a bite of the fish in the buerre blanc sauce (or was it Sole Meunier?) and can't even get out any words, so she just mumbles, and stutters, and moans and giggles so wonderfully? Well, that was me (even though Meryl looked better doing it. Love her.).
Unbelievable. Love. Cannot express. Want more. Seriously. So, so good. Had to give away because I could have eaten 10 at a time. ACK! Why?
Bailey's Caramel Irish Cream Chocolate Truffles
8 ounces (227 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons alcohol (Cognac, brandy, Grand Marnier, kirsch, rum, bourbon, or Kahlua to name a few) (optional)
1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream (any flavor is fine)
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 1 1/3 cup)
2 ounces extra chocolate, in 1 or 2 chunks
For Truffles: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth. If desired, add the liqueur.
Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cool and texture resembles firm cream cheese, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (If mixture has chilled for longer and is very stiff, let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.)
With an electric mixer, beat the mixture at high speed until fluffy, mousse-like, and the mixture forms medium stiff peaks, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
Spread the mixture into a shallow pan and freeze until firm enough to scoop, at least 3 hours.
Have ready a bowl of hot water, a melon baller, a sheet pan lined with wax paper, and the firm filling. Dip the melon baller into the water and wipe dry. Scoop out a scant 1-inch ball of the filling. Set on the prepared sheet and repeat with the remaining truffle base. If you don’t have a melon-baller, use a sharp knife to cut the base into little squares. Roll each piece between your fingers.
Freeze the filling again until firm, about 1 hour.
If you prefer to have the shell on the truffles, follow these instructions on David Lebovitz's page to temper the chocolate. If you don't want to, just roll the truffles in nuts or unsweetened cocoa powder and call it a day!
Line another sheet pan with wax paper.
Using a fork to cradle the filling, dip the filling in the bowl of melted chocolate and coat with chocolate. The the excess drip off, then place on wax paper. Repeat with remaining truffles. Store for up to 1 week in an air-tight container.