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Do you have certain routines that you look forward to every day? For me, it’s after dinnertime. My husband fills the tea pot and sets it on the stove before heading to the pantry. He breaks us each off a square of chocolate to enjoy while we clean up and wait for the whistle of the kettle.
Our tea of choice is Tazo Passion, which is a blend of hibiscus, rose hip, and orange. The chocolate is always dark and usually has a hint of sea salt or a slight crunch of almond. With tea in hand and melted chocolate on the tongue, we head to the living room to catch our breath and reconnect after a busy day.
I’ve long wanted to develop a truffle recipe that blends our love of tea and chocolate but tempering the chocolate for the shell evaded me time and again until recently.
In January, I was given the opportunity to take a course from Learning with Experts and it didn’t take me long to decide which one it would be: The Art of Chocolate Making taught by Paul A.Young. I learned how to make the creamiest ganache, how to temper chocolate, how to make filled chocolates, plus multiple decorating techniques.
Each of the four pre-recorded lessons included a hands-on assignment to practice the skills taught. I was always a little nervous to turn mine in! Once I turned in the assignment, the next lesson was unlocked. Paul always took the time to comment on the assignment with helpful tips and encouraging feedback.
I’ve taken online classes before but none that taught me as many skills as this series did. I’m so excited to be able to share some of the techniques I learned.
Yet maybe you want more than one blog post? I encourage you to check out the class for yourself and make the handmade chocolates you’ve always dreamed of.
How to Make Ganache
Ganache is chocolate mixed with liquid. The high liquid to chocolate ratio keeps the chocolate from seizing and instead creates a soft mousse-like texture. In the class, my instructor Paul, recommended starting with melted chocolate to help ensure a smooth ganache. After it cools and is chilled in the refrigerator, the ganache is rolled into balls.
Tips for Rolling Ganache into Balls
Once chilled, ganache is semi-solid and a little sticky. Paul taught us to dip our fingers in cocoa powder and then roll the ganache in between our fingers. It works perfectly!
Tips for Tempering Chocolate
- Buy quality baking chocolate bars, not chocolate chips. I use Ghiradelli.
- Use a quick read digital thermometer (such as a Thermapen)
- Use metal bowls for the best temperature control.
- Temper chocolate when you have the time to work uninterrupted from start to finish.
- Stir continuously at a moderate rate.
Working with Tempered Chocolate
In all honesty, this was the hardest part for me. I was always in a rush and thought if I worked quickly enough that I could skip this step. Wrong! By the fourth lesson of the class, I made my peace with the fact that I need to warm the chocolate before using it. The goal is to keep the chocolate between 86℉ and 88℉, but not above 90℉. This temperature range ensures that the chocolate is fluid and won’t set too quickly. The easiest way is to set the bowl over a pot of simmering water for a couple seconds.
Coating in Tempered Chocolate
For a professional-looking truffle, the trick is to coat the balls of ganache in two very thin layers of tempered chocolate. Paul taught us to dip our fingers in the chocolate and roll the ganache in the chocolate on our fingers. The tempered chocolate sets almost immediately and then once coated, start at the beginning and give each a second coat. It really is quite satisfying to see shiny chocolate truffles lined up on a baking sheet.
Passion Tea Truffles
Yield: 60 chocolate truffles
Active time: 45 minutes
Chilling: 2 hours
- 16 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 Passion tea bags, tag removed
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder, for rolling ganache
Tempered Chocolate Coating:
- 16 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, divided
- Fill a small saucepan with two inches of water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
- Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and set it over the saucepan of simmering water.
- Use a flexible spatula to stir the chocolate as it melts, about 5 minutes. Once melted, wipe the bottom of the bowl and discard the water in the saucepan.
- Add heavy cream to the empty saucepan and submerge the teabags in the cream. Bring it to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. Once simmering, take the infused cream off the heat and press the cream out of the tea bags and discard.
- Pour the tea mixture over the melted chocolate and whisk to combine into a smooth homogeneous ganache. Pour into a wide container and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.
- Once completely chilled, the ganache should be firm. Bring it out of the refrigerator and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour cocoa powder into a small bowl.
- Dip your fingers in the cocoa powder and scoop 1/2 tablespoon of ganache into your hand, roll it into a ball, and set it on the baking sheet. Continue until all the ganache is used, about 30 marble-sized balls.
Temper the chocolate:
- Fill a small saucepan with two inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Chop 12 ounces of chocolate (3 baking bars) and set in a metal bowl.
- Chop the remaining 4 ounces of chocolate and set aside.
- Set the bowl with the chopped chocolate on top of the pot of simmering water. Stir the chocolate with a flexible spatula until chocolate reaches 110℉, about 5 minutes. Take the melted chocolate off the pot and dry the bowl with a towel.
- Add the remaining 4 ounces of chopped chocolate to the melted chocolate, and stir at a moderate pace. Ensure that the bottom of the spatula is touching the bottom of the bowl and that the chocolate on the side of the bowl doesn’t harden. Stir continuously until the chocolate reaches 81℉, about 10 minutes. Test that the chocolate is tempered by spreading some on a square of parchment. Continue stirring and once the test is dry, shiny, and minus any swirling, the tempering is complete.
- Set the tempered chocolate on top of the pot of simmering water to warm and loosen. This will only take a couple of seconds. Ensure that the temperature of the chocolate stays below 90 degrees so that the chocolate does not come out of temper.
Coat the ganache:
- Dip your middle three fingers in tempered chocolate and roll the ball on your fingers to coat and place back on the baking sheet. Continue until all the balls are covered. Repeat for a second layer of chocolate.
- Store finished truffles in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for two weeks.