Passion Tea Truffles

Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links, which means that I make a commission on purchases made through those links.

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.

What is a Truffle

A chocolate truffle (not the fungi) is a confection consisting of rolled ganache coated with tempered chocolate or cocoa.

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 to create the center of the truffle.

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!

How to Temper Dark Chocolate

Two different methods: tabletop and seeding. I’m using the seeding method, which is the best method for tempering small amounts of chocolate. It works by adding tempered chocolate to a bowl of melted chocolate and then stirring continuously. Having a scale to measure the chocolate and an accurate thermometer for reading temperatures is crucial for success. Full instructions are below in the recipe.

Tips for Tempering Chocolate

  • Use a quality chocolate that tastes good. I like Ghiradelli.
  • Don’t use chocolate chips. I’m always tempted to substitute but I tried it with chips and it really did not turn out well.
  • 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.
  • Set a square of parchment next to the bowl and spread a little chocolate on it to check to see if it is tempered.
  • Stir continuously at a moderate rate.
Stir chocolate at this speed.

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.

  • Use a hair dryer or heat gun to gently warm the chocolate for a few seconds.
  • Place a towel under the bowl to slow the cooling process.

Coating in Tempered Chocolate

For a professional-looking truffle, the trick is to coat the ganache balls 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.

Decorating Truffles

While these truffles are pretty enough on their own, it’s quite fun adding a little embellishment. Brush edible glitter on the dried chocolate truffle for a pop of color or pipe thin lines over the truffles with the leftover tempered chocolate.

It feels so good to finally have the chocolate skills needed to make my Passion Truffle dreams a reality! Tazo Passion Tea adds a slightly floral flavor to the creamy ganache, perfect for celebrating the beginning of Spring. I love the satisfying crunch that the tempered chocolate shell gives each bite. These bite-sized chocolates are satisfyingly decadent without being heavy and I hope you give them a try!

Passion Tea Truffles

Ganache

  • 160 g (6 oz) dark chocolate, melted
  • 160 g (scant ¾ cup) cream
  • 60 g (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 Passion tea bag, tag removed
  • One strip of orange peel
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Tempered Chocolate Coating:

  • 300 g (11 oz) dark chocolate, divided and chopped
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, for rolling ganache

Make the ganache: Mix cream, sugar, tea, orange peel, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. Take off heat and let it steep for two minutes. Stir to thoroughly distribute. Remove the tea bag and orange peel and pour tea mixture over melted chocolate. 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.

Rolling ganache: Bring ganache out of the refrigerator and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour cocoa powder into a small bowl. Scoop a 1/2 tablespoon of ganache into your hand, dip fingers in cocoa powder and roll ganache into balls. Set on the baking sheet and continue until all the ganache is used. You should have between 30-40 balls.

Temper the chocolate: Fill a small pot with two inches of water and bring to a simmer. Fill a metal bowl with 200 g (7 oz) of chopped chocolate and set on top of the simmering water. Stir with a spatula and melt until chocolate reaches 140℉, about five minutes. Take the melted chocolate off the pot and dry the bowl with a towel.

Add the remaining 100 g (3.5 oz) 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 20 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. Grab the heat gun (or hair dryer) and warm the chocolate to 86-88℉.

Coat the ganache: Dip 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.

Decorate truffles: Brush edible glitter onto the truffles or pipe a simple decoration using any remaining chocolate.

Store: Store finished truffles in an air-tight container at room temperature for one week.

Salted Caramel Sauce

How’s everyone doing? Staying sane? I keep forgetting to brush my teeth so I’m working on that. The good news is I finally read the cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking and it drastically improved my cooking. I still have a lot to digest but the chapter on salt made the biggest impact.

According to Samin (author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking) the type of salt used determines the amount needed in a recipe. I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt and it turns out that I need about double the amount usually called for to properly season even the simplest of muffins. Check out this chart on how much salt is needed per 1 cup of flour for batters and doughs: Fine Sea Salt – 3/4 teaspoon, Table Salt – 2/3 teaspoon, Morton’s Kosher Salt – 3/4 teaspoon, Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt – 1 1/8 teaspoon. Is your mind blown?? I was shocked at the differences. Yet my math skills are paying off because I do think my food has never tasted better.

After reading the book (this is how I refer to it now: The Book and Mike knows what book I’m talking about), I knew I had to try one of the recipes. I decided on the salted caramel sauce for multiple reasons. 1. I actually had the ingredients in my house. 2. I’ve dabbled in caramel over the years but never found a recipe that was so perfect it needed to be made more than once. I’ve made caramel for apples that was too runny and took too long. I’ve made caramel candy so soft that I used it as a sauce. These problems most likely stem from not being to accurately read my ancient candy thermometer. 3. Recipe didn’t require a candy thermometer.

Needless to say, I’m completely smitten. I’ve made it four times in the last couple weeks. The dark amber sauce coats the back of a spoon and adds a layer of decadence to any dessert. I pour it over brownies, drizzle it on top of ice cream or dip apples for a wholesome quarantine snack. Take a spoonful and let it melt on your tongue and enjoy the indulgence that comes from such simple ingredients as butter, sugar and cream.

I can’t recommend this cookbook enough. Or the caramel sauce for that matter. I hope you are all finding inspiration and joy in the midst of all that is going on in the world. Stay healthy everyone!

Salted Caramel Sauce

Makes 8 ounces

Slightly adapted from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

Who knew caramel was so simple! No candy thermometer or special ingredients. It moves fast so don’t walk away from the stove. If the sauce separates during cooking just whisk in a splash of hot water to bring it all back together.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (half if using table salt)

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, melt butter on medium and then whisk in sugar and increase heat to medium-high. Stir until the mixture comes to a boil and then stop stirring. Brown spots will be visible in the pan. Give it one gentle swish so the caramel browns evenly. Continue cooking until deep amber in color and starts to smoke, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully whisk in heavy cream. Cool the caramel for 30 minutes and then add the vanilla and salt. Depending on the type of salt you use, you may need less so taste and adjust. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

To serve: Let caramel cool to room temperature and pour over ice cream or use as a dip for apples. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a month. Warm leftovers in the microwave for 10-15 seconds and stir before serving.

Holiday Goodies 2018

Its the time of year where I want to hide in the kitchen all day and make ALL the family favorites. I’m having such a hard time deciding so I decided to make a list of everything on my mind and then choose a few (ha!) from there.

Peanut Brittle – I have never made nor eaten a better brittle so I think this is a must.

Jam Thumbprints – I slightly adapted this recipe for my holiday kids baking class and it was so good! I used only raspberry jam and rolled them in raw sugar for a nice crunch.

Granola – This makes a fantastic teacher gift or housewarming gift. I usually do 1/2 cup walnuts and add raw pumpkin seeds and raw sunflower seeds to make the other 1/2 cup.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels – No recipe needed! Melt good quality chocolate (I use ghirardelli chips). Dip pretzel rods in chocolate and roll in crushed candy canes or sprinkles. Dry on parchment paper.

Mom’s Soft Sugar Cookies – Always my favorite and I included some easy decorating tips if you need any.

Sparkling Molasses Cookies – I’m a sucker for gingersnaps but I like the slightly deeper flavor and chewy texture of these molasses cookies.

Fresh Ginger Cake – If we’re on the topic of ginger, then I have to tell you about this fresh ginger cake. No matter that my batter overflowed the pan – it was still one of my favorite cakes ever.

M&M Cookies – These are Kai’s favorite and maybe I’ll get some red and green M&Ms and go for it.

Bittersweet Almond Toffee – Homemade candy is a staple of Christmas baking and toffee is always a big hit. So easy too!

Ok – what do you guys think? Do you have any favorites? Happy Baking!