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Friday, February 13, 2009

Boozy Bitter Chocolate Truffles, or, I DON'T WANT TO BE YOUR VALENTINE!


Nor do I want you mine.

I think it was that pink Rice Crispy Treats I was subjected to one sad Valentine that ruined it for me for ever.  Or perhaps it saved me.  Depending on your perspective.  In any case, if I saw another heart-shaped cookie or pink cake I might just scream and go sew black buttons over my eyes and then build traps for unsuspecting children or misguided lovers.  I just might.

But there is hope yet.  A distressed signal sent over Twitter to my crowd received in reply dozens of also-dissenting voices, reassuring me that even in my most misanthrope moment, I am, alas, not alone.  In the dark, lonely corners of Twitterverse we plotted to bring down valentines.  "Do the Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic", sang the Tweet-chorus.  "Cook everything that gives you gas", cried a petulant - or perhaps flatulent - voice.  Another pointed to a gnarly - if absolutely delicious - Dim Sum staple, braised chicken feet.  One even suggested a bottle of cheap booze and a hammer, I dared not ask why.  I supposed another that might do is that dish with a poetic name, Pissed-off Prawns, I ate earlier this week at Michael Chiarello's new Bottega up in Napa.

Then an aha moment arrived.  What fun is bitterness without booze?  There you have it.  I'll make chocolate truffles, dark and bitter chocolate truffles, and I'll make it boozy.  Rum perhaps.  No, Armagnac, better yet, Armagnac with some prunes soaked in it. 

And just in case you're wondering.  No, no, the cause of my bitterness is *not* because my otherwise-sweet valentine is at his restaurant cooking a very special meal for everyone else's valentines.  And, no, it hasn't been like that every year for the past four valentines we've had together.  And, really, no, I don't plan on wallowing in my bitterness tomorrow night with a bowlful of these boozy bonbons and all those monster movies marathon on Sci-fi.  I don't plan on doing that at all.

Boozy & Bitter Chocolate Truffles

recipe adapted from La Maison du Chocolat

8oz very dark, very bitter chocolate.  I used Valrhona Extra-Amer.

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/8 to 1/4 cup Armagnac, or Rum, as you please

almost 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

(optional: 6oz of chocolate to coat)

Chop up the 8oz chocolate to very small pieces, place the chopped chocolates in a medium glass bowl.  In a small pan, bring the cream to a boil, then remove from heat immediately and pour the hot cream over the chocolate bits.  Let stand a couple minutes to melt.

Stir the chocolate and cream until well incorporated.  Add the Armagnac or whatever booze you're using, mix well to completely incorporate the booze into the chocolate.  Let stand outside the fridge until cool down completely.

Put the cocoa powder in a medium bowl.  Using a tablespoon measure, scoop up slightly less than the tablespoon of chocolate and gently roll it into a ball.  You might need to press the chocolate a bit together before rolling.  Place it on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Repeat the rolling until you're done with the ganache batter, you should have 30-40 little chocolate balls on the cookie sheet.  You can toss these balls in the bowl with cocoa to coat, or you can first dip them into melted chocolate to form a thin crust before coating with cocoa.

Put another medium bowl over a pot of simmering water, add the optional 6oz of chopped chocolate, stir until just melted.  Remove from heat immediately. 

Dip the chocolate balls into the melted chocolate, do this with 3-4 ganache balls at a time, remove them and place them back on the cookie sheet.  Remove the chocolate balls from the melted chocolate and put immediately into the bowl of cocoa.  Toss until they are well coated and place them back on the cookie sheet to dry.  Store them in an airtight container if you want to keep them a while.  I don't.


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