Last weekend Jeremy and I left behind the hustle and bustle of the city for a couple days of calm and sun out in the desert. Being an Oregonian at heart, I love my green northwest scenery; trees, rolling hills, tall grass, etc. But there’s something about the emptiness of the desert that relaxes me. It’s like nature wiped its slate clean, leaving behind only warmth and dust and mile upon endless mile of open space.
We stayed on the edge of the desert at a beautiful little rustic resort that makes its bread and butter as a lavender farm. The first day we went antiquing in nearby Beaumont and I found a neat little old outdoor side table, which I promptly bought and Jeremy kindly carried back to the car for me (thanks, Jeremy!) Then we checked into our room and Jeremy hopped (literally) into the pool for a very brief moment before we decided it was way too cold and ran back to the room to change.
|Oh hey, I’m a pool! You should jump in me! Just kidding, I’m ice cold….screw you pool, screw you.|
The rest of the weekend was spent wandering around the grounds, taking in the beautiful wildlife and farm animals, and attempting to hike. I say attempting because my allergies started going crazy along the trail and my nose was running so much that I could no longer breathe out of my nose. This wouldn’t have been a problem, except the air within the ravine was doused with gnats to the point where I’d breathe them in through my mouth every time I took a breath. (Yes, this was as unpleasant as it sounds.) So that hiking bit only lasted about 20 minutes, and then back to the grounds it was!
|He totally winked at me, you guys.|
Seeing all the lavender everywhere made me crave it like crazy, so when I got back I decided to make these rich and easy little truffles. I used Ina Garten’s white truffle recipe for the base, but added lavender and almonds instead of liqueur and hazelnuts. I also gave them a final coating in melted white chocolate to keep them nice and solid and to give the little lavender garnish something to hold on to.
They were perfect; rich, sweet, creamy and floral. And they looked so pretty with the little lavender buds sprinkled on top. If you want them to have a bit of a crunch to them, don’t grind the almonds as finely, but if you love the idea of a smooth and creamy center, grind away, my friend.
Also, just a friendly reminder that the King Arthur Flour beginner’s cake-making kit giveaway is still going on. if you haven’t entered yet, hop on over to my previous post with the raspberry ombre cake and throw your hat in the ring!
To make the truffle center, heat the cream in a double boiler over simmering water until hot. Add the white chocolate, ground lavender, ground almonds, and vanilla extract and stir until the white chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth, then immediately remove from the heat. Allow to cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours.
At this point, the mixture should have hardened enough to scoop into a ball. Use a tablespoon to scoop a heaping mound of truffle onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Continue to do this until all of the truffle mixture is on the baking sheet. Place the sheet in the freezer for 20 minutes to help it harden.
While the sheet is in the freezer, make the white chocolate coating. In the double boiler, heat the milk and cream above simmering water until hot. Stir in the white chocolate until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
After 20 minutes have passed, remove the pan from the freezer, quickly roll each of the balls between your hands to smooth them out a bit and place them on a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then drizzle the melted white chocolate over the truffles until coated and sprinkle the top of each one with a pinch of lavender, pressing down on the lavender gently to help it stick to the melted white chocolate. Place the wire rack/baking sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes to help the white chocolate harden quickly. Store the truffles in the refrigerator until ready to serve.