Things have been pretty hectic around these parts the past couple weeks. I’ve been prepping for our upcoming honeymoon to Thailand, which has included getting a wide assortment of vaccines and buying straight-up deet, (kind of terrified of getting malaria), along with printing out all our various tour/hotel confirmations and compiling them into a binder. Normally I’m a bit more lax when it comes to travel, but I’ve never visited a country before without knowing anything about the language or the language of a neighboring country, so I’ve been a been more anal retentive when it comes to this trip. I’ve also been keeping busy with a lot of freelance projects, too, and in the middle of all this craziness Jeremy and I had our 8-year anniversary. I wanted to make something fun and decadent to help us unwind from the constant whirlwind of activity, so I tried recreating the roasted almond truffles we had when we were in Napa.
I roasted some raw almonds in the oven and blended about half of them in my magic bullet until they were in a semi-powdered/semi-almond butter form, then mixed them with some melted chocolate, warm cream, honey, and a dash of black pepper. And for the garnish I used a pastry bag to give them a little button of ganache and topped them with a single roasted almond. The chocolate shop in napa had sprinkled edible gold dust on their almonds, but hunting that down was a bit more effort than I was willing to put in (also, what is in edible gold dust??) so I kept the almond nice and plain. But if you wanted to get extra creative you could always roll them in powdered sugar, cocoa powder, or candy them before using them as a topping.
The ensuing dessert was one of my favorite culinary endeavors; the flavors of the roasted almonds were incredibly nutty and toasty, which the chocolate and cream complimented perfectly, and the subtle kick from the black pepper brought a little punch to the dessert party. Plus the crunch of the almond on top really added a fun textural element to the otherwise thick and velvety truffle. And most importantly, they were really easy to make and called for the simplest of ingredients.
The hardest part was piping out the ganache, since I let it sit in the fridge a bit to speed up the hardening process, but accidentally left it in too long so it was too thick to squeeze out of a pastry bag, which resulted in me massaging the pastry bag for a good 10 minutes trying to warm up & soften the ganache inside enough to come out of the pastry tip. Eventually I got it to the right consistency, though, and was able to pipe it out nice and smooth. But it just goes to show you that the cold water bath method is definitely best when it comes to controlling the consistency of ganache because you can actually look at it as you’re stirring it while its sitting in the bath. Slow and steady wins the ganache race, my friends. So, if you’re looking to make a little something special for Valentine’s day, or any other occasion for that matter, I can’t recommend these little guys highly enough.
Also! The kind folks over at Hatchery have offered to do a giveaway of one of their boxes. Hatchery is a foodie’s dream subscription box, every month they send you a beautifully curated collection of artisanal and hand-crafted ingredients from around the United States. Things like black truffle salt, peachy sriracha jam, and savory marinades. Every month contains a new assortment of artisanal items along with a lovely card that tells you a little bit about each of the small-batch companies included in that month’s box. And they want to give away a delicious Hatchery box to one of you! To enter the giveaway, please use the widget below. The entry period ends on the 24th at 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time, good luck everyone!!
Roasted Almond & Black Pepper Truffles
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1 cup 8 ounce dark chocolate chips
Roasted Almond Truffles
- 1/2 cup cream
- 10 ounces dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup roasted almonds
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder for rolling
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the cup of almonds out evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 10-12 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and allow the almonds to cool until warm enough to handle.
- While the almonds are cooling, prepare the ganache. In the top of a double boiler, melt together the chocolate and cream until smooth, stirring constantly. Then remove from heat and place in a cold water bath ad stir until the mixture reaches room temperature. Remove from the cold water bath and set aside.
- To prepare the truffles, grind 1/2 cup of the roasted almonds in a blender or food processor until they reach a stage halfway between almond flour and almond butter. Set them aside.
- In the top of a double boiler, heat the cream, dark chocolate chips, honey, and black pepper until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the roasted almond grinds. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until the mixture has hardened enough to be scooped with a spoon and formed into ball with your hands.
- Once the truffle mixture is firm enough, remove it from the refrigerator and take a tablespoon of it. Roll it into a ball between the palms of your hands and then roll the ball in the cocoa powder. Place the ball on a flat surface and press down on it gently with your thumb to flatten the top of it slightly. Repeat this process with all of the truffle mixture.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip with the chocolate ganache and, starting on the outer edge of the top of the truffle and going towards the center, pipe out a small swirl of the chocolate ganache and then top with one of the roasted almonds. Repeat this process with the rest of the truffles. They will keep for up to 1 week if kept covered in the refrigerator.