Friday, May 2, 2008

Truffle Shuffle

Here's that truffle post I mentioned earlier.

I'm sure it's not surprising that I love junk food. I love cake and chocolate and chocolate cake. Sometimes, it doesn't even have to be that great. Like Passover. The cake mixes are...edible, but definitely not great. They're far better than any cake you can buy pre-made in stores, though. Those taste like cardboard topped with sawdust. And in my opinion, making Passover cakes from scratch requires too much effort and thought to be worth it, so mixes it is.

The obvious problem with mixes is that they all need eggs. My mother tried substituting apple sauce for eggs in one cake and it came crap. It was way too sweet and was softer than fudge in consistency. I was the only one that ate it and I only ate it so it wouldn't go to waste (and because it kinda sorta tasted like chocolate. Almost).

I needed a fix, so I made truffles from the Conscious Kitchen's recipe and uploaded pictures of them to my Flickr. One of my coworkers saw them, thought they looked great, and asked me to make a batch for her to take to a family Passover dinner. I would have totally done it for free, but she offered to pay me and I had to pay my taxes last month, so we made a deal. My first sale! I was so proud that I'm sure I was really annoying to talk to for at least a day.

Make sure you check out the pictures on Conscious Kitchen, but do yourself a favor and have a drool rag handy. Don't say I didn't warn you!

I didn't make nearly as many variations as they did because I was limited by what I had in the house for Passover, but I don't think anyone got bored of mine either. For liquid, I used a splash of vanilla extract, mixed with coconut milk to make 1/2 cup total. When I made them for my family, I used cocoa powder, chopped cashews, almonds and craisins and ground walnuts as toppings. For the batch I sold, I used them as fillings as well.

My work station for the second batch:

Toppings, clockwise from the top left, I'm rolling in chopped almonds, cashews ground walnuts, cocoa powder and chopped craisins. I didn't have a food processor so all chopping was done by hand. Ew:

The truffles are incredibly easy to make. Just melt your chocolate in your heated liquid. Pour the whole mess into pan and refrigerate it until it solidifies (which took hours in the small pan I used. If you have room in your fridge, use something large and increase your surface area to cool your chocolate faster). Scoop out the chocolate a bit at a time, roll it into balls, roll the balls in your toppings. Voila! Truffles.

That said, it may take a bit of trial and error to get your aesthetic right. For example, when I tried to top the truffles with chopped craisins, no matter what I did, I ended up with loads of craisins sticking to each other, leaving bald spots in some areas and piles of fruit in others. I thought maybe rolling the truffle in cocoa powder before chopped craisin would help, but then they barely stuck at all. The next try was powder after craisin. That did keep the chocolate off the eater's fingers, but looked like crap, as you can see toward the rear of this picture:

I remedied this in the batch I sold by filling the truffles with craisin instead (I just wrapped the chocolate around a few craisins before rolling it into the ball shape - this also worked with nuts), putting one small piece of craisin on the outside to identify it and rolling the rest in cocoa powder:

Yeah, it sort of looks like a boob. And I don't have the coordination to keep the cocoa powder off the craisin bit completely, but it's still an improvement. These were the ones that went over best. There was almost a fight over them in my office. I'm not even lying.

When my brother first saw this on the kitchen table, he thought they were Dunkin' Donuts Munchkins. Somehow, he completely forgot it was Passover, I'm vegan and Dunkin' Donuts would never put real, unprocessed nuts on anything.

I love this picture. It looks like I'm building a truffle army, but the recipe actually makes about 24 pieces:

Truffles, ready for delivery to my first customer:

I'm definitely going to make these again (I say that about everything, don't I? But I mean it this time because I have a plan!). I want to try using Frangelico as the liquid, and maybe some coffee liquor (separately). I think it'd be a nice touch to roll them in red and green sprinkles and pack them into pretty boxes during the holidays. Mini cupcake cups might be the perfect size to hold them and make them look fancy and professional.


Katherine said...

Yum! Perhaps dusting the chopped craisins with cocoa powder before rolling the truffles in them would work? Of course you want the truffle surface to be fairly sticky to get the craisins to stick. It's a thought. The truffles look beautiful, by the way! If you really want to make 'em pretty, buy a cute cardboard box and tie a bow around it. Works well for Christmas gifts with a hand-written gift tag.

Seitan Said Dance said...

Thanks, katherine! I tried that on the first day, and you're right, nothing stuck. But I'm definitely going to go for cute wrappings if I use them for the holidays.

Kelleen - Picks over Peas said...

Those look delicious. I have been thinking about making my own truffles as well after seeing them on Conscious Kitchen. What type/brand of chocolate did you use?

Seitan Said Dance said...

Thanks, kelleen. I mostly used semisweet chocolate. Nothing special or fancy, though; just the biggest bar I could find in the store for Passover.