Friday, November 16, 2007

Big News in the World of Truffles

I have been watching my bid on the chocolate tempering machine holding steady at $460 for a while now. I'm hoping pretty strong. It's a great piece of equipment that even once the shop's open and the 20lb batches are working I will have plenty of use for it.

Using the little 1.5lb machine was starting to suck out loud because I was only able to dip a dozen at a time, then I'd have to go with another 1.5 which took up to 40 minutes.

A machine that handles batches of 6.5lbs will make that part of the process flow.

I've been mulling over the flavors to make this year. I'll be making two 10lb batches of dark chocolate ganache which translates into eight flavors of four dozen each. That and two white chocolate flavors should be plenty.

I can easily double up on the most popular flavors, making 8 dozen of a few of them rather than four.

Here's where my head's at for now:


Classic Bittersweet (nuthin' but chocolate)
Raspberry (8 dozen of these for sure, far and away the most popular flavor and killer when consumed with champagne)
Starbucks Coffee Liqueur (way better coffee flavor than Kahlua)
Sofia's Mexicali Spice (spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and voodoo)
Calvados (the only workable apple flavor I've ever been able to do)
Frangelico (the hazelnut flavor is flat out scrumptious)
Jessica's Peppermint Stick (these are not only delicious, they look all christmasy and stuff)
Jenna's Candied Ginger (it will require making a batch of crystallized ginger, but hey worse things have happened)

For the white chocolate flavors I'm going to be using some beautiful Tahitian Vanilla which Maheanu was kind enough to have sent from his beautiful islands. Thanks Chief!

I'm going to go classic with the white chocolate babies (although Dark Wraith, I know you are a white chocolate fiend, and since it's your favorite and all, if you have an idea for flavoring a white chocolate truffle please let me know and if I haven't made it yet I am certain I can figure it out)

They will be

White Chocolate (the Tahitian Vanilla will make these babies SING)
Jessie O's Raspberry Creme (a standard white truffle with some raspberries swirled in)

White chocolate truffles also rock with peppermint. . .

Input and ideas are welcomed. Any of you folks who got truffles last year are invited to remind me if I've been foolish and left off one of your favorites.


The tempering machine is fairly won, bought, and paid for. Shipping should commence directly. The main impact that this will have is to increase holiday production. I will easily be able to triple my previous production in the same amount of time. . .hmmmm, time to sniff the winds of demand. . .



Blogger konagod said...

Stop it. You're making me HARD.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frangelico (the hazelnut flavor is flat out scrumptious)

WORD!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)))))))))))

- oddjob

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the white chocolate? It seems to me that spearmint also ought to be an excellent flavor. Furthermore (& I realize this will seem quite strange/gross to many people), English (NOT French) lavender comes to mind. Grand Marnier could be experimented with, too. What about a pear flavor? I don't think pear would work with dark chocolate, but I bet it would with white. I also think grenadine could be tried.

I'll think of more later, I'm sure..... ;)

- oddjob

4:45 PM  
Blogger litbrit said...

I second Kona's comment (girls can get that way too, you know, especially when there's chocolate involved, as I suspect you know).

Mmmmm...Sofia's Mexicali spice...Calvados!...Wow...mmmm.

For white chocolate, how about Grand Marnier? Something orange-y, perhaps with tiny bits of candied orange?


Rose-flower water? With candied rose petal bits?

And ginger goes well with dark and white alike, methinks.

Now I am totally choco-frustrated.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Kate217 said...

I'll be in my bunk....

(White chocolate with lemon is scrumptious. Anything with pecan is delectable.) Once I get an oven that actually works, I'll make you some cookies.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Kate217 said...

I second every damn thing LitBrit said, especially the rose-flavoured white chocolate.

4:47 PM  
Blogger litbrit said...

p.s. I realized I never sent you that white fruitcake recipe. As soon as I dig out my cookbooks from the bottomless pits of the moving boxes, I'll get it out to you ASAP.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rose-flower water? With candied rose petal bits?


Damn, so Persian!!!

- oddjob

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brandy, port, and Drambuie will all work as well. (I'd guess sherry belongs on that list, too, but I have yet to find a sherry I like, so I'm in position to provide advice on that one. There are so many and the flavors vary rather a lot!)

Kirschwasser would work, too.

- oddjob

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only citrus fruits I am not sure about are limes & grapefruit. Kumquat, orange, & tangerine will work nicely. If you were in Florida and had access to fresh off the tree grapefruits I'd recommend that, but I don't know about the grocery store ones.

- oddjob

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally (at least for tonight ;)) how about mango & passion fruit?

- oddjob

6:48 PM  
Blogger isabelita said...

How about a milk chocolate covered maple butter flavor? And I would happily buy some truffles from you...

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Dark Wraith said...

Good evening, Minstrel Boy.

I am reticent to reveal too much about my personal tastes and preference because of the ever-present, watchful eye of government officials who might one day use the careless word I have uttered against me.

I have, for example, revealed in the past a certain taste for buttocks, but I did that only as a ruse to make my future interrogators believe they were using a known weakness of mine against me to break my will.

I have also revealed a certain taste for coffee; but, again, the joke will be on my interrogators since I have consumed so much of the beverage in my life that I can actually now produce it from my gall bladder without benefit of any external sources.

All of that having been said, I have always had a fondness for a certain type of caramel: the kind so strong it has almost a bitterness. It is hard to find, though.

Something odd that has come upon me in these recent years has been a taste for certain fruits. Apricots are an example. I sometimes make a coffee cake that has a center thick with swirls of cream cheese, sour cream, and thick apricot jam. Another fruit with which I make more desserts these days is apples. You might recall from awhile back that apple French cream pie for which I provided preparation instructions. Last week, I made an apple upside down cake. The apples came from a nearby orchard. They were tart enough to make a man look like an ant eater, but in the cake, with all the butter and brown sugar, they made for a killer dessert.

At that orchard, I bought some heavy boysenberry preserves with which I'll probably make either another cream cheese/sour cream coffee cake; or perhaps I'll get up the wherewithal to make one of my monstrously heavy (actually, neutron star heavy) cheesecakes from scratch.

I should note that I had vowed this Holiday Season not to allow my weight to get above 150 pounds. Taking the weight off after the beginning of the year entails way too much exercise. The misfortune of illnesses in the late Winter also seems to help me lose my appetite long enough to get back down to my target weight.

On the other hand, I have a feeling that this is going to be yet another year when that vow of abstinence from the occasioal dessert or confection bites the dust.

By the way, those chocolates of yours last year turned my ass into a slowly detonating obesity explosion. More evenings than I care to recall, I would sit down at my computer with a cup of brutally strong coffee and one of those truffles, and it would be a truly spiritual half-hour in which I would consume that truffle and wash it down with swigs of my pop-the-ears-off, homebrewed joe.

It was just incredible.

I look forward one day to once again experiencing that other-worldly experience .

The Dark Wraith feels his ass enlarging as he just thinks about those truffles.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Dark Wraith is a darkly funny boy...

Per the comment on pear, I do think it could be done with bittersweet chocolate. While less assertive, the undertones would be sublime.

MB, you will make any melange work. perhaps you can feature some locally-sourced fruits/nuts (no, I don't mean the locals...)

9:45 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i'm tending toward leaving the dark flavors set for right now. they are all tried and true and very well received. usually with fresh fruit (with the exception of raspberries) there needs to be a concentration process. i would imagine that some of the curds would do quite nicely in either the darks or the whites. i will proably hold off on any experimentation until after the holiday production run. then it's on

10:03 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

just re-reading through i allowed the notice of litbrit's thoughts about grand marnier. . .i know it works well in dark chocolate, but i'm certain i could make it work in the white, with bits of candied peel. . .

now i'm going to be obsessing again. . .

in a good way i'm sure. . .

10:05 PM  
Blogger Sherry said...

there is a flavor i use for things that i bake that need a delicate flavoring.

fiori di sicillia

i order it from the king arthur flour co. i haven't found a citrus flavor that beats it.

oh, and your post is just killing me i want a truffle so bad right now!

6:32 AM  
Blogger BadTux said...

As a chocoholic I try to avoid these posts and try to avoid acquiring chocolate in any quantity greater than the odd chunk of dark snarfed from the front office visitor goodie basket. On the odd occasion that I come into possession of a sizable chunk of lucious bittersweet dark chocolate I invariably snarf it down myself long before it can be used for any confection, generally in the sort of binge that would make the Cookie Monster seem tidy. I thus have no, no opinion of anything chocolate here. I see nothing, nothing at all. La la la la la!

10:12 AM  
Blogger Brave Sir Robin said...

bittersweet, bittersweet, bittersweet.


10:18 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

as i've stated before, were it up to me, with a very few exceptions, the only truffle i would make, and my far and away favorite, is the plain chocolate bittersweet. i tell people that if you want to flavor it with fruit, nuts, liqueurs, brandies, whatever, do this:

take a bowl of raspberries, a snifter of calvados, a pony of your favorite liqueur, a cup of you best coffee AND a bittersweet truffle and go to fucking town.

but, that's just me. i've been wrong before. i must say, the combination of a raspberry truffle and a flute of wickedly dry champagne is a memory that survives even my nearly fifteen years of sobriety. not as a temptation in any way shape or form, but, it was exquisite.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

yes, chocolate just chocolate is the best, but people want exotic, i guess is the word.

me, chocolate and a cup of coffee works well.

has anyone thought of chocolate with chinese 5 spice?

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

has anyone thought of chocolate with chinese 5 spice?


- oddjob

12:00 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

there is a company in chicago and l.a. who do bizarre stuff with chocolate, stuff like cumin truffles. my plan is to stay very basic at the beginning.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous constant comment said...

I second the Grand Marnier--I used to make these truffles and they were delish. That said, however, ALL the flavors sound great. Looking forward to making a Christmas order...

1:58 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

melissa has graciously offered to be the delivery elf for the greater chicago area. one, bigger heavier box is cheaper to ship overnight than a bunch of little bitty ones. . .it should make things easy.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have yet another white chocolate suggestion for when you're ready to experiment.

Cranberries. They're both bitter and quite tart, but the bitterness will probably fit since chocolate has bitter components, and the tartness will complement the creamy sweetness of the white chocolate. Adding bits of dried cranberries to the mix ought to seal the deal, I think.

Oh, and I don't see anything the slightest bit weird about cumin truffles! May I suggest a mole truffle? :-)

- oddjob (who knows damn well how wonderful chocolate is as an addition to a savory dish!)

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Oh, partly the cranberry suggestion is inspired by a purchase I make once in a while, including today, of an English Wensleydale cheese laced with dried cranberries. It's simultaneously creamy, salty, savory, and just the slightest bit sweet & sour from the cranberries. It's yummy!)

- oddjob

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

FWIW: I am a food purist, and savor the simple essence of the thing, sans admixture of adulterating flavors. So if one has an exquisite dark chocolate, why dilute that headiness with anything else? I am with you in this.

A bowl of raspberries (said in my best W.C. Fields,) a small glass of one's liqueur and the truffle. Magnificent and complete.

(I am the same way re. the body. Why perfume and deodorize? Cleanliness is adequate. This allows the pheromones and whatever other subtle cues we don't know about to shine through, so one may make a more honest decision about the person with whom they are dealing. I do not like being deceived, and all the trappings under which people hide.)

3:34 AM  
Blogger The Truffle said...

Wow. I am, of course, biased (see my handle), but I admire your work in truffle-making. Keep it up!

7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi, would you happen to know how much would a used tricor automatic
tempering machine would cost? model 501 and 505A? i bought in an auction just recently 1 lot of chocolate lab equipment and this includes this instruments..

11:22 PM  

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