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Photo by: Tina Rupp
MAKE THE TRUFFLE CENTERS
Place the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Place a fine-mesh sieve or strainer over the bowl and set aside.
In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the cream just to a boil. Add the almonds, cover the saucepan, and turn the heat down to simmer. Simmer the almonds in the covered saucepan for 20 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, and pour the cream through the sieve directly over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes. Gently stir the mixture from the center outward until it is smooth and shiny. Add the almond extract or liqueur and stir to combine. Cover the entire bowl in plastic wrap, making sure the chocolate surface comes in direct contact with the plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 5 hours or until firm.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Scoop the truffles with a small melon baller or tablespoon, and drop onto parchment paper in balls (balls will not be perfectly round). Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 20 minutes.
ROLLING THE TRUFFLES
Place the almonds on a large plate.
Remove the truffles from the freezer and use a dipping fork or fondue fork to dip each truffle in the tempered chocolate (or use your fingers), then drop the truffle in the almonds and turn to coat with almond pieces. Put the almond-coated truffles on the baking sheet to set.
Truffles can be stored in an airtight container, between layers of wax or parchment paper, for up to 1 week.
Tempered Milk Chocolate
There are many methods of tempering chocolate, but each is accomplished through a process of melting, cooling, and agitating. Our favorite method is to seed the chocolate. Here, a portion of already tempered chocolate is added to melted chocolate. This helps stimulate the formation of stable beta crystals—or, to put it simply, reduces the temperature of the melted chocolate and helps it come to temper.
Before you start, keep in mind it is best to temper chocolate in a cool kitchen. Measure out 1 pound of chocolate—dark or milk, depending on the recipe—and chop well with a serrated knife. We prefer to use a couverture chocolate that contains at least 32% cocoa butter, as it is thinner when melted and ideal for dipping.
Reserve about a quarter of this chocolate. Put the remainder in a large heatproof bowl and place over a pot of simmering water. Melt the chocolate until an instant-read thermometer placed in the middle of the bowl reads 120 degrees F.
Remove the bowl from the heat and add the reserved chopped chocolate. With a rubber spatula, stir the chocolate vigorously without stopping until it has completely melted and cooled to a temperature of 80 degrees F. The chocolate should thicken considerably.
Place the bowl of chocolate back over the simmering water and stir with a spatula. If you are using dark chocolate, bring it to a temperature between 86 and 90 degrees F. If you are using milk chocolate, a temperature between 84 and 87 degrees F, Works best.
Test the chocolate to make sure it has reached a full temper. Dip a small metal spatula into the chocolate and place it on the counter. The chocolate should begin to set in 3-5 minutes and have a satiny shine, without streaks. If the chocolate has not set after 5 minutes or it looks speckled or streaked, you should continue to agitate the chocolate with the spatula until it is properly tempered.
When your chocolate is tempered, you may begin dipping. Keep in mind that tempered chocolate sets up quickly. If you notice the chocolate in your bowl is beginning to harden, place it back over the simmering water to reheat, but only for a few seconds.
Nutritional information is based on 15 servings and does not include Tempered Milk Chocolate. Serving size is one truffle.
Nutrients per serving (% daily value)