So my oldest brother was having a big birthday recently. The big 4-0 (sorry Lincoln, your age has now been outed on the internet for all the world to see. I humbly apologize for completely ruining your attempts at joining “The club for super awesome cool people under the age of 40. Those that are 40+, don’t even both showing your face around here, we all know it’s impossible for you to be cool.” I know, their name really needs some work. I’ve been trying to tell them that since they begged me to join a few years ago 😉 ). He’s my much much older brother 😉 . Anywho, we ended up having a little(ish) Scotch tasting event at our house, so of course I wanted to take the opportunity to bake something. I tried doing a little internet research on what kinds of foods to serve at a Scotch tasting and I’d say people seem to be fairly evenly split on how snobby they wanted to be. There was the uber snobby (aka monacle wearing 😉 ) camp who believe that you should not sully the scotch tasting experience by eating anything else because it will dilute the palate, it’s sacrilegious, how could you even think of doing such a crazy thing you obvious heathen you. The other camp was a bit more forgiving, in that they would look at the things you could consume with scotch to help enhance the experience (well…to be fair, I suppose there’s really 3 camps. The third one being “it’s alcohol, I’m going to drink a whole bottle and eat a party-sized pizza all by myself. Then I will follow this with a bag of Doritos, and a burrito. Then I will pass out in a pool of my own…drool (you thought I was going to say vomit didn’t you? Admit it…ok, you’re right, I was, but I enjoy the rhyming-ness of falling asleep in a pool of drool and so probability be damned!)).
As anyone who drinks scotch probably knows, smoky and peaty are terms that seem to show up fairly regularly. Now, I also really love liquid smoke, and many “camp 2” people said that dark chocolate was a good pairing. So, liquid smoke truffles were born. I agree, this does sound like a potentially terrible idea which is why I wanted to make them at least a few days before so that if they didn’t turn out, I would hang my head in shame in secret (actually, I’m sure I’d still be sharing this story with you because of my whole blog honesty policy), and have time to create some other masterpiece for consumption. Secondary benefit of making them a little bit in advance is that the smoky flavoured chocolate ganache has more time to marinate and mellow into a (hopefully) delicious and savoury combination.
Now I’ve made truffles a fair number of times, and the basic ganache recipe is actually deceptively simple. You can then customize flavours to your hearts content which is one of the reasons I enjoy making them so much. Since I was making the ganache anyway, and I figured odds were pretty high that there’d be people who would balk at the idea of having liquid smoke in truffles, I though I’d make three different kinds instead to match three different levels of adventurousness. This post now has a nice little quiz it to help you find your truffle 🙂 :
1.It’s vacation time. You:
a) Have a staycation and basically act like it’s the weekend for 7 days (bar hopping on a Thursday night? Woohoo!)
b) Plan a 10 day trip to France and Spain with friends or your significant other, soak up a little local culture and return home refreshed and revitalized.
c) Go to the airport and take the first flight with available seats and let the universe dictate your course.
2.There’s a new restaurant in town. You:
a) Wouldn’t go there, at least not until someone could report back to you on whether or not they had your spaghetti and meatball staple on the menu.
b) You’d check it out at some point, but you’d want to wait until the hubbub for it had died down a bit (and to make sure the restaurant has a chance to work out any kinks).
c) Go the day they open, and ask the server to bring you whatever they think is the best thing on the menu without telling you what it is first.
3.You have to repaint your house. You:
a) Repaint it with a fresh coat of the same colour you had previously.
b) Look at this as an opportunity to do a vibrant accent wall or two.
c) Go the local paint store and buy cans of whatever’s on sale. Paint your house accordingly.
mostly a’s = “The Hometown Settler”
You love nothing better than to hang out with the buddies you’ve known your entire life. There’s nothing wrong with going down to the local watering hole and doing the same thing you do every Friday night, drink a pint, have some nachos and shoot the Sh**. You’re a strong believer in “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Your idea of an international experience is going out for Italian food, and then, when you really want to live on the edge, ordering espresso (which you will pronounce “EXpresso”) with your dessert. Truffle Recommendation – Lemon.
mostly b’s = “The Familiarity Traveller”
You love travelling and seeing new place…as long as you can still have all the comforts of home and everyone still speaks your language. Europe’s great, if it weren’t for all the Europeans 😉 . You like going out for Sushi, Thai and other international foods, but you tend to order the tried and true items (i.e. no (vegan) Bull’s Balls Brioche for you). You like trying activities that are new to you, but you also like reading up on the trip advisor ratings first so you feel prepared for what you’re getting into (and to prove to yourself that no one’s died doing this before). Truffle Recommendation – Orange Green Tea
mostly c’s = “The Intrepid Traveller”
The idea of living out of a tent in Nepal fills you with excitement. You very rarely make more than vague plans, you’d rather not have to stick to a schedule because that would stop you from being able to just go with the flow of where the night takes you. You love meeting new people. If someone suggested bungee jumping into an unexplored cave that they were “pretty sure went deep enough for this to be safe”, you’d just shrug your shoulders and say “sure”, and maybe even volunteer to go first. Truffle Recommendation – Smoked Maple.
Side note – I actually took the time to properly temper the chocolate that I used for dipping (definitely not a requirement). This ended up being annoying however because, it was so hot that day that (as you can see from my creepily “sweaty” truffles) it just didn’t really work 🙁 . This is the first time where this didn’t work out for me, which I’m really just bringing up to say that, sometimes, just when you start getting all high and mighty on yourself and how great you are at everything, a simple thing like melting chocolate can bring you down (luckily though, you then have melting chocolate to eat to soothe your battered ego 😉 ).
Yield: 20 truffles
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (the thicker, canned coconut milk. Although you probably could just use any non-dairy milk, it won’t be as creamy)
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup chocolate chips (for coating – optional)
- Lemon Truffles:
- Zest of one lemon
- Lemon zest infused decorating sugar (grate a teaspoon of lemon zest into 2 tablespoons of sugar/decorating sugar and allow to dry out)
- Maple Smoked Truffles:
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Smoked sea salt
- Maple sugar
- Orange Green Tea Truffles:
- 3/4 teaspoon matcha green tea powder, plus extra for coating
- Zest of one orange
- 1-2 teaspoons orange liqueur (optional)
- Place 1 cup of chocolate chips in a bowl.
- Place the coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and allow to heat up until it just barely starts to boil.
- Pour coconut milk over chocolate. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes. Stir until all the chocolate is completely melted.
- Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until ganache is firmed up.
- Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. Roll ganache into teaspoon sized balls and chill in the fridge (or freezer’s even better).
- While truffles are chilling, melt 1 cup of chocolate chips in a double boiler. Once completely melted, remove truffles from the fridge or freezer and dip each in melted chocolate. Return to the fridge to firm up.
For Lemon Truffles: Add the lemon zest to the coconut milk when you’re warming it up. After coating truffles in chocolate, top with lemon infused sugar.
For Maple Smoked Truffles: Add liquid smoke and maple syrup to the coconut milk when you’re warming it up. After coating truffles in chocolate, top with smoked sea salt and maple sugar.
For Orange Green Tea Truffes: Add the matcha green tea powder, orange zest and orange liqueur to the coconut milk when you’re warming it up. After coating truffles in chocolate, return tray to the fridge to allow the coating to harden, then roll in matcha powder.