Friday, January 14, 2011

Decadent Chocolate Truffles, from Vegan Table

The truffle recipe found in The Vegan Table tasted pretty good; however, it was very difficult to work with and the taste was less rich than we expected from the truffle. What it lacked in richness, however, it made up for in sweetness. Compared to the truffles made with the Now We're Cooking recipe, these tasted more like frosting rather than decadent truffles. However, without the other recipe as a point of comparison, this recipe still worked well for what it was.

The biggest problem we encountered wasn't so much the final product, as it was the execution of the recipe. Once we were able to make the truffles, they would have easily worked in our menu. The issue, however, were the directions in the recipe. The first step in the recipe is to beat the cream cheese in a food processor. We tried doing that, resulting in a broken food processor. We then tried transferring it into a blender, but that failed to blend and ended up getting stuck in the bottom. In the end, we just started over and hand mixed the cream cheese with the sugar. It took much more work than anticipated, not to mention that we also broke the food processor and wasted a tub of cream cheese at the bottom of the blender. I'm not sure whether the authors of this recipe even tried out their food processor theory, or if they failed to mention key steps that would have kept our equipment from failing.

In any event, here is the recipe we went off of, below. In order to avoid the problems we came across, it'd be best if the cream cheese were as warm as possible. Room temperature is probably best, though I have no experience with heating nondairy cream cheese, so I'm not sure if that would help it or ruin it. I still think it is best made by mixing by hand, though perhaps a more powerful food processor than the one we had might also work!

As mentioned in the Truffle Challenge post, we divided this recipe into thirds and flavored them with balsamic vinegar, Chambord raspberry liqueur, and vanilla. The flavors worked well, but they seemed fainter than those using the other recipe. It may be that the cream cheese base absorbs more of the flavor than the butter/cream base of the other recipe. Whatever the case may be, several people commented that the flavors used with this truffle seemed faint and could stand to be a little less subtle.

DECADENT CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES (text taken from The Vegan Table)
These are so much fun to make (kids can get involved), and when you coat the truffles in a variety of ingredients, they become a beautiful, delicious dessert.

Yield: 50 to 60 truffles, or servings

1 8 ounce container nondairy cream cheese
3 cups confectioners' sugar
3 cups nondairy semisweet or dark chocolate chips (or any high-quality chocolate), melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Ingredients for coating truffles (see below)

In the large bowl of a food processor, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time, until well blended. Add melted chocolate and vanilla and stir until thoroughly combined.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight. The longer you refrigerate the batter, the easier it will be to roll into perfect balls. However, it will definitely require elbow grease to scoop them out.

Shape into 1-inch balls. Refrigerate again if the batter is too soft, especially if your kitchen is warm. Use a strong spoon or melon baller to create uniform sizes.

Once rolled, either send balls back to fridge or coat in any of the following:

* Finely ground nuts (pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds)
* Sifted cocoa powder
* Toasted or raw coconut
* Sifted confectioners' sugar
* Candy sprinkles (the sparkly kind)

Serving Suggestions and Variations

To create a hard chocolate shell, refrigerate rolled truffle balls for at least 30 minutes (longer is fine, too). Melt some nondairy chocolate, either a good quality chocolate bar or chocolate chips, and dip each ball into the chocolate. Return to the refrigerator and let set for at least 1 hour.

To change the truffle flavor, omit the vanilla and replace it with 1 tablespoon of another flavor. You can even get several flavors out of one batch by dividing the truffle “batter” into thirds when you first combine the ingredients, and then adding 1 tablespoon of whatever flavor you want to each mixture.

For an elegant dinner party, prepare the truffles with the melted dark chocolate coating, then buy some edible gold and silver powder from baking specialty shops and dust over.

For grown-up parties, add 1 or 2 tablespoons Kahlúa, Grand Marnier, cherry brandy, or another liqueur.

*Wheat-free, soy-free


Alisa said...

I would actually pour the melted chocolate over the "cream cheese" to help soften it and combine then. You can heat it as needed, no problems. You could even melt it with the chocolate - it should work fine.

River said...

Hey, thanks for the input! If we ever decide to do this recipe again, we'll try heating up the cream cheese first!