Monday, May 22, 2006

Chocolate-Mint Truffle

Dark, Rich & Subtle
Experiments in my Test Kitchen

photograph picture recipe how to make dark sinful rich delicious chocolate mint truffles

Judging by the speed with which the correct answer to part of yesterday's challenge was left on a comment by Teri, it would appear that I am the only person in the world who had never heard of chocolate-mint. Fatemeh kindly pointed out this unexpected herb to me at the San Francisco Farmer's Market on Saturday imploring "you have to smell this". Crikey! It really does smell exactly like the best chocolate chip ice cream you could imagine. I am not one for making ice cream since I don't have the luxury of a fancy gadget to help me do so, but I didn't let that stop me from trying my hand at some ice cream-inspired Mint-Choc-Chip (with no chip) truffles instead...

photograph picture recipe how to make dark sinful rich delicious chocolate mint truffles

Ingredients:
1 cup chocolate mint leaves (stems removed)
1/2 cup whipping cream.
5oz 62% Semisweet Chocolate, cut into small pieces with a sharp knife
4 tbsp butter, diced and at room temperature.
2 heaped tsp unsweetened cocoa powder, for rolling.

Method:

-Bring a pan of water to a rolling boil.
-Prepare a bath of cold water and ice.
-Blanch the mint leaves for 20 seconds in the boiling water. Immediately transfer them to the ice bath to cool, using a slotted spoon.
-Remove the mint leaves from the ice bath and thoroughly dry them with a paper towel.
-In a small food mixer process the leaves until they are finely minced. (Or mince with a chef's knife or mezza luna if you don't have an electronic processor.)
-Add the cream and process together with the mint until the two ingredients are blended. (Be wary not to go to far at this stage, else your cream might turn to butter, if it starts to thicken, stop processing immediately).
-Transfer the cream/mint mixture to a small pan. Bring to the boil and then take off the heat. Allow to the herbs to seep in the cream for a further ten minutes.
- In the meantime transfer the chocolate to a double saucepan or a glass bowl set over a slowly simmering pan of water.
-Using a sieve, strain the mint cream so that you are left with a smooth, green liquid cream.
-Pour half of the cream liquid over the chocolate, and stir over the heat, until the chocolat and cream are melted and blended together. Repeat with the remaining mint-infused cream.
-Remove from the heat and start to beat in the butter, a few cubes at a time. Repeat and continue until all the butter is blended and the mixture is smooth. If at any point the mixture cools down too much so that the butter won't melt, just pop the bowl back over the pan of water again just until it heats up enough to melt the remainder of the butter.
-Once your ganache is thick, glossy and blended, pop it into the fridge to cool down for 30 minutes.
-Line baking tray with parchement or wax paper.
-Remove ganache from fridge, stir thoroughly and then transfer to a piping bag with a large plain nozzle.
-Pipe little rounds of the ganache into ball shapes on the lined baking sheet. From the photographs above, you will see that I am hopeless at this part of the equation. No worries, really, if they look like turds, because once they are rolled in cocoa, they will be just fine. If you are really worried, just claim that they are meant to be rustic! Chill for two hours.
-Remove the truffles from the fridge and then roll them gently in cocoa powder using a fork, shaking them to remove any excess powder.

-Store in the fridge in an airtight container. Most truffle recipes call for you to bring them up to room temperature before serving. Not these - since they are ice cream-inspired truffles, I think they taste better straight from the fridge.

Tasting Notes:
Fred doesn't like these truffles, I do. I tried a version with some of the mint leaf pulp in the ganache too. Believe me, there is a reason Thomas Keller abuses his chinois so much. The smoother truffle, without the greens, was far superior. It had all the taste of real, fresh mint without the annoyance of little fibrous bitsies on the tongue. No pulp is definitely the way to go!



PS On second try, Fred likes the truffles. I tested them out on the luckiest of my work colleagues and they all declared them to be a hit!


Links, Resources and Further Reading

Bay Area Resources:
Chocolate and Cocoa Powder | via Scharffenburger
Chocolate-Mint | from Heirloom Organics
Cream and Butter | from Straus Dairy
The Ferry Building | Market Place
Saturday Morning | Farmers Market


Archive Alert! On this day in 2005: Chowhound's Guide, I don't think I have looked in it since!


And on this day in 2004: The Case of the Margaux


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Chocolate-Mint Truffle

20 Comments:

  • At 22/5/06 03:19, Blogger Gourmet said…

    Superb!!!
    :-)

     
  • At 22/5/06 03:35, Blogger Amanda & Debbie said…

    We had never heard of chocolate mint either. Do you think it gives a better flavour than using peppermint oil to make truffles? Beautiful pictures.

     
  • At 22/5/06 06:02, Anonymous khala said…

    je veux bien gouter ! j'adore le mélange chocolat / menthe

     
  • At 22/5/06 06:49, Blogger wheresmymind said…

    That looks way too evil! I ran into this girl in my cooking class who said she's addicted to chocolate and won't eat any sweets anymore (she's been off the sugar for a month)

     
  • At 22/5/06 07:30, Anonymous Bruno said…

    Hi Sam,

    I bet those truffles taste as great as they look! Have you ever tried chocolate and tarragon? It's a great combination too.

    So what was the other mystery item you found at the farmer's market...
    Chive blossom buds?

    Bruno

     
  • At 22/5/06 07:35, Blogger sam said…

    The chocolate mint truffles look wonderful! I have seen many recipes for chocolate mint truffles but have never made them. You've inspired me to give them a try. I love chocolate and mint together. My partner on the other hand also dislikes the combination.

     
  • At 22/5/06 08:54, Anonymous Bill Belew said…

    Your truffles look sensational. If you get a chance to whip up some mint ice cream, please share so the rest of us can slobber over it!

     
  • At 22/5/06 09:13, Anonymous mae said…

    So temptingly wicked! I love chocolate truffles... never tried with mint but i can imagine them tasting so devine.

     
  • At 22/5/06 09:27, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    OMG.
    I don't even own a piping bag.
    I salute you!

     
  • At 22/5/06 12:48, Anonymous mum said…

    now can you bring some to NY I need to taste them!!

     
  • At 22/5/06 15:44, Blogger Moose said…

    I've smelled chocolate mint and been tempted to just shove the whole lot in my mouth. I like your suggestion much better. I'm looking forward to giving this a try.

    By the way, thanks for linking me!

     
  • At 22/5/06 18:51, Anonymous cath said…

    And this is where I become wildly jealous because there's no way I'll ever find chocolate mint here in the deep south. Looks yummy, Sam.

     
  • At 22/5/06 19:45, Blogger mrs d said…

    How nifty! I'm planning some truffles for a party coming up, contemplating varieties, and I never thought about strained fresh herbs. Hmmm... time ot go scope out the local nursery for chocolate mint. If I can get it to grow fast enough... (What am I saying. It's mint. Of course it'll grow fast enough!)

     
  • At 22/5/06 21:41, Blogger David said…

    I don't know any French people that like mint and chocolate, so Fred's not alone. Try putting some peanut butter in the next batch...and see what he says!

     
  • At 23/5/06 09:51, Anonymous rebecca said…

    oh martha stewart sold that chocolate mint via her webstore a few years ago. i bought some. it was nice to smell, but didn't do well for me.

     
  • At 23/5/06 12:02, Blogger Pim said…

    Gorgeous photos.

     
  • At 23/5/06 14:41, Blogger Sam said…

    thank you gourmet - and I went to look at your site, it's really pretty.

    Amanda & Debbie - i think mint leaves are better than peppermint oil, yes, it just tastes fresher, but I am not sure you need to use chocolate mint in particular.

    Khala - merci bien.

    WheresMyMind - but most chocolate has some amount of sugar in it - how does she reconcile with that fact?

    Bruno - One of my favourite michael reuceutti chocolates has tarragon and candied rgapefruit in it - the other mystery item was leek scapes - the tops of the leeks. The leek-scape trffles didn't come out so well (only kidding)

    sam - i brought them to work today and everybody LOVED them so our other halves must just be anomalies.

    Bill - I wish I could but making ice cream is not really my thang.

    Mae - they are suprisingly yummy.

    Cookie - i think you could spoon them out and roll them between your palms instead - if you wouldnt mind getting a bit messy.

    Mum - no promises but i will see what I can do.

    Moose - i tried that and it doesnt taste as chocolatey as it smells hence the need to transform them into truffles, eh?

    Cath I am pretty sure you could use any mint of your choice in this recipe.

    Mrs D - ditto - just use your favourite mint if you cant get the choccy one- the one you imagine will go best with the chocolate.

    David. Hmm - wouldnt it be easier just to give hime a Reeses cup?

    Rebecca - i have some mint growing at home which doesn't do well either. It can be prlific enough but the leaves are always small and woody.

    Pim - thank you so kindly.

     
  • At 23/5/06 21:26, Anonymous Sean said…

    Mmm. We grew some of this in our backyard about 10 years ago. It's kind of difficult to cultivate, actually. But it is good stuff. This was during our vodka infusion experimentation period; it made an interesting yet not as amazing as you'd expect infusion.

     
  • At 24/5/06 10:12, Blogger Plume said…

    I didn't know about chocolate mint but I offered my mother a geranium which smells like mint chocolate when you rub a leaf.
    The leafs are even green with a brown center!
    But I don't know if you could cook it...

     
  • At 16/7/06 11:36, Blogger Sandra said…

    I was searching for a recipe to use the chocolate mint leaves that I have grown this year! these sound wonderful!

     

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