This is what's left from the chocolates "we" made at the chocolate class I recently attended at The Chocolate Man. We made free form Red Wine Truffles dipped in dark chocolate, not my favorite but they were good and you could barely taste the wine. I liked the cocoa dusted "elephant-skin" Belgian Truffles better, they were made with semi-sweet chocolate and sour cream (!) and hand-dipped in milk chocolate then rolled in cocoa powder - smooth and creamy! The Coconut Truffles were excellent, even though the coconut flavor was extremely subtle, I prefer to be hit over the head with flavor. Those truffles were made with full-fat coconut milk, semi-sweet chocolate and cocoa butter then rolled into flaked coconut; they melted on the tongue...and only the bits of coconut were left. My favorite of the night was the Orange Caramel Truffle which we made in a shell mold. The Chocolate Man cooked the sugar on a high-induction stove until it was a dark amber color - almost a burnt sugar - after cooling he combined it with orange essential oil and cream to make the center for this truffle...think of the best caramel you've ever had with a hint of orange! Semi-sweet chocolate coated the mold and when it was set the caramel was piped in; after cooling, more chocolate was put on top of the mold to seal. Magic!
Here's what I learned about the induction stove...the one The Chocolate Man uses retails for about $800, but we were told Costco has some that sell in the $150 range and I found several on Amazon for under $100. This single burner heats up in seconds - like nano-seconds - so water boils in under a minute! Professional chefs like induction cooking because the heat is not only instantaneous but precise and the cook-top stays cool, only the pan itself heats up so there's no wasted heat.
For the Orange Caramel Truffle, The Chocolate Man made caramel in under 3 minutes. On a regular gas stove, making caramel is a lengthy process which involves a lot of stirring for 15 to 20 minutes. We all know time is money, but in this case, time was caramel!
I think I'm going to get one - it could change my life! Think of the time it will free up?!? It's compact/portable, sits on the counter and all you do is plug it in. You can read about the pros and cons of induction cooking by clicking here.
Above is a very short video of The Chocolate Man (Bill Fredericks) tempering milk chocolate...the sound is bad but that's not important, I just wanted you to see how it's done so you'll understand how FUN working with chocolate is! It's truly hands on! When the chocolate was tempered, which he checked with his insta-read thermometer gun, he hand-dipped the Belgian Truffles right on the counter, then rolled them in cocoa powder which created the "elephant skin" look.
The short video above will show you how to "clean" your pastry bag so everything is used...it was the aah-ha moment of the class! Some of you may not know this, but when filling your pastry bag, put it in a glass, and fold the top edges over the rim of the glass, then the bag will be held in place while you fill it...two tips in one post! My work here is done!
For you who love to hand-dip chocolates, here are a few more things The Chocolate Man told us:
You can cool ganache quickly by spreading it (thinly) onto a cookie sheet.
Adding glucose (or corn syrup or honey) to a truffle will provide a longer shelf life.
Truffles will last only as long as the expiration date on the cream that is used, unless the cream has been brought to a boil.
When squeezing ganache into a mold, always bury the tip, keeping it underneath the ganache that is being piped in; it will go faster, there won't be any mess and when the bag is lifted it won't drip.
You can reduce wine to flavor truffles but you never reduce liquors - they're ready to go.
The Bellagio in Las Vegas makes 50,000 desserts a night...yes, you read that right, because the average customer takes FIVE desserts! The Chocolate Man flies in head pastry/chocolate chefs from around the country for seminars - and this was one of the little tidbits he recently learned.
"Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get." ~ Forrest Gump