To be honest, I don’t have much to say about these truffles other than that they are pretty much the best bits of chocolate I’ve ever had/made. They are slightly tinged with the flavor of rosemary and a fresh whole vanilla bean adds a very complex sweetness that doesn’t overpower. Rolling them in unsweetened coco powder gives them a very grown-up bitterness. I saw the recipe over at one of my favorite blogs, design sponge and I was actually pleasantly surprised to find that the recipe was easy to follow and produced accurate results. I find that recipes for candies and caramels can be impossibly difficult to follow and one mis-step can lead to disaster. I completely forgot to add the milk chocolate, but my ganache came out fine and why dilute perfectly amazing dark chocolate anyways. As you already know, I’m obsessed with Trader Joe’s and cannot stress enough how cheap and awesome most of their products are (especially dairy goods.) The only expensive part of this recipe is the whole vanilla bean. I got mine from a C-Town on Manhattan Ave for $6.99, but health food stores that sell them in bulk might be a better option. These make fantastic holiday gifts, but make sure to make extra.
Rosemary Vanilla Bean Truffles
*recipe adopted from Design Sponge: http://www.designsponge.com/2011/12/in-the-kitchen-with-johnny-battles-truffles.html
Makes about 40 truffles
12 oz. dark chocolate (I used the Pound Plus dark chocolate bar from TJ’s, 3/4s of the bar)
10 oz. heavy cream (I did some fancy math equations and came up with 3/4 cup)
3 oz. corn syrup (I used Light Karo brand syrup, about 6 tablespoons worth)
2 oz. unsalted butter, cubed (1/2 a stick)
1 vanilla bean
several small sprigs of fresh rosemary
rich cocoa powder (for dusting)
1. If not already in chips, chop the chocolate into tiny bits and combine it with the butter in a medium to large glass bowl; a steel bowl is also fine. Wash your rosemary and add with the seeded vanilla bean to the heavy cream and corn syrup, bringing to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.
2. After 15 minutes, bring the cream to a second boil and immediately pour through a strainer over the chocolate mixture, gently agitating until all the chocolate is in contact with the hot cream. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes. Next, whisk the mixture (ganache) vigorously until it’s smooth and well combined. If any lumps remain, you can put the ganache in the microwave for short 10-second intervals, stirring gently between, until the ganache is completely smooth. If you don’t have a microwave, have a small pot of simmering hot, steaming water ready to use as a double boiler. Careful not to overheat!
3. Once all is right in your ganache world and you’re left with a smooth, velvety chocolate mixture, pour the contents into a clean, non-porous container and cover with plastic wrap. Press the plastic directly onto the surface of the ganache. Place the container in the refrigerator until firm and set. This step could take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on your environment. (I left mine in for 2 hours)
4. Sift cocoa powder into a large square dish and ready your melon baller! The ones with releasing scoops are preferred, or if you’re looking for a nontraditional-looking truffle, you can just scoop them out with anything from a spoon to your fingers. (I used my fingers and got slightly misshapen but lovingly homemade looking truffles)
5. Scoop your ganache, roll it any way you see fit and drop it in the cocoa powder. Every dozen or so, give the pan a little shake and let the truffles roll around in the powder until completely covered and set aside. Repeat until all truffles are ready to go. At this point, you should have many, many lovely looking bites for you and your friends, and you can either serve them right on the spot or put them in a sealed container and keep them in the fridge for up to two months!