Dipping Truffles - Do you know the magic?
Posted: 16 October 2011 06:13 PM   [ Ignore ]
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So, I’m thinking of making some truffles for Christmas gifts this year, but I have not yet been able to figure out the best way to dip the little beasties.

Basically, I run into two problems:

1.  If I use toothpicks, you get this big hole where the toothpick was—and it’s right on the top.  If you try to heat and smooth it, it still looks funky. Yet you can’t take the toothpick out before it sets, because you can’t apply the necessary pressure to the candy to remove the toothpick.  I’ve used two forks, but it gets so much more chocolate dripping everywhere.

2.  Setting it on something, however you remove it, even if you feel like you’ve drained really well, makes this big pool platform around it.  If you set it on a grid (like a cooling rack) so it can drain, it “grabs” the grid.

Anyone have any magic?

Also, is the baking chocoalte (like the E. Guittard little baking disks) tempered?  I’m thinking not, because it’s soft and mattte.  So, when I want to seed the chocolate with tempered chocolate, I need to use something like a chocolate bar, correct?

Thanks!!!!!

—ak

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Posted: 16 October 2011 06:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I haven’t ever made truffles, but there’s this little ‘fork’ for dipping things [I think it is used in fondue. also].
How about spraying the rack with non-stick? or rolling the truffles in the chocolate with a regular fork, and then squishing the ends of the fork on a table with something heavy, and the truffle that sits atop the tines, suspended over the air.
Kind of like when you spin sugar, or make spiked hazlenuts or something.

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Posted: 16 October 2011 11:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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You use a special dipping fork. You don’t pierce the truffle with it. It just rests on top. You shake/tap to shake off excess chocolate. The. You slightly tip it on parchment paper while carefully slipping the fork out quickly.

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Posted: 16 October 2011 11:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I have a friend who is a professional chocolatier. She has demonstrated her technique for me several times and I have yet to get the hang of it. The secret is in the temperature of the chocolate. She melts the chocolate then folds it gently with a bench scraper on a granite/marble slab. When it reaches the correct consistency she simply picks up the truffle center in her hand gives it a short twirl through the chocolate and deposits it on a tray lined with parchment. Every one of her truffles comes out smooth, round, and has that lovely little swirl on top. I have come to the conclusion that this method requires practice. A very great deal of practice. Perhaps the fact that my fingers are three times the size of her delicate little digits is also a factor.

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Posted: 17 October 2011 12:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thank you, everyone!  I will have to do a bit of experimentation.

Gene, so your friend’s truffles aren’t dipped—they’re sort of twirled in a shallow pool of chocolate, is that correct?  How does she keep such a thin pool from setting before she gets to use it all?  I assume the ganache centers are cold, also—is that correct?

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Posted: 17 October 2011 01:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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That is essentially it. She keeps the chocolate puddle around 1/2” deep and she manages the temp of the puddle by adding small amounts of freshly melted chocolate. She can keep a puddle going for hours. The remainder gets returned for remelting. She does make it look sooo simple. smile

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Posted: 17 October 2011 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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What Gene was referring to is tempering chocolate.  Chocolate needs to be tempered.  There is a section on TCB regarding that.  The ideal way is the bench/tabling that Gene’s friend does.  But you do need a marble/granite surface for that.  But you can also do it by seeding which is the technique described in TCB.

The ideal temperature for the chocolate should be around 85F to 87F to keep it tempered.  If you have the chocolate in a metal bowl, you can wrap a heating pad with plastic and put it in another bigger bowl.  Then set your bowl with chocolate on top of the heating pad (so the heating pad is in between the bowl with chocolate and the bigger bow. Alternatively, if the chocolate is starting to thicken, you can use a blow dryer to heat up the chocolate slightly.  Just be careful you don’t heat it up too much that it gets too runny and it loses its temper.

And yes, the ganache should be cold to hold its shape.

Jess

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Posted: 17 October 2011 02:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Thanks again, you guys!!!  That is soooo helpful!

Am I correct in assuming you cannot use all ‘baking pieces’ that are matte in color—like E. Guittard?  That you must use “chocoalte bar” type chocoalte for the tempered part (for quick tempering)?

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Posted: 17 October 2011 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I am not familiar with quick tempering but you definitely do not need chocolate bars. Chocolates have varying amounts and types of cocoa butter. That makes tempering a bit of an art. Tempering really is just the process of melting the cocoa butter (but not too much) and letting it harden again. When it has been tempered the chocolate melts more readily the second time and has a smoother mouth feel which enhances the flavor. My friend likes Guittard. She feels it has a good flavor and the cocoa butter is easy to work. Tempered chocolate loses its temper over time. You might start to notice a difference after about a week at room temperature. Chocolate bars that are meant to be eaten out of the wrapper attempt to mimic temper by varying the fat balance or with additives. If you have some bulk Guittard try just barely melting some then dollop it onto some parchment and let it cool. When you eat the dollops you will know the difference.

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Posted: 17 October 2011 03:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I think good quality pistoles (little discs) are tempered and often have a higher percentage of cocoa butter than regular bar chocolate.  This might make them seem softer or harder than regular chocolate depending on temp.  I think the matte surface comes from discs hitting each other in a bag or canister.  The extra cocoa butter (couverture) is considered ideal for dipping because it forms a thinner shell.

If you don’t have a lot of experience with tempering chocolate, remember that seeding is easier with larger pieces of chocolate because once it gets down to the “ideal” temperature for using it, you need to take out any unmelted chocolate.  If there are any tiny pieces in there, it’s a pain.

Also, you have to keep the chocolate at its ideal temperature the entire time you’re working with it- it’s easy for chocolate to loose its temper if you start too early or near the end of the batch, as it cools.  That’s where the heating pad method comes in handy (like Jesse describes and like Rose describes in the Cake bible chocolate section). 

The room and counter also have to be the right temp- fairly cool, or the chocolate won’t set up properly.


Gene, does your friend have a Youtube video ? smile

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