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Mint Oreo Truffles and Chemistry Lesson: Temper Chocolate

May 15, 2015

I wanted to make a friend of mine something chocolate for a get well soon.  I had this recipe saved in my “to make” pile and it looked to fit the bill perfectly.  We also had a bbq potluck the next day so this served use for that as well.

I’ve made truffles before and with that recipe I added butter or crisco to make the chocolate a bit more solid when cooling and it gives off more of a shine.  In reality this is a easy cheat to pretending you tempered your chocolate.  I did that again here, however, I learned when melting your chocolate for coating your truffles do so at a very gradual rate.  I heated it up too fast and the chocolate got very thick, almost frosting-like making it quite hard to coat the truffles.  Once the temperature came down a bit, the chocolate was a little easier to work with, but you can see they aren’t exactly the prettiest.  Also, don’t use chocolate chips for coating.  I did a bit more research on truffle coating after the fact and have some Chemistry Lesson tips at the end which doesn’t require the shortening or butter addition.

They were a big hit at the potluck and I’ll make them again.  I think they could have used a little addition of something crunchy in the middle.  You could use chopped nuts, small chocolate chips, or rice krispies which is what I think I’ll used next time.

Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time: 40 min
Cook Time: 5 min
Chill Time: 40 min
Total Time: 1 hour 25 min
Yield: 30-ish
Taste: Great!

Truffle cut

INGREDIENTS:

1 (15.25 oz) package Mint Creme Oreos
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
12 ounces high quality semi-sweet chocolate (use chocolate baking bars, don’t use chocolate chips. They aren’t meant for coating)
1 tbs of shortening or butter

Optional: rice krispies, nuts, or chocolate chips to add some crunch

PROCEDURE:

1) Process the Oreos (the entire cookies, filling and cookie) in a food processor or blender. Pulse until crumbs are formed.

2) Using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the Oreo crumbs with the cream cheese until combined. The mixture will be thick and sticky.  Add any of your optional ingredients (rice krispies, nuts, chocolate chips, ect.)

3) Using your hands, roll into 30-35 balls. Place balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Freeze the truffles for about 30 minutes. (Freezing the balls is the most important step of this recipe. If they are not cold and solid, the melted chocolate will not coat the balls properly.)

4) Coarsely chop the chocolate and melt in a medium bowl over a small simmering pan of water.   Working with 1 truffle at a time, coat in chocolate. NOTE: If you want professional looking truffles use the tempering process I describe below.

5) Drop the truffle in the middle of the melted chocolate. Swirl the chocolate all around it with a fork. Pick up the truffle with a fork – do not pierce it. Tap the fork on the edge of the bowl to allow the excess chocolate to drip off. Place on a lined baking sheet.

6) Refrigerate truffles for at least 10 minutes so the chocolate sets. Truffles must always be chilled and will stay fresh for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Freeze up to 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.

Truffle close up

CHEMISTRY LESSON: Tempering Chocolate

Using tempered chocolate gives truffles a more professional look with a shinny gloss, a nice clean snap when you bite into it, and is less likely to wilt at room temperature due to its higher melting point.  Untempered chocolate yields uneven coco butter crystallization.  As you can tell in my photos I did not go this route…

If you don’t want to temper your chocolate you can go the route I described above or use confectionery coatings, coating chocolate, summer coating, or chocolate bark coatings. They are usually made of vegetable fats that melt smoothly and set up quickly to a finish that is very similar to tempered chocolate. Their chocolate content will not be as high.  They can be cooled and reheated quickly, and as often as necessary.

Store-bought chocolate has already been tempered during manufacturing. When its melted it loses its temper.  To re-temper the chocolate you must heat, cool, and gently re-heat it again following the process below:

1) Heat two-thirds of your finely chopped chocolate in a medium bowl over a small sauce pan of hot water, until the temperature reaches 105-120°F.  Do not exceed 120°F for dark chocolate or 105°F for milk chocolate.  Remove from heat and wipe off any condensation from the bottom of the bowl.

2) Cool the melted chocolate to 86°F.  Do this by adding the remaining one-third of very finely chopped pieces of tempered chocolate to the melted chocolate and stir them around.  This process is called “seeding”.  Stop adding chocolate when the shavings are no longer melting and the temperature has dropped to 86°F or slightly lower.

3) Warm the chocolate very carefully to between 88° and 91°F for dark chocolate and 85° to 87°F for milk chocolate. To raise the temperature only a few degrees, you will “flash” the bowl over the pan of hot water for ten seconds, wipe the bottom of the bowl dry, check the temperature, and flash again as necessary.

4) To test if the chocolate is tempered, spread a bit on parchment paper and let cool for a few minutes. You’ve done it correctly if it sets quickly. If the chocolate has white streaks and is tacky to the touch you need to restart the process again by heating it to 120°F (or just continue, knowing that the truffles may not be tempered).

5) Maintain the chocolate between 88° and 91°F. In this range, the chocolate is in temper and ready for dipping. Outside of this range, it’s at risk of losing its temper. Don’t worry about the chocolate that hardens on the sides of the bowl during dipping. It’s more important to maintain the pool of tempered chocolate in the center.

4)  If you are going through the trouble of tempering your chocolate I’d recommend leaving them plain (not coating them with any optional coco, coconut, sprinkles, nuts, ect) to show their nice glossy, smooth shells.

Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction

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