I think part of the problem I have with recipes and cookbooks is that they don’t tell you everything. They don’t tell you the recipe is going to get messy or take a few tries before you get it right or that it’s not going to look like the picture if you don’t do this, even if there is a picture. Such was the case when I tried these Cinnamon Honey Truffles with Cocoa Dust from The Christmas Table by Diane Morgan.
I started this blog because I was trying to find out who I was. In these few years prattling along, I’ve at least discovered what I’m not. One of the things I’m definitely not is someone like Diane Morgan. I’m not a gourmet cook with fond childhood memories. I don’t know how to create spectacular dinner parties where the recipes for truffles are gifts for your chocolate-loving friends (who doesn’t fall into that category?).
It’s a relief actually to say that out loud. I think I aspired so long to be someone like Diane Morgan and tried so hard to emulate women like her, that when I finally attempted this truffle recipe, I realized that it was pointless to try to be someone that I wasn’t.
It reminded me of Sunday School. I went to Sunday School from 1st grade to senior in high school and with the same people. Then when it came time for confirmation, a new girl came to our classes. She was different – a mixture of goth and grunge. I was grunge for sure, well more like messy, sloppy but we immediately became friends. Then one day, a girl I had known since 1st grade or so came up to us in Sunday School and said something like, “You think you’re different but you’re not. You think you’re nonconforming but you’re just conforming to nonconformity.”
The new girl laughed. I realized that the girl who said those things was wrong. I found the clothes that she wore uncomfortable and her whole attitude and demeanor to be uncomfortable. And if conforming was uncomfortable, I didn’t want to do it. And now I realize I don’t want to be one of those lovely, dinner party bloggers because it’s uncomfortable.
So I’m going to stop trying. And I’m going to start by really trying to explain how to make these cinnamon honey truffles with cocoa dust.
Special Equipment – rubber spatula, fine meshed sieve, mini cupcake liners
1) 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2) 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chopped finely (chips are fine) (Diane says to use at least 64% dark chocolate but I’m not a fan of dark chocolate)
3) 2 whole cloves
4) 1/2 cinnamon stick (you can break a cinnamon stick in half with a little effort)
5) 1 tablespoon honey
6) pinch of kosher or sea salt
7) 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8) Unsweetened cocoa powder
Preparation and Cooking
1) In a small sauce pan, pour the cream then add the cloves, cinnamon stick, salt and honey. I recommend you add the honey last and then use the honey spoon to stir the mixture.
2) Turn the range on medium, making sure to blend the ingredients together (mostly the honey) and let it come to a boil.
3) Then turn the heat down and let simmer for 5 minutes.
4) While that’s happening, weigh the chocolate and put it in a heat proof bowl. I used a large glass Pyrex bowl.
5) Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, using a fine meshed sieve (i.e. so the mixture doesn’t have the cloves and pieces of cinnamon stick in it) and let it sit there for 2 minutes.
6) Melt the unsalted butter. If you just soften the butter like the book says, the mixture isn’t hot enough to melt the butter. Then you get little chunks of butter in your truffle, regardless of how many times you stir it.
7) Using preferably a rubber spatula, combine the chocolate with the flavored creme until the chocolate is melted all the way through, using a circular motion.
8) Add the melted butter. Mix well, using the same circular motion.
9) Cover the bowl with plastic and let it set (harden/thicken) at room temperature for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes if you don’t think it set (has thickened enough to scoop into balls), then put in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. I did this the 1st and 3rd time and I think it helps.
10) Then take a baking sheet and cover with parchment paper.
11) Using a small ice cream scoop, melon baller, or spoon, place balls of chocolate (about 1 inch) onto the parchment paper.
12) Now Diane directs you to roll the chocolate into irregular balls. This is a super messy business. You will definitely get chocolate all over the inside of your hands.
13) Put the baking tray in the refrigerator to let them harden for an hour.
14) Pour some unsweetened cocoa powder into a small bowl.
15) Roll the chocolate balls into the bowl of cocoa powder. You can also kind of shape them at this point too if you’re not satisfied with the shape of the truffles.
16) Place the truffles in mini-cupcake liners in a sealed container.
17) Refrigerate the truffles for at least an hour or overnight. They can keep for two weeks in the refrigerator.