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Dark Chocolate Aztec Truffle Bon Bons

no need for mistletoe this year with…

A FLAVORFUL PUNCH IN THE KISSER

smoky espresso chocolate, bright sunny orange zest, warm cinnamon and a kick of chipotle.

who doesn’t love a few homemade “bon bons” around the holidays ?

AZTEC TRUFFLES
idea from About.com by Elisabeth La Bau
makes about 33

8 oz. good dark chocolate
3/4 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 Tbsp chipotle in adobo…(see NOTE)
1/2 rounded tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp espresso powder
2 tsp karo syrup…optional
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
zest from 1 small orange…maybe a little less
NOTE about chipotle…use chipotle with adobo in the can.  push 3 chipotle peppers, dripping in adobo sauce, through a medium fine strainer.  you want to end up with almost 2 Tbsp.
in a small sauce pan…add heavy cream, strained chipotle, espresso powder, cinnamon and orange zest.  bring to almost boil.  stir, or whisk to combine while heating.
put chocolate in a medium glass bowl and add vanilla bean paste and Karo syrup.  Karo syrup is optional.  pour cream mixture through a strainer over the chocolate.  press the cream through strainer with a spatula.  let it sit for a minute or 2.  start to stir in the middle.  keep stirring until you see it is well combined and you have a nice shiny ganache.  TASTE TEST.  at this point i added a bit more zest and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  you be the judge.
put in the fridge for and hour or 2…come back and give it a stir.  let sit over night or at least a few more hours to REALLY SET.
when it is quite firm…make into 3/4 inch balls…do this with thin rubber gloves if possible.  the warmth of your hands really creates a mess.  refrigerate truffles for about 1 hour.
at this point you can roll a few in cocoa powder for a different look, but the crisp dark chocolate outer layer really lends to the whole chocolate experience and is worth the effort.

before dipping, take them out of the fridge while you are preparing to temper.  i have found dipping near room temperature truffles prevents the seepage that can happen and cause the need to repair and double dip.

please click HERE for some “tips and tricks” (post about Spicy Chocolate Bacon) on tempering and making your chocolate  a successful experience.

NOTE…you will have left over “tempered chocolate”.  be prepared with other goodies to dip, like pretzels, cookies, BACON or throw a bunch of stuff in and make bark.

EASY MICROWAVE TEMPERING…(dark chocolate)
adapted from Alton Brown’s Microwave Tempering Method found HERE.  he uses “pure cocoa butter”.  i find seeding with 1/4 of your chocolate quantity works well.

you’ll need 1 pound of “coverture” chocolate.  i use Guittard 61% dark chocolate discs in a 1 pound box.
put 12 oz. of the chocolate in a glass bowl.  set 4 oz aside.
microwave chocolate for 30 seconds.  STIR.  microwave again for 30 seconds…STIR.  one more time 30 seconds…STIR.  now microwave for 15 second intervals (should be 2-4 times) stirring between each run until it reaches 100 F.  STIR.  microwave for 10 second intervals (maybe 2-3 times) until it reaches 115 F for dark chocolate.
stir in the other 4 oz. of chocolate.  stir well with spatula, cleaning the sides of the bowl and incorporating the chocolate.  the fresh chocolate will soon melt and will bring the temperature down.  this process is called “seeding”.  i read that a lot of stirring helps bring back the sheen…so i stir well.  you are looking for 90 F degrees.  at this point your chocolate is dip-worthy.
at 90 F  place the chocolate bowl in another bowl lined with a dishtowel…this is to help keep your chocolate warm and snugly while working.  STIR chocolate periodically.  if it is getting too thick, take the temp.  give it a shot with the hot blow dryer and STIR to keep from getting hot spots.  do not reheat the chocolate too fast or too high.  it will lose it’s temper.
start dipping.  use a fork or dipping tool to lift out.  lightly tap on the edge of the bowl and let excess chocolate drip off and place on prepared parchment.  sprinkle with smoked salt while the chocolate is still wet.  do about 4-5 balls at a time so you can get your salt on before the chocolate sets.  stick in the fridge for about 10-20 minutes if necessary.  then let come to room temp before putting them in an air tight container.  do not close them up with condensation on them.
i do not know exactly how many days these will last at room temp.  probably at least a week.  they can be prolonged in the fridge, but they should come to room temp “no condensation” before packaging up for gifts.

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