I don’t like Valentines Day. I don’t really like holidays for that matter. I like regular days. Sure, I manage to enjoy myself at a 4th of July picnic, and I like cooking Thanksgiving dinner and I even enjoy the time leading up to Christmas and New Years. But I would generally prefer it were just a Saturday. Any Saturday. Holidays can sometimes put too much pressure on us to “have fun” or to evaluate our lives. Do we have enough friends? Do we get along with our families? Do we have a valentine? Blah.
I have a valentine, a very sweet valentine. And as much as I dislike the holiday, I can’t resist a recipe for white chocolate truffles and so I made these for Bryan. I also know that some of you do like the holidays and take life a little easier than I do, so these are for you too. A relatively simple and elegant little treat for the people you love or for yourself. The recipe makes enough to share, so I am bringing some to my friends at work. They sure are pretty packed in little boxes. They would also be delicious eaten on any random Saturday, with a good friend and a cup of coffee.
White Chocolate and Grapefruit Truffles with Hazelnuts (adapted from The Sweet Life by Kate Zuckerman)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts (from 2 ounces whole blanched nuts)
- 1 tablespoon grapefruit zest (from 1 grapefruit)
- 8 ounces white chocolate
- 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) butter, at room temperature
- 4 ounces white chocolate
- 3/4 cup ground hazelnuts (from 3 ounces whole blanched nuts)
In a small saucepan, combine the cream and zest and cook over medium heat to almost boiling. Remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Pass the cream through a fine mesh strainer and discard the zest.
In the bowl of a bain-marie, melt the 8 ozs of white chocolate, stirring with a rubber spatula as it melts. Do not overheat the chocolate—it should never be so hot that you cannot stick the tip of your finger in it.
Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and slowly whisk in the infused cream. (At first the chocolate might seize up and separate, do not worry.) Continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth, creamy, and holds the lines of a whisk. Slowly whisk in the butter until incorporated and then add the hazelnuts. Scrape the ganache into a small bowl and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Fill a glass with very hot tap water. Dip a small melon baller into the hot water and tap on the counter to remove any excess water. Plunge the melon baller into the chilled ganache. Rotate the melon baller clockwise 360 degrees and remove from the ganache. Tap the melon baller to release the ball onto a plate or tray. Repeat this process until all the ganache has been scooped into balls. Transfer plate to refrigerator to chill.
In the bowl of a bain-marie, melt the 4 ozs of white chocolate, stirring with a rubber spatula as it melts. Remove from the heat and cool for 15 minutes.
Set up an assembly line on your counter. From left to right, place the chilled ganache balls, the bowl of melted chocolate, a tray with the ground hazelnuts, and a container to hold your finished truffles.
With your left hand, pick up a ganache ball and dip it quickly into the melted chocolate and roll them around until coated. Drop the balls with your left hand into the ground nuts. With your right hand roll the balls until completely coated. Pick up the finished truffle with your right hand and place them into the container.
The truffles will keep, in a sealed container and refrigerated, for 2 weeks.
*** The recipe says this will make around 50 truffles. They must have a really tiny melon baller (mine was 1-inch) because I got about 28 truffles out of this recipe.
*** Bain-marie: is basically a double boiler. Set a bowl over a pan of simmering water to gently melt the chocolate.