Now that my local farmers market is open for the summer, my teenaged son goes every week. He’s especially fond of an artisanal chocolatier who makes delectable chocolate truffles. The chocolates come in four varieties, and he buys one of each and savors them all week long. I was floored to find he’s been paying $2.50 for about an ounce of chocolate. That’s a $10 a week chocolate habit.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m totally in favor of artisans getting paid for their craft and I’m a huge supporter of locally sourced, grown or crafted items. But $10 is a lot of money and I’d like to see my son get a little more bang for his precious bucks.
So, I suggested we take the same $10 and buy the ingredients to occasionally make our own hand-crafted, artisanal chocolate truffles. Our budget allowed us to make a whole slew of small candies or one rather huge truffle bar. You see what he opted to make.
We bought good quality chocolate chips although store brand chips work great and save a few dollars, too. My son was thrilled not only with the size but the quality of texture and flavor. The bar is layered with firm chocolate top and bottom with a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate ganache layer in the middle.
We started with this very basic truffle recipe, then brainstormed endless variations. This impressive confection would make a great gift for any chocolate lover.
GIANT CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE
What you’ll need
3 12-ounce bags chocolate chips, any variety, divided
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup nuts, optional
Prepare an 8-inch spring form pan by wrapping the removable bottom with plastic wrap then placing it back in the pan. Spray pan with cooking spray.
In the microwave, melt one bag of chips with one tablespoon coconut oil in 30 second increments. Stir between each nuke blast until the chips are completely smooth. Pour this into the prepared pan. Place in the freezer.
Next, we make ganache. This is so easy you’ll make ganache all the time. Place a bag of chips into a mixing bowl. Heat the heavy cream in the microwave until it simmers, between 45 and 60 seconds. Pour the hot cream over the chips and let that sit for five minutes. Now stir the mixture until completely smooth. As you begin, there may be a moment when you shake your fist at the sky and yell “Curse you, Patti Diamond!” because it looks like the curdled separated mess will never come together. Just keep stirring. I promise it will come together into a luxurious silky, creamy ganache.
Pour the ganache over the first layer of chocolate and stick it back in the freezer. You get to lick the spoon because you made ganache.
Repeat the process of melting the chips with the coconut oil with the final bag of chips and pour this over the ganache layer and put it back in the freezer until firm. Once firm, remove from the freezer and place in the fridge until ready to serve.
To serve, cut it with a knife that’s been heated in hot water and dried before slicing.
The variations are limited only by your imagination. Use different kinds of chips. Add layers of cookies or graham crackers. Add nuts or dried fruits. Add layers of caramel, peanut butter or marshmallow cream.
I’m happy to report my son is now buying only one fancy truffle a week and is considering selling his own brand of artisanal chocolates. Instead of Godiva, now it’s Go Diva.
Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is a recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at firstname.lastname@example.org.