Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Penguin Truffles

Sitting in a waiting room last week, I was thumbing through a the food section, of course! I saw the most adorable Penguin Truffles that came packaged all neatly in a box of 9 for $32. O-O-K...maybe not this year, it's too much of a folly in this recession. I could make them, couldn't I? It couldn't be that hard. I mean, making truffles is just about as easy as anything gets. Mix hot heavy cream into top quality bittersweet chocolate and voilà, perfection. Dipping truffles into chocolate is also a no brainer, but these little cuties had form...and flippers! I had to give it a try. I made my truffle recipe, let it firm up and then shaped them into what looked like a Hershey's Kiss with a drooped-over top. Then I tucked a slivered almond into each side for the flippers, and dipped them into white chocolate. Now came the tricky part. Resting (balancing) on a fork, I spooned rich dark chocolate down the penguin's top, back and sides, with a little drip on the "beak". Only one took a dunk in the pool ;-)....and one fell in the "snow". Other than that they came out pretty well. My intention was to make the whole batch into penguins, but it was a little labor intensive, so I decided that I'd only make 10, and they'd be a single feature on my holiday gift plates. I made a variety of truffles with the rest of the ganache and was very happy with my sweet afternoon.
Chocolate Penguins

For the ganache:
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Break the chocolate into small pieces and process in a food processor until very fine. Heat the cream until just boiling and pour through the food processor feed tube in a steady stream, with the motor running. Process until smooth, just a few seconds. Transfer to a bowl to firm. This should take a few hours at room temperature. You may also put it in the refrigerator.

For the rolling and dipping:
2 tablespoons powdered sugar (for rolling)
12 ounces good quality white chocolate* (for dipping)
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate* (for dipping)

couverture chocolate or tempered chocolate. Click here for video on tempering chocolate.

For the flippers:
1/4 cup slivered almonds
(or about 60 unbroken)

Using a 1 1/2 inch melon baller, scoop out balls of ganache and place on a parchment lined tray. Place in refrigerator to firm, about 30 minutes. Once firm, dust hands with powdered sugar and roll ball between your hands to smooth. Then continue rolling while pulling and shaping the top to resemble a small head with a drooped, thin pointy end (the beak). To insert the slivered almonds for the flippers, take a knife and insert it about 1/2 inch deep at the placement and angle you want the flippers. Gently insert a slivered almond into the slit, rounded end facing out. You should have about 25-30 penguins. Return to tray and put in refrigerator to chill.

In the meantime, melt the white chocolate by breaking it into a medium bowl placed over a pot of hot water. The bowl must not touch the water and the water must not simmer, but just remain hot. Stir until melted and then take off of heat and cool until it is about 84 degrees or dab a small amount on your upper lip. It should feel slightly cool. Resting a penguin on a forks tines and holding over bowl of melted white chocolate, spoon the chocolate over the penguin to coat. Let excess drip off. Place on parchment to cool and harden. Continue coating all penguins.Break the bittersweet chocolate into a medium bowl and place over hot water to melt in the same manner as the white chocolate. Once cool to 84 degrees, pick up penguins in the back behind the flippers, so as not to touch the tummy, and place on the tines of a fork. Holding over the bowl of bittersweet chocolate, gently spoon the chocolate down the back top and sides of the penguin. Carefully spoon a little down over the beak to form a point. Keep the tummy white and don't touch it or you'll get fingerprints on it. Let excess chocolate drip off and place on clean parchment to harden.

Makes 25-30 Penguin Truffles. Lasts up to 2 weeks at cool room temperature.
Penguin Truffle recipe (pdf)

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