Ellen Clifford
Updated Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:44 pm
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I feel like I could end my post there and just give you the recipe and it would be OK, because I love chocolate so much. Why expend energy reading when you could be tasting?

But if you can hold your horses (ponies, cats, just…be patient) I’ll tell you really quickly about the book I got the recipe from. The title, Turtle Truffle Bark! says it all. And yes, the exclamation mark in the title is merited by the content. The author, Hallie A. Baker (good name) is as straight-forward in her directions as she is in her book titles. The book is separated into chapters for turtles, truffles, and bark. Each chapter serves to break down a different aspect of chocolate-making. Could I call it chocolatiering? I’m gonna.

Chocolate-making intimidates a lot of people, including me. It involves “tempering,” and taking temperatures. And caramel-making scares me. I fear scalded sugar. It could be worse, guys. Baker’s promise that all required of me was “a few tools, tasty chocolate, and a bit of patience” gave me hope as she says her recipes are “very doable.” Indubitably.

I decided to make truffles. Turtles sounded a bit too intimidating as they involved making caramel. Sure, she gave the option for using caramel you bought at the store, but if I am going to go far, I’m going to go all the way. And I wasn’t ready for sex. Just good chocolate. Next time I cook from this book maybe I’ll level up and try the caramel.

Tempered chocolate is the very first thing that this book will teach you to make. I did it. My fear is gone. I now know it is not that tough. Yes, it will involve a double boiler, or devising one of your own making. I just heated water in my largest pot and placed a heat-safe bowl over it. But once you get beyond that it is child’s play. If you have a thermometer to see when the chocolate is cooled enough to have reached temper, that is dandy. But this recipe is not so exacting at that point as to make you really mess up. It’s all gonna be fine.

The recipe I chose to share is for Dark Mayan Truffles. I love dark chocolate. I love spiciness in my sweets. What could go wrong? Nothing. I didn’t have any real problems. So let’s get over our fears and make some treats!

Dark Mayan Truffles adapted from Turtle Truffle Bark! by Hallie A. Baker

  • 1 1/2 pounds dark chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli bittersweet)
  • 2 oz. butter (I used unsalted)
  • 3/4 cup light cream
  • 1 tsp. ancho chili powder (I didn’t have this so used some pasilla chili powder and some chipotle chili powder)
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon (I used a bit more

For coating:

  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa plus some extra for coating the scoop and your hands
  • 1 Tbsp. of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. finely ground coffee beans (I used a pinch of instant espresso)
  • It wasn’t called for but I also made various mixes of powdered sugar and cocoa

First lets temper that chocolate! Put one pound of the chocolate in either the top of a double boiler or a heat safe bowl. If you have a double boiler, use it. If not bring water in a pot to a simmer and place a the bowl over it. Don’t let the water touch the bowl. Use a silicone spatula to stir the chocolate until entirely melted. Take the bowl off the heat. Be careful, it’s hot! You’ll want to dry the bottom of it too. Let cool one minute then add remaining 1/2 pound of chopped chocolate and stir until it is all melted. To reach temper the chocolate should be 89-90 degrees Fahrenheit, or a bit of chocolate spread on a piece of parchment should set up in a few minutes unless it is really humid. I found mine reached temper pretty quickly so was able to get started on the rest of the recipe immediately.

Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper. Heat the butter and light cream over low heat, stirring until the butter is totally melted into the cream. Take off the heat. Slowly pour the tempered chocolate into the cream and butter, whisking all the while. Once it is all totally incorporated, mix in the ancho chili powder, cayenne and cinnamon.

Pour into the pan and let cool completely. Now you have to loosely put parchment over it and let it rest overnight sitting out IF it is 70 degrees or under. Well, it was 90 degrees in LA so I just put it in my fridge. It was a bit stiff when I took it out to make the truffles but softened quickly.

Once at least 8 hours has passed, mix the cocoa, sugar and ground coffee in a small bowl. Have a small bowl of cocoa powder handy too. If you have a melon baller, now is its time to shine. If not, be like me and use a teaspoon. Coat the baller or teaspoon in cocoa powder. Scoop a round of the chocolate out then drop into the cocoa/sugar/coffee mixture and roll to coat. Place on a parchment-lined sheet. Repeat until it is all done. At one point it got a bit too soft and melty so I put it back in the fridge for a few minutes. Patience. These are tasty! Store in a covered container. If it is hot where you are you may want to keep them in the refrigerator.

(Image via iStock)