Gary Tolle, baker/owner of A Baker's Wife's Pastry Shop in South Minneapolis, says chocolate truffles are a simple and surefire Valentine's Day homecooking option.
We're not entirely sure we believe him (anything involving ganache and special thermometers can be kind of intimidating), but we'll try to take your word for it, Gary!
Tolle breezily walks through the process:
You'll need chocolate of course. Get the highest quality you can afford, Tolle says, with ambrosia being on the low end of decent and cocoa berry on the high end. (Shh, you can also just use some regular old bittersweet chocolate.)
Also get some heavy cream, unsalted butter (salted for smokers) and some type of alcohol (Tolle says Grand Marnier and Kirsch are good, but there are plenty of options).
Next, make the ganache (here is a good guide), making sure to save some of the chocolate for rolling the concoction in later.
Refrigerate the ganache and meanwhile melt your remaining chocolate.
Ideally, you want the melted chocolate to be 76-86 degrees, Tolle says (hence the aforementioned thermometer). In the old days, Tolle says chefs would bring the mixture to their lips to test for the appropriate warmth.
Once the ganache has chilled, scoop it into little balls with a melon baller or mini ice cream scoop. Then roll the balls in the melted chocolate with your hands.
Serve at room temperature, with champagne or port.
There, easy! Don't buy it? Well, as a matter of fact Tolle will be making his own Valentine's Day chocolate truffles this week.
They'll be available at the shop this Friday and Saturday, along with other treats including heart-shaped chocolate mousse cake, chocolate fudge hearts (made with Irish cream) and special shortbread cookies.