By Tali Simon | March 18, 2013
This is #2 in a series of recipes that I’ll be testing and sharing from Paula Shoyer’s cookbook on pareve baking, The Kosher Baker. I was provided with a review copy of the book, but my opinions are my own. You can learn more about Paula’s work at In Paula’s Kitchen.
Previously from The Kosher Baker: Chocolate candy hamentaschen
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Pesach makes me feel like a newlywed. But here, I’m defining newlywed as a kitchen novice.
The first couple months that we were married were also my first few months of real cooking. I’ve always been a foodie, but not necessarily a cook. So in the beginning, I followed the recipes in my two-book cookbook collection to the letter, not daring to make adaptations because I didn’t yet have a feel for how to do that. Whenever I had a question, I consulted trusty Mr. YouTube.
Five months in, I was feeling much more confident. But then Pesach came, and it was back to square one.
I turned to my cookbooks, but there wasn’t enough time to learn through trial and error. So there was a lot of error.
Our first Pesach, my brownies were barely edible and my blondies were unappealingly lumpy. Our second Pesach, the mousse cake I attempted was actually disgusting, the pareve kishka was flavorless, and the Pesadik rolls, so lovingly sprinkled with fresh herbs, emerged from the oven dense and ugly.
It was like I had only been married for two weeks! That’s exactly it, though. I’ve been married for two Pesach weeks, now gearing up for a third.
And that’s why I’m convinced that the best Pesach recipes are the ones that are naturally Pesach-friendly. You know, the ones that don’t compensate for a lack of chametz with too many eggs, too much sugar, and too much potato starch.
In other words, recipes like chocolate amaretto truffles!
These bite-sized beauties have a short ingredient list and simple directions. You don’t need any fancy equipment, so they won’t make you homesick for your KitchenAid or food processor if you don’t have those things in your Pesach kitchen. And they do just great stored in the freezer, so you can get a few batches in there as soon as your kitchen’s ready, and just pull them out as needed.
These truffles are small — only the size of a teaspoon — but they are mighty. The combination of melted chocolate and cream, first mixed and spread thin, then chilled and rolled in crushed toasted almonds, results in an elegant, rich treat with a wonderful texture contrast.
I coated a couple in cocoa powder, as Paula says to do in her classic chocolate truffles recipe, and those were also great. But I definitely liked the crunch of the almonds best. (The original amaretto truffles recipe calls for coating them in ground almonds, but crushing them instead gives you better texture and appearance. Go for the crunch.)
One gripe, though: I wish they would have held their shape a little more. To me, the prettiest truffles are the ones that are really round and plump, firm enough so there’s no drooping. Because these are so soft, they lose their height pretty quickly. This recipe doesn’t have an accompanying photo in the book; I would have liked to see whether they held their shape better when Paula and her recipe testers made them.
Truffle recipes tend to call for refrigerating the chocolate/cream mixture for 3-4 hours before rolling it into balls. Paula’s recipe says to freeze it for 25 minutes (plus an additional 10 minutes between rolling and coating). Next time, I’ll try the fridge method.
Height issues aside, though, this recipe gets a big thumbs-up. It’s the kind of thing I can see myself making for a friend’s simcha, or serving alongside nuts and fruit for a simple Shabbos dessert. Actually, we’re having some this Shabbos. My menu plan says so.
Recipe at a glance:
- Accessible ingredients? Yes. If you don’t have/can’t easily get amaretto, I bet almond extract would do the job (try ½-1 teaspoon).
- Multiple steps required? Yes: melt, mix, spread, chill, roll, and coat. But none of it is hard, and hey, at least there’s no baking.
- Left with lots of dirty dishes? The double boiler, a baking sheet, and a few utensils. Not bad.
- Taste worth the effort? Yes!
- Make again? Yes, but I’m going to try a longer period of refrigeration instead of the shorter period of freezing to see if I can get firmer truffles.
One year ago: Carrot dill matzah balls
Tweaked from The Kosher Baker
Yield: 30 truffles
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 10 ounces (280 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
- ½ cup liquid whip topping (such as Rich’s)
- 3 Tbsp ground almonds
- 2 tsp amaretto
Updated April 7, 2013: As I wrote when I first posted this recipe, the truffles didn’t hold their shape as well as I would have liked, and I planned to try refrigerating the chocolate/cream mixture instead of freezing it as the original recipe directed. It worked! I’ve adjusted the directions below (and removed one step in the process that I found unnecessary).
1. To toast the almonds: Heat a dry 10″ nonstick skillet for 1 minute over medium heat. Add almonds and reduce heat to low; stir almost constantly for 3-5 minutes, or until fragrant and starting to brown. Transfer the almonds to a plate or bowl to cool. When they’re safe to touch, crush them with your hands. (You can also crush them inside a Ziploc bag, but let them cool first so they don’t melt the plastic.)
2. Roughly chop the chocolate and melt it in a double boiler. Set aside the bowl of melted chocolate and empty the pot of simmering water from the double boiler. Add whip topping to the pot and heat it until very hot, but not boiling. Whisk cream into melted chocolate until smooth; you’ll see the texture change as you do. Add ground almonds and amaretto and whisk again. Cover the mixture and place it in the refrigerator for 3½-4 hours.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop up heaping teaspoons of the chocolate mixture and roll into balls. Paula suggests wearing gloves for this step, but I found that washing my hands after every 10 or so truffles was just as good.
4. Roll the truffles in the crushed almonds to coat fully. (You can also roll them in a few tablespoons of cocoa powder, sprinkles, grated coconut, etc.) Store truffles in the freezer between layers of parchment paper and serve in mini muffin liners.*
*Tip: Storing them in mini muffin liners works well, too. The liners create an even base for the squares of parchment paper between layers, helping avoid smooshing during storage.