Make chocolate truffles for your sweet

Chocolate can be pricey. But take heart, one so-called "mini" university is offering a truffle tutorial of gourmet chocolates at less than $10 a box.

Eno-versity is housed at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Nigel, where experts in cheese, chocolate and wine teach patrons all sorts of interesting things about these foods.

February being love month, they brought in chocolatier Tracey Downey of Xan Confections, to give guys a lesson on making a good ganache.

"A ganache is actually just the perfect emulsion between fat and water," said Downey.

In this case the mixture is corn syrup, heavy cream, butter, fruit puree and a combination of milk and dark chocolate -- ingredients that when heated and mixed together, make a mouthful of magic.

So what type of chocolate should you buy?

"You don't want to go with the cheapest, you don't want to go with the most expensive," said Downey. "Go with what you know."

With the exception of having to sit overnight in the fridge to solidify, the remainder of the candy making process is less than a half hour.

"You're going to make tiny little circles and you're going to watch it pull together," said Downey.

And for those who are impatient...

"If you want to you can always pour this over ice cream," said Downey. "Not letting it sit overnight."

After a night in the fridge, roll a small amount of the mixture into a small ball, coat with cocoa powder and put in a snappy container.

Depending on how big you want them, the recipe yields 40 or 50 pieces for less than $8.

"I've got a couple of girls at home and they would love it," said Mark North. "They would just love the hand-made thing."

Sign up for the truffle making class with Tracey Downey

If you want to try your luck at home, here is the recipe:

Raspberry Truffle recipe:

0.25 cup heavy cream
0.5 cup raspberry puree (thawed frozen raspberries - blended )
1 tbl inverted sugar (honey or corn syrup)
8 ounces Dark Chocolate
4 ounces Milk Chocolate
0.25 cup butter

Cost of these ingredients for 40-50 pieces = $7.74

Combine cream, puree, butter and corn syrup. Microwave in 1 minute increments until very hot, just below boiling. (approximately 3 minutes)

Pour hot cream mixture over chocolates and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes to soften the chocolate.

Using a small whisk or spatula stir by making quick SMALL circles in the middle of the ganache. Increasing the diameter of the circles as it begins to pull together. Mixture should now look like dark chocolate sauce. Put the bowl in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Then take a small scoop of the now crystallized mixture into the palm of your hands and roll into a little ball. Place the round ball into unsweetened cocoa powder to coat. Repeat.

Put candy in little waxed papers (purchase at craft store) and festive box!



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