It's been a crazy week, but here's part 2 of truffles. Sorry I didn't around to writing it sooner, but I haven't had much free time to write. Also, it's quite long, but I wanted to tell you all what I learned from my class!
So, once you've read Part 1 (below), you are ready to move onto Part 2. Coating the truffles.
You can coat the truffles using one of two types of chocolate. First, the easy type... coating chocolate. Coating chocolate isn't real chocolate (read part 1), so it's much more workable and still gives you a decent 'snap.' And unless you're super picky about your chocolate, it will do a good job. Coating chocolate you can buy at a local craft store, or you can get at a local bake shop. I've heard that Guittard's A'peels are very tasty.
To work with coating chocolate, simply use a double boiler or the microwave (watch this so the chocolate doesn't burn) and melt your chocolate. Using the methods described below, coat your truffles. That's it. There is no tempering required for coating chocolate. Yea, much easier.
But if you want that true chocolate truffle, then you'll have to use true chocolate, and you'll have to temper it. Tempering chocolate means melting it down above 115 degF and then slowly brining the chocolate back to 89 deg using seeding chocolate. This process of tempering allows the chocolate to get to a glossy and streak-free form. If done properly, it turns out very beautiful and glossy and has a great 'snap.'
First, melt your chocolate. My instructor suggests doing this in the oven. Yes, the oven. The place your chocolate (reserving some for seeding) into a heat proof bowl and stick it in the oven at about 300 deg. Every few minutes check on it and stir it around. Once you've hit 115 deg, and you're melted, pull it out... with hot mits. You don't want to burn your chocolate. If you are using white chocolate, only bring it up to 110 degF max.
At this point you need to temper your chocolate.
Without getting into too much chemistry, I'll explain it like this. When you melt chocolate, you remove the crystal structure in the cocoa butter. When the chocoalte returns to a solid, this structure in the cocoa butter reforms. The temperature and speed at which the chocolate cools to its melting point (89 deg), determines how the crystalline structure reforms. If the chocolate is allowed to cool on its own, the crystals of fat will be loose, resulting in a chocolate that is dull in appearance, soft & malleable, and greasy to the touch. However, if you bring the chocolate slowly down to 89 deg with a process known as seeding, the cocoa butter will form dense crystals and the chocolate will cool to a very stable hard chocolate with a slight sheen, and nice snap when broken.
The seeding process uses unmelted pieces of chocolate to bring the temperature of the melted chocolate down to 100 deg in the beginning of the tempering process. The crystal structure in the unmelted chocolate act like magnets, attracting the other loose crystals of fatty acids to begin the crystallization process that results in well-tempered chocolate.
Okay enough chemistry, here's how you do it. Take your melted chocolate and slowly start stirring starting in the middle. Add about 1/2 cup of unmelted chocolate pieces (at room temperature) to the center and press them down to the bottom of your bowl with a spatula. Make sure they fully melt in the center. Then work your spatula around to the outside of the bowl, slowing moving the chocolate out from the center, up the sides, and then scraping it down. Check your temperature. If you're still above 100 deg. repeat the process. This could, and will, take a while.
Once you've reached about 100 degF, your chocolate is no longer hot enough to melt new unmelted pieces. Keep stirring slowly, bringing the chocolate up the sides, and scraping it back down again, until you've reached 89 deg. If you happen to go below this, you can reheat the chocolate in the microwave, however, if it gets above 90 degF, you'll have to re-temper it and start all over again at step 1.
To maintain a nice shine and prevent streaks, make sure you continuously stir your chocolate, especially as you work.
Now the fun part, coating the truffles. Don't forget to take your truffles out of the fridge and let them set to room temperature about 5-10 minutes first. Otherwise you're chocolate shell will crack as the hot chocolate cools and the cold truffle warms up.
To coat the truffles you can find the best method that works for you. If you want a rough look to your truffles, then go with the easy, hand way. Use some plastic kitchen gloves and place a little bit of chocolate into your hand. Using your other hand, roll the truffle into the chocolate and place on a piece of parchment. You can also use a fork to fish your truffles out of your chocolate bath and place them onto parchment. Either way, you'll just have to see what works best for you.
As the chocolate is cooling, you'll notice that it looks nice, but is a little dull. That's because the chocolate is going to take on the sheen of its environment. Using a candy mold and making filled truffles will give the chocolate the "super shine" that you're looking for. Either way, you'll still get a nice snap and a smooth coating.
To make a candy filled truffle, you'll want to make a slightly more liquid ganache and you'll need a candy mold. Fill each candy in the mold to the top with the tempered chocolate. Now, let it sit for about 2-3 minutes. After this time, move your mold over your big bowl of chocolate, and turn it upside down. Using a spatula, tap the outside of the mold to allow the still melted chocolate to pour out. Continue tapping until nothing else runs out. Flip the mold back over, and ta da, you have a candy shell.
Fill your shell with desired ganache filling, leaving room for a "bottom" layer of chocolate. Finish off the mold with a chocolate coating to seal in the ganache. Pop in the fridge for a few minutes. When they are setup, bring the mold over the table, flip it over, and tap it gently on the table, so the little chocolate pieces fall out. Now, oooooooh and ahhhhhhhhh, over your beautiful chocolate pieces.
Feel free to experiment with your truffles. Try skipping the chocolate coating, and instead roll them in jimmy's or sprinkles, or cocoa powder, or coconut. If you're rolling them in one of these coatings remember these steps... coat, roll in your hands, coat, roll in your hands, coat again. This will ensure an even coating onto the truffle.
I hope you enjoy making these as much as I did. I know it's hard to explain some things over a blog without a video, but this should get you started or maybe just answer some of your questions about truffles.
Also, check out this site, for some great recipes: http://www.countrykitchensa.com/ckideas/miniideas.aspx?Occ1Id=49&ideaId=210
And lastly, if you're tempering something other than dark chocolate, the temperature of the melting point will be lower, and the tempered temperature will be lower as well.
Dark (no milk content) 88-90°F