Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Almond Joy Truffles with Orchid Vanilla

Photo: Heidi Rand
For Valentine's Day, my friend George gave me two of these truffles pictured at the right. Only two you say? Well these are bigger and better than any truffle I've ever tasted. These truffles were not one, two or three bite truffles. They really look like truffles in the woods: kind of gnarly and big. And they have a bold unique flavor to match their size. Definitely not gnarly.

As I said these may be the best truffles I've ever tasted, and I've tasted a lot of truffles. I tried to identify the ingredients, but I was totally off-base. Thought coffee, thought alcohol... none of those. Well, I just had to have the recipe. Now that I'm sharing, George will have to kill me. :-) There is definitely a secret ingredient: vanilla from George's Vanilla Orchid. I don't happen to have a vanilla orchid in my home, but George assures me that any good vanilla will work in the recipe. I'm skeptical, but I'll try. I do have some fabulous homemade Bourbon Vanilla that my friend Laura K. Curtis sent to me for Christmas. I'll let you know. In the meantime, make these. Once you've tasted them, you'll think you're in heaven!

George McRae is a professional actor who finds great joy in the kitchen and cultivating his orchids, hens, and garden. He makes his own vanilla flavoring from the vanilla orchids that he grows, harvests, cures, and extracts. A chocoholic by nature, he makes a variety of truffles and other chocolate delights. George is also a beekeeper and bakes with honey (baklava!) from his backyard hives.

To learn more about Vanilla Orchids, check out Heidi Rand's post about George growing and cultivating the vanilla orchid he uses in these truffles: Heidi's website is: Garden Delights Arts & Crafts.

Georgie's Almond Joy Truffles

3/4 cup heavy cream
12 oz semisweet chocolate
4 oz bitter sweet chocolate
1 cup unsweetened butter
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup finely ground almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon anise extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate  (for coating)
cocoa powder for final dusting

Make the "ganache"
Heat the cream in a double boiler to simmer, add 1st 12 oz semi and 4 oz bittersweet chocolate to simmering cream.
When melted and incorporated, add butter.
When all incorporated, add coconut and freshly toasted ( golden color) ground almonds.
Add vanilla, and extracts.
When all mixed and distributed evenly pour into pyrex baking dish and cool in refrigerator. Mix should be about an inch deep. An 8 x 8 dish works pretty well with these amounts.
When cool and thickened but not solidly, scoop amounts which when rolled in your palms give you balls about half the size of a golf ball, 1.5 inches at most.
Put into freezer on a waxpaper lined cookie sheet while you melt remaining 12 oz chocolate in double boiler.
When all melted, remove from heat and take out ganache balls and dip and cover in melted chocolate. When all done roll in cocoa powder liberally and keep cool in fridge when not devouring........

Photos: Heidi Rand


yummychunklet said...

These look rather tasty. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Bobbi Mumm said...

Oh my gosh! These look fabulous. Thanks for this.