Monday, November 18, 2013

Festive & Foolproof - White Chocolate Orange Truffles (+ Coconut)

Guittard White Chocolate Chips, Photo: NK
There are two kinds of people in this world - the ones that like white chocolate, and the ones that don't. 

To find out who was who, I took a little informal poll at my office. My colleagues are always willing to not only serve as my very own recipe focus group, but also, to sample my cooking and baking and provide useful feedback. They're really a great bunch. I should feed them more! 

Out of six respondents (my oh-so-official poll consisted of me yelling questions over our office cubicles), four people shouted back that they do indeed enjoy white chocolate. This was all the confirmation I needed to try my take on a recipe for white chocolate orange truffles that I'd been eyeing for a while. The result was something just delightful. Of course, the leftover truffles made their way to my office today. I am happy to say that they were a hit!

White Chocolate Orange Truffles With Coconut, Photo: NK

For those of you who, like me, love dessert but don't like baking all that much, candy-making is a great solution. Whether you choose to make chocolate bark or truffles, as we will do today, candies don't require any oven time at all. One of my favorite treats as a little girl was something my grandmother used to call Chocolate Balls. She'd basically mix melted semi-sweet chocolate with condensed milk, roll the mixture into balls, and then dip them various toppings like nuts or powdered sugar. They'd come out just like delicious little truffles and it was all I could do to stop from eating every last one. If I think about it hard enough, I can still taste them. This is one of many good memories from my Mima's kitchen.

I chose to adapt today's recipe because I've always loved the combination of white chocolate and fruit flavors, particularly orange. Did you know white chocolate isn't really chocolate at all? I also had some leftover Bob's Red Mill Unsweetened Coconut that I suspected might make a great addition to both the texture and the look of the truffles. I was hoping these little guys would turn out looking like snowballs and they did! 

In the end, I was very happy with these rich white chocolate truffles featuring a nice dose of bright orange flavor. They taste very much like an orange creamsicle. If you're looking for an easy homemade holiday gift, these sweet little bites could do the job nicely. Requiring only about 5 minutes active time and about an hour to chill, they take almost no effort. Keep them in the freezer and allow them to come to room temperature before serving. As a matter of fact, I think they taste great straight from the freezer too! 

Anyone with a bit of sweet-tooth will love them. As a bonus, they're very versatile; roll out three truffles in gradually larger sizes and create a truffle snowman! Alternately, grab yourself some mini popsicle sticks and turn these into a little handheld frozen candy pops for a kids party. If you aren't a white chocolate fan, this recipe *should* work with dark or milk chocolate chips as well. You could experiment by incorporating nuts or even dried fruits. The possibilities are endless!

White Chocolate Orange Truffles Rolled In Coconut 
Makes 14-18 Truffles
Adapted from Cooking Classy
Photo: NK

1/4 Cup Salted Butter
Zest of 1 large Navel Orange
3 Tablespoons Half & Half OR Heavy Cream

1 Cup good quality White Chocolate Chips
(we prefer Guittard)
1/2 teaspoon good quality Orange Extract
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flake
Equipment: a fine mesh sieve

1. Pour the white chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl. Set aside.

2. In a small saucepan over medium low heat, start melting the butter and add the orange zest to it. Once butter has melted, pour in the cream or half and half and whisk gently until incorporated. Turn up the heat to medium and scald the mixture. It should come to a bubble for 30 seconds or so. 

3. Pour the hot butter and cream mixture through a fine mesh sieve over the bowl of white chocolate chips. Using a spoon, press down on the orange zest that collects in the sieve to release more of the natural orange oils. Discard the zest. Let the white chocolate chip and cream mixture rest for a minute before adding the orange extract. Stir vigorously until the chips melt and the mixture is smooth. 

4. Cover the bowl and remove it to the fridge to chill for an hour or more until the mixture is firm and able to be handled. 

5. When ready to assemble truffles, pour coconut flakes into a plate. Scoop out a teaspoonfuls at a time of the chocolate and form it into balls using your hands/palms. Roll the truffles in coconut if you like. 

Store truffles in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for about a month. Bring to room temperature before serving (I even like them straight out of the freezer!). 

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