SHF #11: The Celestial Coffee Edition
Blame it on the softball stage.
No, not the one that has to do with sugar, but the one that involves guys taking days off of work to whack at balls and slide at bags in the dirt. That softball stage.
Not that I have a problem with softball, generally speaking, it’s just that when Chopper and I plan our day off to include dueling Sugar High Friday projects (Me: truffles. Him: Irish coffee Pot de crÃ¨me), we don’t particularly like it when that plan is ruined because a co-worker has managed to get every ligament in his ankle torn to shreds playing softball. Is it too evil of me to mention our co-worker’s team lost? I didn’t think so.
So, here I am, flying solo. Granted, Chopper came home for a brief respite between lunch and dinner shifts and spun me some sugar, but the rest of it is mine, all mine, baby.
And, as usual, I got a little carried away.
In honor of tonight’s Perseid Meteor Shower and the comet at its source, Mrs D presents:
The Swift-Tuttle Dark Chocolate Espresso Berry Comet Truffle
The gist of it:
One 3 1/2 ounce dark chocolate bar. It is crucial that this not just be any dark chocolate bar, but one that is made up only of cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar, and if absolutely necessary a bit of soy lecithin and vanilla extract. It should be at least 70% cocoa if not higher. That namby pamby Hershey’s crap just will not do. Fortunately for me, I’m a dark chocolate fiend and I’d already scoped out my scrumptious Eat Local alternative: Terra Nostra’s Organic 73% Intense Dark Chocolate Bar, made just a short jaunt to the Northeast in beautiful Vancouver BC.
Can I just say, at the risk of getting all gloopy and lovesick, that this chocolate bar rocks my world. If I was only allowed one thing to carry forward from the Eat Local Challenge if would be this chocolate bar.
One quarter cup heavy cream. Ideally, this cream should be fresh, local, and organic. Ideally. Sometimes though, the only cream remotely organic isn’t remotely local, and isn’t remotely affordable. Oh well.
A smidgen of unsalted butter. Don’t ask me how much a smidgen is. I think I tossed in about a teaspoon. I think it was because I panicked while lost in the middle of recipe invention and had images of unmoldable chocolate globules. Or something.
Toss these things into a double-boiler. Break the chocolate bar into chunks first. Try very hard not to eat any. When it’s all melty, add:
Two teaspoons of Lopez Island Farm Marionberry Syrup. I am so making waffles so I can use the rest of this stuff. Then I’m hopping the ferry and raiding the farm for more.
One tablespoon of finely ground fresh roasted espresso beans from the San Juan Coffee Roasting Company. How freshly roasted? How about within hours of my purchase. Oh, and the company’s store down on Cannery Landing has some lovely chocolates of their own as well. I was sorely tempted.
One teaspoon of San Juan Cellars Late Harvest Riesling. I know, I know, what’s the point of wine in a truffle? It’s not like anyone can taste it. Well, it’s like this: I came out of the Roasting Company and it was ferry loading time. Translation: No chance in hell of crossing the street for at least ten minutes. So, it was either wait outside or wander into the San Juan Cellars retail store and have a 10 a.m. wine tasting. Like I’m going to pass that up. I left with a bottle of the Late Harvest Riesling and the plan to add a spoonful of it to my truffle recipe just so I could mention the fact that in Friday Harbor one can get a 10 a.m. wine tasting ten feet from the ferry dock.
Mix everything together and try not to panic about whether it’ll harden well enough (or too well). Put a lid on it and pop it in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight if you prefer.
When the mixture has sufficiently hardened, it’s time to get messy. Very messy. I’m all about making truffles the old-fashioned messy way. Or maybe it’s that no one’s ever taught me how to properly make truffles. Either way, I set up next to the sink because I know I’m going to have to wash my hands at least twice for every single truffle I make.
First I set out my supplies.
The pan of chocolate.
A Turkish coffee cup from the same set we kidnapped for our eggy IMBB #16
A jar of Dutch unsweetened chocolate powder that’s been in my pantry for ages so I’ve no idea where it’s from. Pour about a teaspoon full of it into the Turkish coffee cup.
A bowl of freshly picked blackberries. The original plan was to drive to a farm this morning and buy Marionberries to go with the syrup, but then softball happened. So instead, I took Platelicker for a walk and picked blackberries along the way. Himalayan Blackberries are ubiquitous and quite tasty this time of year, but oh those vines are invasive pests! If we could just discipline them to behave themselves around the locals we’d plant blackberries in our own yard instead of rip them out each spring.
A plate to set truffles on.
Now, the messy part. Pull out a dose of chocolate, about the size of an aggie shooter and work it into the shape of a bowl. Right away it’s going to start getting horribly sticky and you’re going to want lick your fingers, but hold off just for a moment. Ignore the fact that some of the buttery stuff has separated and made light flecks in the mixture. It’ll still taste good.
Take a blackberry and place it into your chocolate bowl, then take more chocolate and work it around the top to form the lid, enclosing the berry and forming a sphere.
Drop the sticky ball into the Turkish coffee cup. Wash your hands. Or lick your fingers. Your choice.
Pour another half-teaspoon of Dutch chocolate over the sticky ball, then lift up the cup and swirl it, like you’re swirling cream into your coffee. (But don’t ever put cream in Turkish coffee because that would be wrong.) The chocolate powder will cover the truffle in a nice even coat and then all you need do is lift the puppy out and set it on a plate. You may not even need to wash your hands a second time.
Repeat this till you’re out of chocolate. With this recipe I made three truffles with berries and six without.
Next, prepare the comet’s fiery tail. (Or rather, make sugar decorations for your truffle so it’ll be all pretty for the camera.) Find the smallest ladle in the house and coat the outside of it with vegetable oil. Heat sugar and water over the stove till it reaches caramel stage. Grab a spoon and quickly spin the sugar over the ladle so it creates a lovely, golden, Jackson Pollack mess. Wait till the sugar cools, then carefully remove it from the ladle.
Set the sugar bowl on a plate, place the truffle inside and decorate. I saved a blackberry for a topper, some broken sugar bowl for outer dÃ©cor, and more of the fabulous marionberry syrup for drizzle.
So, there it is, the Swift-Tuttle Dark Chocolate Espresso Berry Comet Truffle. All chocolaty, all yummy, and all mine. Chopper’s not even home from work yet, and come to think of it, he doesn’t even like coffee all that much and this comet’s got one hell of an espresso kick to it. Yes, it’s all mine.
Hmmm. Maybe softball’s not so bad after all.