Almond praline chocolate truffles and apricot pistachio candy

Don’t they look like edible jewels

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

This month’s daring bakers challenge was a mind blowing showcase of creativity and talent. The mere idea of a challenge named candylicious was so tempting that I had to participate even though time was NOT  on my side.I really wanted to try tempering chocolate but I couldn’t find a thermometer anywhere..I have 2 more stores to check out that I didn’t have the time to this month but I sure will soon and I have every intention of tempering chocolate and writing about it.

I decided to make milk chocolate truffles rolled in almond praline and it turned out every bit as heavenly as I expected it to. The creamy rich chocolate, the crunchy almond, the amber caramel tasting praline…irresistable. The end result looked like jewels..I was tempted to name the post edible jewels.

I’m posting all the variables for you in case you’d like to make a dark or white chocolate one. I made the milk chocolate one and scaled it down to 100 grams of chocolate to minimize the damage that would result if I wound up eating them all lol

Truffles

Servings: Makes +- 30 truffles, recipe easily doubled or halved
For the best tasting truffles, a high quality chocolate is ideal, especially one that is 62% cacao or higher

Ingredients
1 ¾ cup (9 oz/250 gm) Dark/Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup (5 oz / 160 ml) Double/Heavy Cream (36% – 48% butterfat)
OR
1 ¾ cup (9 oz/250 gm) Milk Chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup (4 oz / 120 ml) Double/Heavy Cream (36% – 48% butterfat)
OR
1 ¾ cup (9 oz/250 gm) White Chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup (2 oz / 60 ml) Double/Heavy Cream (36% – 48% butterfat)

Flavor Ideas:

Add to taste (Approximately 1 teaspoon – 3 Tablespoons)
The amount of flavorings are dependent on either the recipe you use, the amount of chocolate and cream, and frankly, your own taste. Start by adding a teaspoon, try it, then add more to taste, up to as much as 3 tablespoons.

Various Spices (Chili Powder, Cardamom, Wasabi Paste or Powder, Ginger, Cinnamon etc.)
Instant Coffee Granules or Espresso
Matcha, Chai and Various Teas
Zests (Orange, Lemon, Lime etc.)
Herbs (Basil, Thyme, Mint, etc.)
Malted Milk Powders
Nut Pastes or Butters

Other Tips

• If you are using fresh or whole/solid flavorings such as fresh herbs, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods etc… simmer it in the cream then remove from heat and let steep for an hour. After steeping, strain away solids, return the cream to a simmer, and proceed with recipe.

Directions

Making the ganache

1. Finely chop or grate the chocolate
2. Place in a heatproof bowl
3. In a saucepan, heat cream until just about to boil (it will start bubbling around the edges of the pot)
4. Pour the cream over the chocolate
5. Gently stir the mixture until all the chocolate has melted and it is smooth
Tip: If you end up with pieces of chocolate that won’t melt, put the bowl over simmering water (but not touching the water) and stir gently until it’s all melted
Tip: Be careful if you do need to heat it over simmering water, if the mixture gets too hot it will split and you’ll end up with gooey chocolate swimming in oil, so don’t overheat the ganache, steam from a gentle simmer is all you need.
6. Stir in your desired flavorings

For rolled truffles

1. Allow the ganache to firm up in a container of choice, preferably deep rather than shallow
2. Using a teaspoon or melon baller, scoop up room temperature ganache
3. With gloved hands, roll the balls between your palms to round them off
4. Dip in tempered chocolate or roll in various ingredients like cocoa or chopped nuts as desired
Tip: If dipping in chocolate, it’s best to refrigerate the ganache balls before dipping so that they’re firm and don’t melt from the warm chocolate
Tip: For a thicker chocolate shell, dip once in tempered chocolate and allow to set. Then do a second dipping or smear a small amount of chocolate over the truffle and roll in desired ingredients
5. Place on parchment paper until set

Almond praline and praline stars

1 cup whole almonds

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons water

Squeeze of lemon

In a pan put the sugar, water and lemon juice, cook on medium low heat.

When the color turns amber add the almonds and stir to coat the almonds

Cook for 1-2 minutes more.

Pour praline on an oiled pan or metal tray or metal mold (I used my cookie cutters to make praline stars)

Allow to cool completely

To make the praline coating for the truffles grind one part of the praline finely and the other coarse

For my other candy creation I decided to make an apricot pistachio candy, there is a very famous candy store here called Ghrawi that sells all kinds of AMAZING candy and chocolate creations. My all time favorite is an apricot pistachio candy they make that is to die for, it was the inspiration for my candy creation. I searched for a base recipe to use and came across this one on what’s cooking america and decided to adapt it by using pistachio instead of walnuts and rosewater instead of lemon juice. I have to say that the out come was really good and close to Ghrawi’s amazing creation

Apricot pistachio candy

6 ounces dried apricot

cold water

5 tablespoons reserved water from cooking the apricot

2 cups granulated sugar

3 envelops unflavored gelatine

1 cup cold water

1 cup coarsely chopped pistachio

1 tablespoon rosewater

Butter an 8-inch square pan.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add dried apricots and enough cold water to cover apricots by 1 inch. Bring to a boil; boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Turn heat to low and simmer another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apricots are soft. Remove from heat.

Drain off liquid, reserving 5 tablespoons apricot liquid; set aside. In a food processor, puree apricots with reserved apricot liquid until smooth. Return apricot mixture back to saucepan over low, add sugar and heat and stir just until sugar is melted. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, combine gelatin and cold water; add to apricot/sugar mixture, stirring constantly until dissolved. Add rose water and pistachio; stir until well blended.

Pour into prepared pan; cool at least 2 hours but preferably overnight. With an oiled knife, cut into 1-inch squares, then roll in powdered sugar.

Store, covered, in the refrigerator.

Makes 64 candy squares. (I made 1/3 the recipe)

 Thank you so much Lisa and Mandy for the wonderful challenge..it was really a wonderful experience

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