Truffles and biscotti
This is a happier, more gratifying Eid post.
This year, I decided to contribute to the overflow of sweet treats that is characteristic of Eid in Kuwait. To be honest, I just wanted to give my new mixer a whirl. I knew what I wanted to make. Something decadent and chocolatey, but very easy to serve and then a not-so-decadent but nutty biscuit or cookie. So of course I turned to Smitten Kitchen and started browsing.
I settled for SK’s version of Robert Linxe’s (La Maison du Chocolat) chocolate truffles and her almond biscotti (which I made about a year ago, and loved). I mainly picked these two recipes because the fridge was practically empty and I was too lazy to go shopping for ingredients. The biscotti, I recalled, was fairly straightforward and looked impressive. The truffles looked a little tricky but I thought, “how can something with three ingredients be tricky?” The answer is: BECAUSE IT CAN.
Ok so this recipe says you should boil the cream three times to make the ganache last longer and although I had my doubts about that, I boiled away. Then I made my first mistake. I added the hot cream to the chocolate, but the chocolate wasn’t chopped finely enough. I had little lumps of chocolate I couldn’t get rid of. I didn’t want to stir too vigorously and end up with bubbles, so of course I ended up with lumps. Humph.
I then let the ganache stand at room temperature for a little over two hours before I rolled it into little balls which I then froze for 15 minutes. I didn’t even attempt SK’s method of piping the ganache into little mounds using a pastry bag. Too much work!
Then I made the second mistake. I couldn’t boil 3 ounces of chocolate to dip the ganache in! I don’t know what was happening (I suspect it was the quality of the chocolate), but I scorched the chocolate and had to throw it out. I decided to use a double boiler and this time I managed to splash water into the chocolate. Frustrated, I gave up. I was just going to roll the truffles in toasted crushed almonds and hope they stick (which, thank goodness, they did!).
The biscotti was much easier to make, even though I was out of vanilla extract (I have no idea how that happened) and oranges. I made a couple of substitutions that seemed to work: a little lemon zest and cardamom. My biscotti didn’t turn a perfect golden brown like SK’s, probably because I was getting tired and didn’t leave them in the oven long enough. Other than the color, they tasted great. Nutty, crunchy and not too sweet.