I love Valentine's Day. And I love making treats for Valentine's Day.
When I think of Valentine's, my mind immediately turns to Chocolate Truffles. I adore truffles.
For a few years, I've been trying to get up the courage to start working with chocolate. This year I decided to take the plunge and make my own truffles...The only thing was that I wanted to turn them into Red Velvet Truffles--something different, something red. (VERY red.)
What I came up with wasn't exactly a truffle, but more of a bonbon. I ended up adding some cream cheese to the melted chocolate and heavy cream. I wanted to make sure the cream cheese flavor was in there somewhere, after all it is an integral part of Red Velvet Cake, right?
Also, because I'm a novice with dipping chocolate and the word "temper" sends me into a bad temper myself, I went with easy and bought this:
Inside are 7 oz. of white chocolate disks. (I had to add another ounce of white chocolate so there was enough to dip half of the bonbons. Buy two if you want them all dipped in white chocolate.)
You just follow the directions on the package and dip away. Also, it's a lot cheaper when you buy it like this than in the little cubes. (And I should also mention that I have used the white chocolate disks in cookies and they work great!)
After I dipped half of the bonbons in the white chocolate, I got a little braver and decided to do a few in bittersweet chocolate. So, I tempered some bittersweet chocolate. (See this post from David Lebovitz for great info about tempering and a quick how-to.)
You want to see what it looks like inside? It's glorious. And red. Just like I hoped.
Red Velvet Bonbons
Original recipe by Lindsey Johnson
For the centers:
8 oz. milk chocolate
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
4 oz. heavy cream
4 oz. cold cream cheese, cut into 16 pieces
1/2-1 tsp. red gel food coloring (I used Wilton)
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
8 oz. tempered white chocolate (at about 80 degrees F.)
8 oz. tempered bittersweet chocolate (at about 88 degrees F.)
Chop chocolate and place in a large, heat-proof bowl. Add the cream. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth. (You can take the bowl off the heat when there are still some larger chunks--they will melt.)
Remove bowl from heat. Add the cream cheese chunks. Switch to a whisk. Whisk until smooth. Add the food coloring and vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature. Press waxed paper to the surface and chill overnight or at least 5 hours.
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Use a small ice cream/cookie scoop and drop evenly sized blobs of the ganache onto the waxed paper. (You should get about 18.) Place baking sheet in freezer for two hours to harden.
Once the chocolate blobs are firm, remove them from the freezer. Dust your hands with cornstarch and roll into smooth balls. Put the balls back on the baking sheet and chill again for a few hours.
Take one ball of ganache at a time, and drop them into the tempered chocolate. Carefully turn the ball around in the chocolate so it is uniformly covered with chocolate. Use a regular fork, or chocolate dipping fork to remove the ball from the melted chocolate. Drag the bottom of the fork over the edge of the bowl to remove the excess melted chocolate.
Place the bonbon on the waxed paper. Repeat with remaining balls. Drizzle leftover chocolate over the tops of the dipped bonbons. Let harden in the fridge until ready to eat.
Store in the fridge in an airtight container, or layer bonbons on waxed paper in a freezer-proof container. Let some to room temperature before serving.
p.s. I made these last week so I could see how long they keep. If you keep them in the freezer, they will keep a bit better. Don't let them sit out at room temperature for too long (like for hours and hours) or the red centers may start to leak through the outer chocolate coating.
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