Chocolate Truffle "Gelt"
These Hanukkah chocolate morsels are as rich as any to be found in Europe, then or now. Although these filled truffles cannot be flattened like a coin, they can be individually wrapped in malleable gold foil to evoke the image of metallic coins. Each truffle contains less than 1/8th teaspoon alcohol, which helps to "cook" the yolks in this mixture. One tablespoon of orange juice can be substituted, but it will slightly alter the taste and consistency.
- Place the chocolate in a 1-quart bowl; then place the bowl in a 1-quart saucepan filled halfway with hot but not boiling water. Over low heat, melt the chocolate and stir to remove any lumps.
- Remove the bowl of chocolate from the hot water bath.
- Cut the butter into 4 pieces and gradually whisk it in, one piece at a time, until all the butter has been incorporated.
- Whisk in the yolks until they're thoroughly combined. (Don't be concerned about the mixture looking grainy and separated or about using raw yolks; the yolks will essentially be "cooked" by the alcohol in the liqueur.) Then whisk in the cognac or other flavoring.
- Cover and refrigerate for an hour, or until the mixture is firm but not rock hard.
- Working quickly so that your hands do not melt the truffles, place a heaping teaspoon of chocolate in your hand. Press a dried cherry (or other fruit) into the center of the chocolate, and then shape the chocolate into a rough ball, about an inch in diameter, which completely encases the fruit. Handle the chocolate as little as possible to prevent melting.
- Using your fingertips only, roll the truffle in cocoa. Place on a plastic wrap-lined plate, cover with additional wrap, and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes for dark chocolate and 15 minutes longer for milk or white chocolate). Your traditional truffles are now ready to eat!
- To create "coins," wrap the truffles in gold or aluminum foil.
- When cooking with chocolate, keep in mind that white chocolate is not really chocolate at all, since it is made with cocoa butter only, without any chocolate solids. Working with white "chocolate" can be more difficult, and result in a grainier texture—but it's still delicious! |
- Coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate markedly; that's why I recommend Kahlua or other coffee liqueurs for alcohol.