A Favorite Chocolate Flavor Shines Through

So many people love to indulge in rich chocolate every once in a while. It’s certainly possible to tempt that sweet tooth by visiting a neighborhood candy shop. But it’s just as easy to experiment in the kitchen with homemade confections.

This recipe for “Force Noire Ganache” from “Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor)” (Stewart, Tabori and Chang) by Michael Recchiuti & Fran Gage showcases the predominant taste of rich chocolate and not much more. It’s certain to melt in the mouth.

Force Noire Ganache
Makes about 50 dipped squares or round truffles

1⁄2 cup (4 ounces) heavy whipping cream
1⁄4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (41⁄2 ounces by weight) invert sugar (stir before measuring)
1 Tahitian vanilla bean, split horizontally
12 ounces 61 to 70 percent chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons (11⁄2 ounces) unsalted butter with 82 percent butterfat, very soft (75 F)
About 1⁄4 cup melted tempered 61 to 70 percent chocolate, if dipping squares
Tempered 61 to 70 percent chocolate for dipping squares, or unsweetened natural cocoa powder for rolling truffles

1. Stir the cream and invert sugar together in a medium saucepan. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the bean into the pan and then add the bean. Bring to a boil over medium heat, remove from the heat, and cover the top of the pan with plastic wrap. When the cream has cooled to room temperature, transfer it to a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with plastic wrap.

3. Put the chocolate in a medium stainless steel bowl and set the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate melts and registers 115 F on an instant-read thermometer. Lift the bowl from the pot.

4. When the chocolate is almost at 115 F, remove the cream from the refrigerator. Strain it through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan and heat it to 115 F, stirring occasionally.
Pour the chocolate and cream into a 1-quart clear vessel. Blend with an immersion blender using a stirring motion, making sure you reach the bottom of the vessel. The ganache will thicken, becoming slightly less shiny, and develop a pudding-like consistency. Add the butter and incorporate it with the immersion blender.

5. Pour the ganache into the lined pan. Spread it as evenly as possible with a small offset spatula. Allow the ganache to cool at room temperature until it has set, 2 to 4 hours. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to dip squares or roll truffles.

6. Lift the square of ganache from the pan, turn it over onto a work surface, and remove the plastic wrap. If you are dipping squares, apply a thin coat of melted untempered chocolate to one side of the ganache square with a small offset spatula. (If you are making truffles, don’t apply the chocolate coating.) Let the chocolate harden. Turn the ganache square over and trim the edges. Cut the ganache into 1-inch squares with a knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry before each cut and wiped clean after each cut.

7. If you are dipping squares, temper the chocolate and then dip the squares. Store the dipped chocolates in a cool, dry place, not in the refrigerator.

8. If you are making truffles, dust your palms with cocoa powder, roll the ganache squares into balls, and then coat with cocoa powder. Place the truffles in a bowl or plastic bag that contains enough cocoa powder to keep them from sticking together. Store in the refrigerator, but remove them 30 minutes before serving.

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