Toasted Almond Truffles
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter (bring to room temperature)
8 ounces dark chocolate, melted and tempered (see notes)
1 cup almonds, toasted and minced
Start by making the ganache. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Put chocolate in a medium bowl and pour the cream over it. Let melt for 1 minute. With a spatula, stir in tight circles from the center outward. Let the mixture cool to 108 degrees (I used a basic meat thermometer, not a candy thermometer for this), then stir in the butter until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour (or up to 3 hours). While the ganache cools in the refrigerator, place the almonds (I used sliced almonds) on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer. Toast the almonds in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 7 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Chop the almonds, set aside. See note below for melting chocolate for coating. I used a glass bowl on top of a medium large saucepan of boiling water (instead of a double boiler) to melt the chocolate here. It takes about 20-30 minutes to melt the chocolate and to have it reach the correct temperature (80-90 degrees) to be used as a coating. Once the ganache has chilled for 1 hour, roll ganache by hand into large, grape-size spheres (I used a small melon baller for this). Dip the ganache in the tempered chocolate. Let set for a few seconds, then roll the rounds in the chopped almonds. Cool until the coating has set. (Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days). (Makes 24 truffles)
Note: You can choose to temper the chocolate coating or not. To temper chocolate, roughly chop the chocolate. Melt three-fourths of the chocolate in the top of a double boiler to 115 to 118 degrees, stirring constantly. Remove the bowl of melted chocolate from the heat. Add the remaining chocolate, a few pieces at a time, stirring constantly, until the temperature of the chocolate reduces to 83 degrees. If pieces of chocolate remain, use an immersion blender to smooth them out. Put the bowl of chocolate back onto the double boiler, and bring the temperature of the chocolate to between 88 to 90 degrees, stirring constantly. Use as coating immediately. If you choose not to temper the chocolate, simply melt it over a double boiler until just melted, then dip truffles in. The chocolate won't have the same snap or sheen to it, and will take longer to dry. Being the lazy girl I am, I did not temper the chocolate, but the end result was good.