Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine's with Pacari Chocolate...Featuring Triple Berry Surprise Truffles

Let's face it: much like two people who are deeply in love, chocolate and Valentine's Day are perfectly made for each other! You can certainly buy your sweetie a big heart-shaped box of chocolates to celebrate. However, today I'm sharing an easy, decadent truffle recipe that you can make for your special Valentine in just over an hour -- and most of that is time spent chilling the chocolate ganache mixture in the fridge! My Triple Berry Surprise Truffles are made with two kinds of Pacari chocolate, and they're flavored with a fruity homemade strawberry-raspberry liqueuer coulis. The surprise? Chewy, sweetly tart dried blueberries are folded into the chocolate mixture as it chills!
Photo provided by Pacari
Pacari is single-origin 100% Ecuadoran chocolate that is both biodynamic and organic. Simply put: it's chocolate that you can feel good about cooking or baking with -- and eating! The first thing you notice when you taste Pacari chocolate is its deep, rich chocolate undertones. For my truffles, used two varieties of Pacari bars: Andean Blueberry and regional Esmeraldas 60%. The Andean Blueberry Bar is made with a unique berry that is found only in the Ecuadoran Andes. This fruit provides this bar with a high dose of antioxidants, and it also contains 60% cacao. Both bars provided the perfect base for my decadent chocolate truffles. I added a few other select ingredients to make my Triple Berry Surprise Truffles. This easy recipe will make anyone feel like an accomplished chocolatier!

Triple Berry Surprise Truffles
a Weekend Gourmet Original
Ingredients (makes 1 dozen small truffles):
  • 1 bar Pacari Andean Blueberry chocolate
  • 1 bar Pacari Esmeraldas 60% chocolate
  • 1/2 cup organic milk chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbs. butter
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped strawberries
  • 1 tbs. raspberry liqueur
  • 1 tsp. Tahitian vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • Powered sugar and/or cocoa powder for coating the rolled truffles
Step 1: Break the chocolate bars into small squares and add to a small bowl. Add the milk chocolate chips, cream, and butter. Microwave for 1 minute, give a stir, then microwave 30 seconds more. Whisk to completely incorporate the cream and butter into the chocolate. 
Step 2: Add the chopped strawberries to a small bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar. Add the raspberry liqueur and vanilla extract. Use a fork to mash the ingredients together until it's a smooth puree. 
Step 3: Add the strawberry puree to the chocolate mixture and stir well to combine. Refrigerate the mixture for 45 minutes. Add the dried blueberries and fold into the chocolate truffle mixture until evenly incorporated. Use a small cookie scoop to make even-sized truffles. Roll the chocolate mixture into balls. Place on a parchment-lined plate and freeze for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Roll the chilled truffles in powdered sugar or cocoa powder. Place in mini cupcake or candy liners and package in a Valentine's gift box. To ensure the best texture and flavor -- and ensure that they stay fresh -- keep the truffles chilled until you're ready to eat them.
These truffles are sinfully good! They feature rich chocolate flavor with a distinct -- but not overpowering -- berry flavor. The sweetly tart dried blueberry provide a nice textural surprise, and they pair very nicely with the blueberry-infused Pacari chocolate and raspberry liqueur-strawberry puree.  Why not whip up a batch of these decadent homemade chocolate truffles for your favorite Valentine tomorrow? They're sure to be a huge hit! Pacari's delicious organic chocolate bars can be purchased online. They're also available at select U.S. retailers -- including Whole Foods and Central Market.

Disclosure: Pacari provided me with a sampling of their chocolate bars to facilitate recipe development. All opinions expressed in this article are solely my own.

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