Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dark Chocolate Goat Cheese Truffles

Dark Chocolate Goat Cheese Truffles
Inspiration can come from just about anywhere. In the case of this recipe, it came from my brilliant Uncle Sean. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of having a meal prepared by Sean, let me explain. He is a culinary genius. He opened my eyes, heart, and taste buds to the magic that is arugula, now my favorite green. He paired arugula with portabella mushrooms, onions, and a balsamic reduction to make the best salad I have ever had. His pizza is out of this world. Simply put, the guy knows his way around a kitchen. So on Friday night, while we were texting about dinner at his house for Saturday night, he requested that I make dessert. 

Here is our conversation:

Did he just pair goat cheese with chocolate and a Thai chile? Yeah, he did. So I was inspired. I started searching for desserts that used goat cheese and chocolate. Originally it felt like an unlikely combination, but then I started seeing cheesecakes and brownies. That was too much. We wanted small and intense. Then I found it: Chocolate and Black Pepper Goat Cheese Truffles. Bingo. These were originally made by Joy the Baker, but reprinted with permission on Serious Eats

I wasn't really feeling the black pepper, so I went for my own spicy variation. I remembered how much I loved the combination of cayenne and cinnamon in my Mexican Mocha Brownies. So I went for it. And it was a brilliant idea. The tang of the goat cheese, the slight sweetness of the dark chocolate, the heat from the cayenne. WOW. It was incredible. I made half the recipe without cayenne and cinnamon so that others could enjoy them. I was able to convince my 6 year old cousin Molly to taste the regular ones...she didn't enjoy the tang of the goat cheese. But Caitlin, the 8 year old, did enjoy it. It took her a moment to process the flavors, but she ended up enjoying it. Her taste buds are expanding!

So here they are. My Dark Chocolate Goat Cheese Truffles. The recipe below made 24 truffles. I only made 12 of them with the cayenne and cinnamon. Pay attention to the note below about the spices!!

Dark Chocolate Goat Cheese Truffles (Points+: 1 per truffle)
4 ounces dark chocolate, 70-72% cocoa, coarsely chopped
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
coarse sea salt

Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a pot simmering water to melt the chocolate. Once chocolate is melted, remove bowl from pot and set aside to cool slightly.
I used 2 different types of dark chocolate from Trader Joe's, hence the different colors.

Let it melt, let it melt, let it melt. :)

Ahhh I'm melting!! Hehe. :)

In a medium bowl, whisk together goat cheese, melted chocolate, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy and well incorporated.
Goat cheese and chocolate in the same bowl...my version of heaven.

So rich and delicious!!!!
A note about the spices: If you want them all spicy, double the spices above (use 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon). If you want none of them spicy, skip the spices and move on. If you want half of them spicy, divide the goat cheese and chocolate mixture and add the 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon to one half. A 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne makes them have some serious heat. if this worries you, add it gradually. You can't take it away once it goes in!!

Cover the mixture in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
On the left: spicy. On the right: not spicy.
Once firm, portion a heaping teaspoon of the goat cheese mixture into clean hands and roll into a ball. (I used my kitchen scale to help make all of the truffles the same size. All of mine weighed 9 grams each, which is a heaping teaspoon.)
I know this is not the most appetizing picture, but it's real life.

Now it's all pretty and a perfect 9 grams!

Roll the ball in cocoa powder and sprinkle with coarse set salt. To help distinguish between spicy and regular, I also sprinkled cinnamon on the spicy ones. Serve slightly chilled.

Let the good times roll!

Sprinkle, chill, and enjoy!

Makes 24 truffles. Truffles will last, in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Thank you so much to my Uncle Sean for being my baking muse this week!

<3 Buttercup

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