champagne truffles

Man, what a year 2013 has been. I can’t recall a more roller coaster year in recent memory.

2013-12-22 15.54.00I hope y’all can look back on 2013 with at least a little fondness. It had its ups and downs for me, that’s for sure. New friends were gained, old friends were reconnected with, my family grew closer, and there were definitely tears shed and moments of sadness and despair but all’s well that ends well, I guess. If I look back at the past 10 years or so, even-numbered years always seem to treat me better. So, let’s hope that 2014 is a good one!

There’s no more appropriate drink to serve at your New Years Eve party than champagne, but I wanted to create a recipe as a send-off to 2013 that wasn’t necessarily a drink recipe. Champagne truffles are a great alternative, and they’re super fun! The tops of these truffles are dusted with a sprinkling of shimmery gold popping candy that mimics the bubbles in champagne! The filling is made from creamy white chocolate flavored with sparkling wine, and it gets coated in a crisp white chocolate shell. These will set off your NYE party in style for sure. Let’s make some!

champagne truffles

(yields 43 truffles)

6 oz cream cheese, soft (3/4 of a full block)

1 1/2 c (150 g) powdered sugar, sifted

1 1/2 c (216 g) good quality white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

2 T champagne or sparkling wine

1 1/2 # white candy melts (Merckens is a great brand)

1 T unflavored popping candy
(Modernist Pantry is a great source!)

1/8 tsp gold luster dust
(here’s basically what I used; a little goes
a long way!)

First thing’s first – melt the white chocolate! If you’re working from a large bar instead of using chips or small pieces, chop up the chocolate so it’s in small pieces, and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for 30 seconds and stir to incorporate, heating for additional 20-30 second intervals and stirring in between, until the chocolate is warm and fully melted. Set aside to cool a bit.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat your softened cream cheese for one minute on medium (KitchenAid speed 5). Add in the powdered sugar and beat on speed 1 for 30 seconds, scrape the bowl well and mix briefly to make sure all the sugar is mixed in. Pour in the slightly cooled melted white chocolate and turn the mixer up to speed 5 for 30 seconds to incorporate the chocolate. Scrape the bowl and paddle well, then mix on speed 1 for 30 seconds, and finally speed 2 for 45 seconds. Scrape well and add the champagne/sparkling wine. Mix on speed 2 for 45 seconds, scraping the bowl well to make sure everything is well blended. Scoop and smooth the truffle filling into a small baking dish and place in the freezer for a minimum of 1 1/2 hours, to set up fully.

When you’re ready to scoop the truffles, have a parchment-lined sheet pan ready, and using a 3/8 ounce (#100) disher (like this one), scoop level portions of the truffle filling and place them on the sheet pan so that they’re spaced slightly apart. When all the truffles are scooped, return them to the freezer while you melt your candy coating!

Place the white chocolate coating into a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for a total of 1 1/2 minutes, stirring the candy every 30 seconds. Heat one last time for 15 seconds, and stir to make sure it’s all fully melted, adding more time as necessary. Set it aside, and open up your pouch of popping candy! In a small ramekin, combine 1 tablespoon of the popping candy with 1/8 teaspoon of the gold luster dust. Stir well to combine the two and make sure that all the candy has a light gold sheen. Make sure to only mix these when you’re about ready to dip the truffles because they’ll absorb moisture in the air like nobody’s business, and then they won’t pop as well.

Grab your chilled truffles and another sheet pan that has been covered with parchment. This is where food service gloves come in super handy cause this is about to become a messy job! Using one hand, carefully pull the truffles off of the parchment (they’ll be super sticky) and form them into more of a ball shape with your fingertips before placing them in the bowl of candy melts. Roll the truffle around and make sure it’s fully coated in the candy melts, and carefully pick up the truffle and set it on the clean parchment-lined pan. With your clean hand, sprinkle the tops immediately with a bit of the gold popping candy. You have to work quickly because the candy coating will firm up very fast since the truffles are chilled. Continue dipping and sprinkling the truffles, placing them on the clean parchment. The un-dipped truffles soften quickly, so you may need to stop halfway and place the pan back into the freezer. The candy melts may also need to be re-melted and stirred because they’ll tend to harden a bit as you go. I ran into a slight problem where the coating on the dipped truffles started to shrink a bit as it hardened, resulting in little pinholes where the filling squeezed out. It’s not a major issue, just be aware of it if it happens.

Because the truffles are cold when they’re dipped in the candy melts, they should set up fully on the outside without needing to place them back in the freezer or fridge to harden. PLEASE don’t store them in the fridge because any moisture will ruin the popping effect of the candy sprinkles!

These truffles are best made the same day as you plan to serve them, as over time the popping candy loses its effectiveness. The filling can be made a few days in advance, and even portioned into balls in preparation for dipping, if you’d like to prepare them ahead of time. Once made, these truffles should be kept at room temperature, uncovered, or loosely covered if desired. Pile them up on a big decorative plate and let your guests have at ’em with a glass of champagne in hand! The flavor of these truffles is light and sweet, with the perfect hint of champagne in the filling. Say hello to 2014 with a few of these truffles, and start the year off on the right foot.

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