15 years ago, I was an internal auditor just hired by a media company. I had previously worked in indentured servitude public accounting, and spent a couple of years slaving away while my idiot boss took credit for my ideas working for a beverage company. Regrettably, the media company I worked for no longer exists (dinosaurs are extinct, and so are a lot of newspaper companies).
This was a Great Company. I got a paycheck on my very first day (they paid in advance). I also got on a plane the very first day, but I had a check in my hand and a big grin on my face. After just six short months, the audit schedule had me going to Switzerland. Three months after that, London. The following year I was supposed to go to Australia, but we sold that division and that was the end of my foreign travel at the company's expense.
After our month in London was done, a coworker and I took off on a European vacation. After Switzerland, I had set out for Paris alone so it was great to have a kindred spirit to explore with. We went to Belgium, Luxembourg and Paris, and it was all one big chocolate eating extravaganza as far as I was concerned.
In Brussels, I discovered Gianduja. Gianduja is a combination of chocolate and hazelnut, sort of like Nutella, but not as sweet and solid at room temperature. At Leonidas (an "affordable" Belgian chocolatier), the Gianduja was wrapped in gold foil. I brought it back as gifts (...one for you, two for me...). In the years since, I have pined away for Gianduja, occasionally finding it in a states-side Leonidas store (my friend almost wrecked the car when I shouted out "LEONIDAS!!!" as we were driving through Los Gatos a few years back.)
Last month, when I was placing my tide-me-over-the-summer chocolate order from chocosphere.com, I noticed they have Gianduja. So I ordered a 2 pound bar, figuring I'd find some recipes to use it in and wouldn't that be swell. Well, it would have been if M. and I didn't eat the whole bar over the next couple of weeks. So I ordered more, and then I made these.
Yes, Gianduja truffles. These totally top the Nutella truffles. I hope you make them. Soon.
Gianduja Truffles (adapted from The Chocolate Gourmand)
1 1/2 pounds Gianduja, chopped in large pieces
1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy cream
Heat the cream until it feels warm to the touch. Melt the chocolate and Gianduja in a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water). Remove the bowl from the double boiler, add the heated cream and stir until well combined. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm. Scoop out truffle sized pieces and, working quickly, form them into roundish shapes.
You can dust them with cocoa powder (not Dutched), but I like to roll them in tempered chocolate. An excellent resource for how to temper chocolate is here. A good rule of thumb is to work with a pound of chocolate or more, as it's harder to keep smaller quantities at the correct temperature. And if you don't plan to serve them to chocolate snobs, you can just melt the chocolate and not temper it at all. Make sure you let it cool before rolling the truffle centers in the chocolate. And if you don't temper, your truffles may show some "bloom," but they will taste every bit as good as those rolled in tempered chocolate. You can also carefully melt a few ounces of Gianduja in the microwave and drizzle it over the finished truffles for a nice effect.
I made these a while back for my kitchen party. When I was rounding up the leftover cakes, cookies and chocolates to take to work, M. put out a protective hand, claiming the Gianduja truffles.
Yup, that's my man.