Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cappuccino Jordan Almond Truffles thanks to Oh Nuts!

OK, couple of things before I get started.  This is my first Chocolate post since making a "Personal New Year's Resolution" to become an amateur Chocolatier.  While that post is nearly 6 weeks old, I have been hesitant to make a post.  I am in the middle of a learning curve, and my chocolates are MUCH better than they were, some are even very close to chocolatier level, I am still holding off on sharing the results.

Click the Photo to be taken to the order
Page featuring Jordan Almonds
However, just a few days ago I was contacted by the very nice folks at OH NUTS! asking if I would be interested in a freebie!  Duh!  They offered me a pound of their coated Jordan Almonds (my choice)!  They were also interested to see what I would do with them.  I decided to show off a truffle!

First, a bit about OH NUTS!.  They have an outstanding selection of nuts, candies and related gifts.  Their prices are very reasonable (a pound of coated almonds sells for just $6.99).  Of course, with any mail order company, shipping costs can be an issue.  BUT, head to THIS PAGE and sign up for their "email specials" newsletter.  At least once a month and always close to any holiday I get an offer for free shipping.

Some of you may recall a post of "Mini Chocolate Pecan Pies" that I made in December.  Those were also made with Oh NUTS! pecans.  I think their pecans and walnuts, in addition to being just a tad cheaper than my grocery store, are the best quality I have ever used.  Always HUGE, always arriving well packaged with just a minimum of breakage so that you can make those decorative dishes...

Even though I am lucky enough to be on their occasional "Freebie" list, In my opinion, it just does not get any better.  Shipping is fast (and free with their monthly newsletter), price is cheaper than local sources, quality is better than excellent and they are a friend to bloggers (something we should acknowledge, respect and be grateful for).

OK.. Now, on to the truffle...

First, let's talk about what I got.  I ordered a pound of Cappuccino Jordan Almonds.

Thanks to Wikipedia, here's more than you probably wanted to know about JORDAN ALMONDS...
Jordan almonds, also known as sugared almonds or confetti, are a type of confectionery consisting of almonds covered with a candy coating in various colors, originating from Italy and particularly typical of the town of Sulmona. The term "Jordan" in "Jordan Almond" (according to Webster's New International Dictionary) is a corrupted version of the French word "jardin," meaning "garden," "hence, a cultivated almond". Thus they do not come from Jordan; they are thought to come from Malaga, Spain.  Another source of information has it that at one time the term referred to a variety of almonds originally grown along the Jordan River characterized by long, thin, slender, rather smooth kernels in thick, heavy shells.

A classic form of dragĂ©e, they are often used as wedding favors because of the "bitter" almonds and the "sweet" sugar representing bittersweet married life.  The treats are often packaged in groups of five per guest, accompanied by a traditional poem:
Five sugared almonds for each guest to eat
To remind us that life is both bitter and sweet.
Five wishes for the new husband and wife --
Health, wealth, happiness, children, and a long life!

Jordan almonds commonly come in pastel, spring-themed colors such as lilac, pale yellow, light blue, light green, and white. The colors are traditionally associated with certain life events, such as white Jordan almonds for weddings, red Jordan almonds for graduations and yellow, pink or blue Jordan almonds for baby showers or baptisms.
My Cappuccino Almonds indeed came with a hard sugar candy shell.  The candy was flavored like the frothy foam that is on the top of a cup of cappuccino.  First thing I did was to break one in half and see what I was dealing with.  The almonds were HUGE!  the coating was too hard to leave "as is" for what i had in mind.

But, once I pulverized a few (hammer or food processor), I was very happy with the consistency.

The tiny pieces were just right.  Crunchy but not teeth shattering.  I knew that mixing these with chocolate would add a touch of crunch and that foamy taste associated with cappuccino.

But I also wanted to add a bit more of the espresso taste associated with cappuccino.  the almonds had just a tiny hint, but I wanted to up the ante.

From reading The Mystery Lover's Kitchen Blog, and specifically the writings of Cleo Coyles' contributions (Cleo is author of the most excellent "Coffee House Mystery" series), I know that adding a tsp of instant coffee to coffee punches up the cocoa bean taste and adds a hint of coffee flavor!

So now, finally, we are ready to make the truffles...

OK, truffles are a combination of heavy cream (no, do not try this with 2% or even whole milk, just not the same) and chocolate.  To further enhance the idea of a cuppuccino, I added a dash of cinnamon to the chocolate.  And finally I added the instant coffee (mixed with a tsp of HOT water).

As to technique tips...

  • DO NOT BOIL THE CREAM.  You want it warm, about 110 degrees, then off the stove.
  • Chop your chocolate into tiny bits before adding to the cream.
  • Add Chocolate slowly and whisk along the way.  You are creating an emulsification.  If you do not get the ganache totally emulsified the fats will separate and make an ugly chocolate.  You probably can not whisk enough.
  • The levels of cream to chocolate determines how hard the final truffle will be.  Use too much cream and the treat will be too soft.  Too little cream and the treat is too hard.  Have extra chocolate available if you determine you need more.
Alright, tough to tell from this photo, but I mixed my cream, my chocolate, added my coffee and cinnamon.  Next I mixed in about 1/3rd of the pulverized cappuccino Jordan Almonds.  This way I got a tiny bit of the crunch throughout.  I also got the flavors of the coating mixed with the chocolate.

Once you have the chocolate emulsified with the cream, added your mixings, you just need to let the chocolate cool.  I let mine sit for about 2 hours.  It reaches room temperature and becomes more of a soft solid than a hard liquid (no longer stir-able).

From there, take a teaspoon, form a ball and roll in the remaining pulverized Cappuccino Jordan Almonds!

Chocolate, hints of coffee, cinnamon and the candy foam of a sweetened cappuccino.  Soft chocolate center with a coating of crunchy nutty almonds (although the almond is actually a seed, but saying the crunchy seedy almond just does not sound right... But I digress).



1 cup OH NUTS! brand Cappuccino Almonds, pulverized into tiny pieces (hammer or in a food processor)
1 tsp HOT Water
1 tsp Instant Coffee
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/3rd cup Heavy Cream
6 ounces 80% Cocoa Chocolate, Chopped

  1. Mix the water and instant coffee
  2. Add the Cinnamon to the coffee
  3. Heat the Heavy Cream to @110 degrees, remove from heat
  4. Add the chocolate about 1/4 of the amount at a time.  Stir constantly and be sure the chocolate is completely melted before adding any more.
  5. Add about 1/3rd of the pulverized Cappuccino Almonds to the chocolate and continue stirring
  6. Allow the chocolate to cool to room temperature.  If done correctly, the chocolate is pliable like play dough.
  7. Form into 1/2 inch balls
  8. Roll in remaining pulverized Cappuccino Almonds
  9. Made about 30 Truffles!

Printable recipe...
For the time being...

Click the image to the left for a printable copy of this recipe. When the large image appears, right click the image and select "Copy Image". Then open a word document file, click paste and print. Prints on an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper.

Soon, it will become a PDF file that you simply have to click and print.