Truffle Squares

Chef Fran Costigan’s Truffle Squares start with a base of Thick Cashew Cream to which decadent dark chocolate is added. The melted, smooth ganache is then transported to the refrigerator for a few hours and then off to the freezer. Once formed, the Truffles are cut and sprinkled with cocoa powder or dipped in melted chocolate – a stunning final layer for a rich, melt-in-your-mouth indulgence.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Basic Thick Cashew Cream
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate (72% to 75%)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For coating: melted chocolate or Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • PREP TIME 25*
  • COOK TIME 5
  • Serves 36 squares

Directions

  1. Pour the Basic Thick Cashew Cream in a small saucepan and set aside.
  2. Chop or break the chocolate into pieces, then process in a food processor until powdered. Add the chocolate to the cashew cream and cook over very low heat, stirring slowly and constantly with a silicone spatula until the chocolate is about two-thirds melted, about 1 minute.
  3. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and continue to stir gently until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is smooth. Stir the vanilla into the ganache.
  4. Line an 8×8-inch pan with parchment paper large enough to hang over the sides. Spoon the ganache into the pan and smooth the top. (You want to make a block of ganache that is 1/2 to 1 inch.) Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours until firm and then transfer to the freezer. Freeze for 4 hours or overnight until quite firm.
  5. Make the truffles: When the ganache is firm, remove from the freezer. Lift the block onto a cutting board with the help of the parchment paper. Square the edges with a sharp knife and cut the block into squares. Work with half or even a quarter of the block at a time, keeping the rest refrigerated. (If the ganache gets too soft to cut, just refrigerate until chilled and firm.)
  6. Finish the truffles: Pour the cocoa powder into a fine mesh strainer and lightly sift the cocoa powder over the truffle squares. (If the squares are cold, the cocoa may not adhere. If that happens, allow them to soften slightly for a few minutes.) Sprinkle with chopped nuts or seeds of your choice if you like. You may also coat them in melted chocolate and cocoa powder (the hybrid method), or enrobe in tempered chocolate. Place the finished truffles in the refrigerator to set for 30 to 45 minutes.

*Although the prep time is low, this recipe requires 3 to 4 hours in the refrigerator to complete.

Copyright © 2013 by Fran Costigan, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Photography by Rita Maas