Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pumpkin Truffles (★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆)

Last night I learned a life lesson. 

Sometimes things don't turn out as planned.  

And you just have to let go.

Okay, so I've already had to learn this lesson.  Hello!...I've been alive for 25 years.  That's at 10,000+ opportunities for plans to go awry. 

But last night, I learned the other part of that lesson.  

The part that is: Sometimes things don't turn out as planned, and that can be beautiful.

These truffles proved this - not only in the figurative sense, but in the literal sense as well.

As in, they were literally more beautiful.  I had dark plans.  I was going to Zombify these bad boys.  We're talking bone sprinkles, green coating, eyeballs, and red food gel.  I had witty banter prepared to make you laugh and cry while craftily tying in not only Halloween, but also "The Walking Dead."  It was a Hallowinary (Halloween + Culinary) masterpiece.  

But alas, I am not a candy maker.  I should have learned and accepted this by now.  But Zombie truffles called to me and I have a knack for wanting to show anything up that dares to tell me "I can't."  Psht, oh really.  Wham bam. Schooled.  Burned.  I'm awesome.  Enjoy.   
So needless to say, these delicate confections you see before you were not at all what I had in mind. 

Of course, since it's Halloween I could still talk to you about zombies and the wonder that is "The Walking Dead," but I'm going to save it.  

Because these zombies are fantastically adorable.  

And I WILL succeed someday in making them for you. And on that day we will discuss apocalypse's  and "walkers."

But for now I'm just going to vent....
I obviously have a very high opinion of myself.  

Tell me how else do I always end up in these situations?

"Oh my gosh, this blogger made the most ridiculously amazing zombie truffles.  They're creative, have blood oozing out, and yet still somehow remain adorable...and they're perfectly shaped.  "Pin," please, cause I'm totally doing this!"

Ya, let's recap:

-So creative that they're disgusting and adorable at the same time.

-Perfectly in she has mad skills.

Um, but I have magic culinary powers.  Sooooooo.... what's the problem again?

I was so confident in my abilities that I waited until the night before they needed to be somewhere to even attempt them. What's a trial run?  Don't need that!  I even got out all the decorations and put them in separate clear glass ramekins because, apparently, not only was this going to be like buttering toast, but I had also become Rachael Ray. 

Goopy, lumpy, messy.

That's what I came out with.

     ...after I realized that my truffles were in no way going to be firm enough to fashion in to spheres...
     ...and my dipping attempts turned into puddles of candy melts everywhere but on the truffles    
     ...when my mom decided to ask me if I needed help five minutes after she heard me "cussing up a 
        storm." (um, since when are guttural grumbles cussing?)  Convenient mom, very convenient...

I realized a new plan was in order.  A plan to embrace what these wanted to be.  

Which were simple "rustic" non-zombie truffles.  
They were screaming "sophisticate me, but in a non-perfect way."  
And I said, "You've got it.  That's the only way I know how."

Pumpkin Truffles
Adapted from Yummy Mummy Kitchen

2/3 Cup Gingersnap Cookies, ground into very fine crumbs
1/2 Cup Graham Crackers, ground into very fine crumbs
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree 
2 Tbsp Confectioner's Sugar
1/4 tsp of Cinnamon
1/4 tsp of Salt 
4 oz of Cream Cheese, softened from a block (don't use whipped)
2 cups of white chocolate, white coating, or white Candy Melts (coating is the easiest to work with but 
            the least my skill level I'd take ease over taste any day)

Makes approx. 24 truffles
2 hours chill time required

1) Set aside two large bowls.  In one, place about 4 graham cracker sheets and in the other about twenty 
    gingersnap cookies.  Crush into very fine pieces.  I used a meat tenderizer because the gingersnaps 
    were particularly hard.  The finer the pieces the smoother the filling of the truffles will be.  

 *Tip:  If you find it difficult to to get the crumbs fine enough and you don't want to dirty a huge food
   processor you can put the crumbs you've made into a coffee grinder.  It's quick, works well, and is an
   easy clean up.
 2) In a large bowl combine gingersnap crumbs, graham cracker crumbs, pumpkin puree, cream cheese,
     powdered sugar, cinnamon, and salt until well combined and smooth.
 3) Place mixture in the refrigerator and chill until firm - about 2 hours.
4) After pumpkin filling is thoroughly chilled, take large teaspoons full and roll into balls placing on a 
    baking sheet or plate lined with parchment paper or saran wrap.  Place in freezer until very firm 
    about 20 minutes. 
*Tip: Make sure to use a block of cream cheese, not the fluffy, softened kind in the plastic containers.   
  I used whipped cream cheese instead of the block.  I'm thinking this is why they didn't firm up enough 
  for me to roll...I kind of had to "plop."
 5) In a double boiler, melt white chocolate coating over medium heat.  Once melted, lower heat so the
    water below is just at a simmer.  
    You don't need a double boiler to do this, you can heat the bars in the microwave.  You'll just have
    to keep reheating periodically because this type of coating is designed to harden very quickly at room
*Tip:  Normally, I use Candy Melts (found at Michael's or Joanne's), but I found this coating at
  Safeway in the baking section and I was really happy with it.  It was much thinner than the Candy
  Melts or Real White Chocolate Chips, which means easier for dipping and better for eating.
*Tip:  Learn from my mistakes 1) Don't be afraid to melt all the coating you bought.  It's not wasteful.  
  The more you have for dipping the easier your job will be.  2) Make sure you have a deep enough 
  area to dip your truffles in.  I used a long skinny cup on top of my double boiler to help condense the 
  area.  It worked okay, but next time I would use a large ramekin.  Make sure it's wide enough to easily 
  dip, but also deep enough to cover the fillings completely in one dipping motion.
 *Tip: Buy these dipping tools!  They are life savers.  No sticking your fingers in the melted coating.
   No having to stab the spheres with a stick and leave a hole.  I got these for $3.50 at Michaels and
   with a 40% off coupon that's $1.40.  A kindergartener could afford these.  Don't be cheap!
6) So dipping the truffles is a lot of trial and error, but here's how it went for me.  
    -Make sure fillings are very chilled.  If they start warming up - stop - and rechill them.  
    -Place a ball on the dipping tool and in a swift motion dip, twirl, and pull up.  
    -Carefully tap the tool on the edge of the cup/bowl to remove excess coating.  Don't scrape the truffle   
     on the side or let any pieces fall in.  It makes the coating lumpy and it will never be the same.  A 
     little extra coating on one truffle is a lot better than having to remake the coating completely (like I 
     did - notice the change in cups).  
    -Place coated truffle on parchment paper.  
    -If need be, once the truffle has hardened (about 3 minutes - you can speed up the process by putting 
     them in the freezer) you can re-coat if the first layer was too thin or missed some spots.  
    -Sprinkle with left over cookie crumbs immediately before the outside layer begins to set.
7) After truffles have hardened you can remove any excess "feet" by carefully pressing a knife to the
    base of the truffles.  These should be fine at room temperature for a few hours, but if you are going to
    be saving some store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for longer.

 I think Rachael Ray would approve.  "Yummo!"

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  1. I love how dense these pumpkin truffles look! Perfect for the season! Thanks for linking up to Wake Up Wednesday. I'm sharing this recipe on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest today.

    1. Thanks! They may look dense, but they are actually pretty light - well, for a truffle anyway. Haha. That's why I liked them! I could eat more than one (or four)!

  2. Dear Nat, Just stopping by from Whipped Up Wednesday. These look so pretty and fabulous...a beautiful mistake indeed. I know my daughter would love would I! Pinning these. Stop by soon. Blessings, Catherine

    1. Thanks for the sweet words Catherine! A nice mistake indeed. Plus, they tasted amazing too!

  3. They look really tasty! An easy way to get more pumpkin pie filling in my belly.

    1. Yup, and it's dressed up a little differently so you and eat more! You know, because sometimes we need a little variety to push through. :)

  4. These look so good - and I would be tempted to eat the whole batch! Thanks for linking up to All My Bloggy Friends this week!

  5. You make it look so simple, thanks for the nice instructions!

    1. Haha, thanks Rhonda! I think some people are more gifted with dipping truffles. I, for one, am not one of those people! But I tried my best. :)

  6. Yummy! I'd love to have you share this on The HomeAcre Harvest Hop today!

    1. Thanks Lisa!! I'll be sure to pop on over. Great to have you stop by!