Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lavender White Chocolate Almond Truffles



Last weekend Jeremy and I left behind the hustle and bustle of the city for a couple days of calm and sun out in the desert. Being an Oregonian at heart, I love my green northwest scenery; trees, rolling hills, tall grass, etc. But there's something about the emptiness of the desert that relaxes me. It's like nature wiped its slate clean, leaving behind only warmth and dust and mile upon endless mile of open space.





We stayed on the edge of the desert at a beautiful little rustic resort that makes its bread and butter as a lavender farm. The first day we went antiquing in nearby Beaumont and I found a neat little old outdoor side table, which I promptly bought and Jeremy kindly carried back to the car for me (thanks, Jeremy!) Then we checked into our room and Jeremy hopped (literally) into the pool for a very brief moment before we decided it was way too cold and ran back to the room to change.


Oh hey, I'm a pool! You should jump in me! Just kidding, I'm ice cold....screw you pool, screw you.
The rest of the weekend was spent wandering around the grounds, taking in the beautiful wildlife and farm animals, and attempting to hike. I say attempting because my allergies started going crazy along the trail and my nose was running so much that I could no longer breathe out of my nose. This wouldn't have been a problem, except the air within the ravine was doused with gnats to the point where I'd breathe them in through my mouth every time I took a breath. (Yes, this was as unpleasant as it sounds.) So that hiking bit only lasted about 20 minutes, and then back to the grounds it was!

He totally winked at me, you guys.



Seeing all the lavender everywhere made me crave it like crazy, so when I got back I decided to make these rich and easy little truffles. I used Ina Garten's white truffle recipe for the base, but added lavender and almonds instead of liqueur and hazelnuts. I also gave them a final coating in melted white chocolate to keep them nice and solid and to give the little lavender garnish something to hold on to.



They were perfect; rich, sweet, creamy and floral. And they looked so pretty with the little lavender buds sprinkled on top. If you want them to have a bit of a crunch to them, don't grind the almonds as finely, but if you love the idea of a smooth and creamy center, grind away, my friend.



Also, just a friendly reminder that the King Arthur Flour beginner's cake-making kit giveaway is still going on. if you haven't entered yet, hop on over to my previous post with the raspberry ombre cake and throw your hat in the ring!



Ingredients:

Lavender White Chocolate Almond Truffle Filling

1 and 1/2 Cups White Chocolate Chips
2 Tablespoons Cream
1/2 Cup Ground Almonds
1 Tablespoon Ground Lavender
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

White Chocolate Coating

1 Cup White Chocolate Chips
1 Tablespoon Cream
1 Tablespoon Milk
Pinch Lavender for Garnish


To make the truffle center, heat the cream in a double boiler over simmering water until hot. Add the white chocolate, ground lavender, ground almonds, and vanilla extract and stir until the white chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth, then immediately remove from the heat. Allow to cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours.


At this point, the mixture should have hardened enough to scoop into a ball. Use a tablespoon to scoop a heaping mound of truffle onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Continue to do this until all of the truffle mixture is on the baking sheet. Place the sheet in the freezer for 20 minutes to help it harden.

While the sheet is in the freezer, make the white chocolate coating. In the double boiler, heat the milk and cream above simmering water until hot. Stir in the white chocolate until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.


After 20 minutes have passed, remove the pan from the freezer, quickly roll each of the balls between your hands to smooth them out a bit and place them on a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then drizzle the melted white chocolate over the truffles until coated and sprinkle the top of each one with a pinch of lavender, pressing down on the lavender gently to help it stick to the melted white chocolate. Place the wire rack/baking sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes to help the white chocolate harden quickly. Store the truffles in the refrigerator until ready to serve.





26 comments:

  1. Really beautiful (all of it but I guess I'm talking about the truffles in particular ;) ) and WHAT a fun adventure!

    =)

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    1. Thank you Katy! It was such a blast, so nice to get a bit of a break form the cityscape.

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  2. (OOOoooooo! The times I've hiked in the brush like that and had my allergies go kerbonkers! =P )

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  3. What a wonderful trip (minus the frosty pool!) and what gorgeous truffles.

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    1. Haha, thank you! The pool was a bit of a shock, lol, but it was more funny than anything else :)

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  4. Oh wow, what a beautiful, beautiful place to be. Despite having never actually been to a real desert, I'm sort of obsessed with them (maybe we have talked about this before?). We'd visit family out in Telluride, CO when I was little, and I was so drawn to the more arid scenery as we drove further and further west. I love dry heat, scraggly trees, and the amazing, unusual things that can grow in places with so much less rainfall. (Which is probably also why I'm obsessed with someday visiting Socotra, but I digress!) What a great vacation, and an interesting juxtaposition for your trip to VT! The tulips are coming up in my garden, and there are some tufts of grass popping up here and there. I hope we get some buds on the trees soon too — that's when things really start to look less gross. :)

    And these truffles sound wonderful. I put white chocolate in a completely different category than the milk or dark stuff, and it's one of those things that I shouldn't be around too often. (Sometimes I'll just buy a bag of the white chocolate baking discs from Lake Champlain chocolates, and I'll eat my way through the entire thing in a matter of days.) Love the combination of it with lavender and almond — yum yum yum!

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    1. Yes! I totally feel you about the scraggly trees, I think the insane plant life of the desert is a large part of what draws me to it so much. We get joshua trees out in the Palm desert too, which are just a sight to behold in person. They're so bizarrely beautiful. And I am SOOOO excited to come to Vermont! I feel like everything I read and note "hrmm, that sounds interesting!" lately has been sourced to Vermont. I have a feeling the vibe of the state is very similar to Oregon, with all the beekeeping and organic farming and such :) And yay tulips!! They're one of my favorite flowers. I had to chill my bullbs in the fridge before planting since the winters are too warm for them here. Most of them actually came out though, which was great!

      And yeah, white chocolate can be a very dangerous thing to keep around the house. Every year when I make peppermint bark around Christmas time it's usually eaten long before Christmas rolls around. I just can't help myself, though! Something about the combination of white chocolate and mint extract makes me go a little food-crazy.

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  5. Hola, has sabido unir dos ingredientes que son mi gran pasión, los adoro, la almendra y lavanda.
    Una receta excelente.
    Un beso.

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    1. Muchas gracias, Irmina! La lavanda tiene un sabor maravilloso :)

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  6. So, my boyfriend is from Albuquerque. After growing up in the northern Midwest, then relocating to northern New England, I was SO SHOCKED when I visited ABQ for the first time. I thought the desert was so, so ugly. I've since been back a second time and have come to appreciate the unique beauty of the desert landscape. Minus the frigid pool and the cloud of gnats, it sounds like you had a lovely time on your weekend away! I love that picture of the pond with the heron(is that a heron? I know nothing about birds). Is that at the resort you stayed at?

    I love truffles. I love how simple they are to make, and I love that they're such a blank canvas for different flavors and textures. The one time I played with white chocolate, it seized, even in a double boiler, so I'm wary to try again. I have yet to cook anything with lavender, but I've been meaning to for far too long. But the flavors here sound wonderful together. And they sound like spring!

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    1. Thank you Brianne! It is definitely a shock the first time you see that kind of scenery. Coming from Oregon originally, the desert was the complete polar opposite of what I was used to seeing. But after living in the city so long, it's just amazing to go out to such an incredibly empty and quite space. So peaceful! And it was a great weekend, I even got to have a lavender margarita with dinner which was incredibly tasty :)

      And I have had the same issues with white chocolate before, now I just always pay super close attention whenever I'm melting it because it has such a lower melting point than normal chocolate. But it is worth the extra focus, love the flavor of white chocolate so much! Nothing can match that creaminess :)

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  7. Ahh, the truffles look almost too pretty to eat! Almost, of course, because I'd have to give them away as fast as I could or risk hoarding them and eating half of them myself. That's the danger of food blogging, I guess? There's always so much sweet stuff around (a fact Chris complains about endlessly! Talk about first world problems! Or rather, my-significant-other-is-a-food-blogger problem.)

    The desert! It's a landscape that resonates with me, a LOT. I was born in Utah, and while I probably wouldn't choose to live there, it is home to some of the most beautiful, desolate natural sights I can think of. Love love love. It's crazy how alien it all feels now that I'm on the East Coast. There's nothing remotely desert-like here. Or California-like at all, really. It's a fact that can randomly erupt in homesickness every now and then, but, well, I guess that's a subject for another day. :)

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    1. I have heard so many great things about the desert landscape of Utah. I've seen photographs of the natural reserves around there and my goodness, they are just breathtaking. All those oranges and reds everywhere contrasted against the bright blue sky...so beautiful!

      And yes, we have the same problem as you and Chris haha. Too many sweets around all the time! I usually end up having Jeremy bring them in to work so that his coworkers eat the leftovers and not us. We're just two people, there's only so many desserts we can handle within a week-long period haha :)

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  8. Eva, I am ROFL at the 'screw you pool' incident!!! The cookies sure do look amazing and white chocolates are my husband's fav which means i have to this someday.

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    1. Hahaha, thanks Kankana! Yes, if he's a white chocolate fan he'll love these!

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  9. Lovely post! Lavender and white chocolate are so delicious together. ...Susan

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  10. As a fellow Oregonian I can relate to loving lush climates, but the dessert really is special too! Your photos are gorgeous! And these truffles sound so stinking good! yum.

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    1. Thank you! I really miss the Oregon scenery and do want to move back up someday, but I'll definitely have to have an annual retreat into the desert for a few days to enjoy some heat and sunshine :)

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  11. what marvelous pictures! i never would've anticipated becoming a fan of lavender in anything edible, but it happened. :)

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    1. Haha, good to hear, Grace! Floral flavors can be kind of overwhelming sometimes, there has to be just the right balance going on so that the dish doesn't end up tasting like straight perfume :)

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  12. What beautiful photos!! And those truffles look incredibly unique and decadent! :)

    Sues

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  13. Your pictures are gorgeous and breath taking! Thanks for sharing those beautiful pictures. :) And These Lavender white chocolate almond truffles looks just as delicious. I love lavender in my desserts. Can't wait to make a batch of these truffles.

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  14. Wow, such stunning photos, makes me long for summer even more! I love adding lavender to sweets, it always adds a bit of a dreamy touch, these truffles are just that - dreamy! :)

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  15. These truffles are too cute! Love the photos!

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  16. I just love lavender! I can almost smell it from here!

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