Chocolate Truffles Rolled in Porcini Powder

Ever since I started collecting porcini mushrooms in quantities great enough to store, opening up jars of dried porcini has always reminded me of the scent of chocolate. Years ago, that was the reason I started putting large quantities of porcini powder into my hot chocolate. I've since started using porcini powder, which has been ground finely in a spice mill, in a number of different applications, from porcini bouillon cubes to porcini instant gravy. Grinding porcini mushrooms into a powder is a wonderful way to broaden how they are used in the kitchen, as well as stretching a valuable ingredient.

I experimented with several versions of porcini truffles. I tried adding both chunks of mushroom to the interior of the truffle, as well as some of the powder. Both resulted in unsatisfying textures. If you've got the mushrooms to spare, you can bump up the porcini flavor by letting pieces of porcini gently heat in the cream for 15 minutes before straining them out. I also think it's nice to add a pinch of salt to the porcini as they are ground to a powder, but I know that won't appeal to everyone's taste.

I need to include a note of caution here. Collecting and eating wild mushrooms is never a topic to be taken lightly. Mushrooms contain a substance called chitin, also contained in the shells of shrimp, that is indigestible to humans when consumed raw, and may cause gastric upset. Chitin is best rendered safe by cooking. You can read more on the topic here. The porcini I use are Boletus rubriceps (recently reclassified after formerly being known as B. edulis), local to the Rocky Mountains and known for their distinctive rust-colored caps. Dried porcini purchased from a store may be of unknown origin. Even cooked porcini are known to cause digestive problems in some follks. If you are a sensitive individual, it may be unwise to consume these chocolates. For all others, eat these, a luxury dessert item, in moderation.

Chocolate Truffles Rolled in Porcini Powder

Makes 12-15 truffles

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1/4 c. cream
1/2 tsp. bourbon (or vanilla)
2 Tbsp. porcini powder

1. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it is gently bubbling.

2. Meanwhile, chop the chocolate and place it in a bowl.

3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes, then stir it until it becomes smooth and glossy.

4. Stir in the bourbon.

5. Let the chocolate cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it for an hour.

6. Roll the chocolate into balls. I think smaller balls work better here because they allow for a higher ratio of porcini powder to truffle. This works best if your hands aren't hot, so you don't melt the chocolate with body heat.

7. Roll each truffle ball in porcini powder. Serve immediately, or store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

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