Caramel / Chocolate / Desserts / Nuts

110% humidity and truffle-making do NOT mix

I have complained against the weather we get here before. But now, it’s different. I’m ranting. And raving. And this close to pulling my hair out at the roots.
I’m gonna migrate. Tell Mr. Lee and Mr. Goh that the brain drain this country is experiencing is not because of a lack of freedom or subtle dictatorial tendencies. It’s ‘cos of the frigging heat! For the next election year’s budget, forget cash handouts. Get this island enclosed in a fibreglass dome and air-condition it. Please.
Why the meltdown? …(pun intended).. Well, I tried my hand at making truffles today. And yesterday. Didn’t go too well. Why? Because it’s next to impossible to get your caramel or chocolate ganache to harden in these godforsaken humidity levels.
Here’s my sugar syrup happily boiling away. Turned a beautiful caramel colour too, just the way I wanted it. Stirred in my roasted pecans and almonds and poured it out onto a lined tray to set. I waited. And waited. And waited somemore. Don’t want to rush things now, do we? An hour later, the praline was cool to the touch and most importantly, hard. So I peeled off the lining paper. Or at least I tried to. Most of the paper did come off. But because the weather was so humid, the caramel was still the slightest bit sticky and there were bits of paper stuck to the bottom. So instead of getting a beautiful slab of golden brown praline, I had to resort to breaking the praline to little pieces and scraping off the paper with my nails, and then, a knife.
At this point, things got interesting. You see, the weather was very very warm, and the caramel was getting really quite sticky. As I was using the knife to cut out bits of the praline that wasn’t stuck to the paper, the damn caramel slipped out of my fingers and the darn knife sliced into my flesh! And of course, I was using my sharpest knife, cos what else do you use to chop praline? And so there I was, bleeding all over my kitchen sink, cursing and swearing at the caramel, the knife, and above all, at the weather.
After about five minutes of holding wads of tissue to my finger, the bleeding finally stopped. Being the ever-determined heroine, I decided to continue my truffle adventure.

I placed the broken praline pieces into my food processor and blitzed it to get a gorgeous nutty caramel powder. It did smell lovely. So maybe I was ready to let go of the bleeding finger incident…
But no.
The tropics had more in store for me.

This is what I got after stirring the ground praline into the chocolate ganache (melted chocolate, butter, cream, egg yolks and a dash of kahlua). Now, according to the recipe, this mixture is to be shaped into small balls and rolled in cocoa. Pray tell me, how can sauce be shaped into balls?? Because that’s what I got, as you can see above. Chocolate nut sauce. It refused to set!
But still, I fought on. I bunged the bowl into the fridge and went off for my dance class. Came back, almost 5 hours later, took out my truffle mixture and was glad to see it now looked like it could actually be rolled into balls.
It could be.
For the first two truffles.
Then, the by-now infamous humidity decided to announce its existence. The mixture started melting, I started getting more chocolate on my palms then onto the tray. It got impossible to roll the mushy mounds in cocoa. Even icing sugar did not work, as you can see from the picture below. The sugar/cocoa just dissolved into the condensation that formed on the melting truffles, leaving behind ugly brown patches.
I managed about 30 truffles before tiring of the endless running to and fro to the freezer every time I rolled out each ball. I tried again today, getting about 15 more before giving up.
Humidity: 1
Me: 0

Yummy truffles.

Dumb weather.

And a still throbbing finger. pffth.


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