Since taking the class at Blake’s Decorette Shop– Chocolate Boxes and Truffles Class– I have been making chocolates in molded shells. I like the way those come out better than the dipped chocolates. And I have experimented with quite a few fillings, including those I got in the class. I thought it might be time to either point to the fillings, or write them up here.
I also took a poll among friends as to which chocolate fillings were the best. It is interesting that fillings based on cookies seem to be universally liked among the best. When it came to using truffles as the filling, opinions got mixed.
This was universally the best liked filling. I got the recipe from the chocolate class; I had never heard of Biscoff Cookies and Spread, and finally found them at the World Market.
- 1 cup semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup Biscoff Cookie spread
- 20 Biscoff Cookies (crushed)
Melt the chocolate, stir in cookie spread and crushed cookies. Let sit until firm enough to roll.
Probably the second best liked filling was the simple one made from OREO cookies. I happened to find this on the internet.
- 16 oz package of OREO chocolate sandwich cookies
- 8 oz package of cream cheese
Crush 36 cookies to fine crumbs; place in a medium bowl.
Add the cream cheese and mix until well blended.
The review comments for the OREO cookie filling mentioned that others had tried making other cookie type fillings. The most common mentioned was Nutter Butter. So I tried that, but discovered that you have to be a peanut butter lover to like it. It wasn’t quite as popular as the OREO cookie filling
Nutter Butter Cookie
- 1 package Nutter Butter cookies
- 8 oz cream cheese
Crush the cookies to fine crumbs and place in a medium bowl. Add the cream cheese and mix until well blended.
Once I got using cookies as fillings, I started searching the cookie aisle in the store for interesting flavors. I found a Lemon-Coconut cookie, and made that into a filling. I would say it was interesting, but it didn’t get a lot of votes.
Lemon Coconut Cookie
- 7 oz Lemon Coconut cookies
- 4 oz cream cheese
The cookies come in a smaller package, so I reduced the amount of cream cheese accordingly. Crush the cookies into fine crumbs and add the cream cheese; mix until well blended.
My last cookie type filling was a Fudge-Mint cookie. I felt the mint flavor was too strong, but people that like mint really liked the chocolates with this filling.
Fudge Mint Cookie
- 10 oz Fudge Mint cookies
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 2 tsp peppermint extract
Crush the cookies into fine crumbs and add the cream cheese and peppermint extract; mix until well blended.
I felt I needed to try another idea that I got from the chocolate class- jam with white chocolate ganache. They gave me the recipe for the white chocolate ganache, and believe me, a simple ganache doesn’t work. I tried a couple different fillings that didn’t work because they were lighter than the dark chocolate I used for the shell of the chocolates, and so the sealing chocolate would sink and the filling would rise and the shell was never sealed with the filling inside. Ouch! Like the simple white chocolate ganache, port is too light to stay in the chocolate when I went to seal it.
Jam with White Chocolate Ganache
- 16 0z white chocolate (finely chopped)
- 10 oz Heavy Cream
- 4 Tbs butter (unsalted)
- 4 Tbs sugar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Combine the cream, butter and sugar in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Pour the heated butter/cream mixture over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 2 -3 monutes. Vigorously stir the mixture until all the chocolate is melted; then slowly add the vanilla and stir until a smooth ganache is formed.
I use about 1/4 tsp of jam in the bottom of the shell, then pipe the white chocolate ganache on top of that. I like to use a red jam such as raspberry or strawberry.
Last year, I was making truffles, and developed my own recipe for a coffee and chocolate truffle. I took that recipe and used it as a filling, and it works very well.
Coffee & Chocolate Truffle
- 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, in small pieces
- 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, in small pieces
- 1/4 lb butter, in small pieces
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 Tbs Instant Expresso Coffee
- 2 Tbs. Kahlua
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Measure into a couple dishes the sugar and coffee powder, and the Kahlua and vanilla seasoning.
Put the chocolate and butter into a medium bowl and melt the ingredients using either a bane marie or microwave technique.
When the chocolate & butter are all melted and smooth, take it off the heat and stir in the sugar and seasonings.
Now wait for the chocolate dough to come down in temperature so that it is workable. I use it at a stage where it can be piped. It will keep in the refrigerator, and then when wanting to use it again, heat it for a few seconds in the microwave, and stir it to re-incorporate the butter.
I like these with a touch of salt; I put a few grains of sea salt into the shell before piping in the filling.
When I was trying to develop my coffee/chocolate truffle recipe, I also found on the internet, truffle recipes from Ina Garten and Alex Guarnaschilli. I liked both of those truffles, and made them again as fillings for chocolate shells.
Other Truffle Recipes (Ina’s and Alex’s)
Because these are published elsewhere, I am not allowed to republish the recipes without permission from the site owners. Thus I am limited to giving pointers to the recipes.
Alex Guarnaschelli’s Valentine’s Day Truffles
Alex’s truffle as filling is best with a few grains of sea salt placed into the shell before piping the truffle mixture into the shell.
Ina Garten’s Chocolate Truffles
In all cases of using truffle recipes, be careful to not include any powdering of the truffle, but only use the center material of the truffle. Truffle recipes almost always include something that the truffle is rolled in after it is formed.
At the chocolate class, I got a hint about making a Peanut Butter Ganache. Since a lot of people like peanut butter, I made a ganache as a filling; I am surprised not more people liked it. How does Reese make their peanut butter cups so popular??
Peanut Butter Ganache
- 2 parts peanut butter
- 1 part confectioners’ sugar
I think this would be best using smooth peanut butter; it is difficult to control the placement of the nut fragments in chunky peanut butter.
This summer, I was experimenting with salted caramel in cookies. It seems to be a very popular flavor these days, and so I wanted to try using it as a filling for chocolate shells. There are two good sources of salted caramel; one is chips that I bought at the Decorette shop, and the other is Rolos. In this case, I used the chips and converted them into a simple ganache.
Salted Caramel Ganache
- 16 oz salted caramel chips
- 8 oz heavy cream
- 4 Tablespoons butter
Heat the cream and butter until it is just starting to boil, then pour it over the chips. Wait a couple minutes for the heat to transfer to the chips, and then stir vigorously until the chips have all melted and the ganache has smoothed out.
In all cases except for the jam, I put the filling into a piping bag to use it. This sometimes required heating the filling first for a few seconds in the microwave, and then working the mixture until it was smooth and able to be piped. All of the mixtures kept easily in the refrigerator between chocolate making sessions.
November 2016: I had occasion to make some of the molded chocolates this month, and found a couple tricks that helped. First, I had been having a problem getting the chocolates out of the mold; many would break in different ways, but usually it was the bottom and part of the side would separate from the top. I learned that I was filling the molds too full of filling, and the bottom was not getting a good adhesion to the top and sides.
I also allowed the chocolate to set longer between steps. Once I filled the mold, I waited a minute before dumping the extra chocolate out of the mold. Then I waited again for a minute before piping the filling into the mold and making certain it was down in the mold and not going to interfere with the bottom chocolate. Finally after filling the bottom with chocolate and scraping the mold clean of extra chocolate, I let the mold sit for 7 minutes to get a good connection between the bottom and the sides. Finally, I put the mold in the freezer for 7 minutes and got it good and cold; when it came out, the chocolate had shrunk enough that the pieces came out of the mold fairly easily. I did learn that there were some spots in the freezer that got the molds colder that other spots, and it was the colder spots that worked best.
Finally, I used paramount crystals with the melted chocolate to make it smoother and easier to handle. I used 2 Tablespoons with the 11 ounces of chocolate in the bain marie, and then when that all was melted and smooth, I added 5 ounces of chocolate to start the tempering of the melted chocolate. Later, after making several molds of chocolates, I felt the melt was starting to get thick and added another tablespoon of crystals to the melted chocolate.