So these truffles were inspired by two things: One- a recipe in baking blogger Naomi Robinson’s new cookbook Baker’s Royale (You follow her @bakersroyale_naomi, right? Ok, good.) and Two- a complete and utter over-abundance of Halloween candy this year. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I am kind of loving finding new and inventive uses for these candy bars.
We just moved into our first house about two months ago, and to say we were pumped to finally have trick-or-treaters and a house to decorate and have Halloween parties at would be an understatement. I decided I wanted to have a pumpkin-carving party- I even ordered awesome custom invitations on Etsy and EVERYTHING. The party was awesome, I felt like the house looked so cool, and in a state of over-excitement my husband decided he wanted to be the family with the “Full Size Bars” for the trick-or-treaters. But since were new to the neighborhood and have no idea how many kids to expect, we bought oh, I don’t know… 125 FULL SIZE CANDY BARS. Not to mention some fun-size bags…you know, just in case we didn’t have enough. And then Halloween comes and it’s about 35 degrees out and raining- we had 33 trick-or-treaters in total. Which was a little disappointing for all of 10 minutes before I realized I had SO much candy to experiment with and put into miscellaneous baked goods. So in an attempt to use them in a creative way, I flipped through Naomi’s book and found a recipe for Beer and Pretzel Truffles. We had several bottles of Halloween-themed beer also left over from the party we had, so it seemed like culinary destiny of sorts. Delicious, delicious truffle destiny indeed.
For this recipe I used a cup of Southern Tier’s Warlock Stout beer and reduced it down by half to concentrate all it’s malty delicious goodness. How’s that for a description? #NailedIt.
In terms of the chocolate I used to melt down into the truffles, I chose several bars of Hershey’s Take 5 candy which contained pretzels, as well as two of their milk chocolate bars with almonds in them. I chopped them up, but them in a big bowl, and once the beer reduced I poured the concentrated beer syrup on top of the chocolate pieces. I’ll write down details below but a few words of wisdom regarding these truffles. First off, use the right kind of beer. A stout is ideal for this because it has a lot of existing sugars in it, and once concentrated they end up less bitter and more dark and caramel-tasting. I tried this first with an Imperial Red Ale and it came out kind of…bitter-tasting. Which would’ve been okay with the sweet chocolate but it was too overpowering in this case. So unless you like more of a hoppy-bitter truffle, I’d stick to the original stout called for in the recipe. If you try another beer though, let me know-I’d love to hear how it turned out! Second word of wisdom- these truffles get very soft if left out too long at room temperature. I recommend using a small ice cream scoop for the initial truffle formation and after they’ve frozen for a while, use some non-stick spray on your hands to form the truffles more. Once the pretzel or cocoa coating is put on they’re much more receptive to handling. Just be aware going into it that the freezer is your best friend here, so clear some room beforehand. But they’re so good and unique that it’s totally worth it.
And I wish I could lie and say that next year I’ll be sure to buy less candy in preparation for Halloween, but let’s be real here. If it results in more creative desserts like these, I’m willing to take the risk. After all, I run a baking blog:
I’ll ALWAYS be more into treats than tricks.
Beer and Pretzel Truffles
Yield: 18-20 truffles
Inspired by: Bakers Royale (Available on Amazon)
8 oz Chocolate Candy Bars with pretzels in them, roughly chopped (I used 4- Hershey’s Take 5 Bars and 2-Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Almond Bars)
1 C. Stout beer, such as Southern Tier’s Warlock Stout
1/2 C. Pretzels, chopped into small pieces for topping truffles
¼ C. Cocoa Powder, if desired to change up the appearance of the truffles
Chop up the candy bars and place in a heat-proof bowl, like glass or stainless steel placed over a hot pad.
In a small saucepan, pour 1 cup of the stout beer and cook over med/high heat until reduced by half (depending on stove and pan can take 10-12 minutes).
*NOTE: Keep an eye on this! As it reduces it can bubble up. If it does, turn the heat down slightly and stir gently to reduce volume a bit. Just keep reducing-it will get there
Pour beer reduction over the chocolate and let it sit for about two minutes.
Gently stir together until combined and melted, then refrigerate for 2-3 hours, or overnight.