Make edible chocolate truffle beads for your Mardi Gras celebrations. These little chocolate beads are colorful and fun and taste great too.
Mardi Gras is an event that I have not had the pleasure of celebrating in New Orleans but have certainly had some fun with it nonetheless. When I think of Mardi Gras, the first thing that pops into my head is the long strands of colorful beads that are thrown out to the crowds during the big parade.
I challenged myself to come up with a food that would look like the iconic beads and think I found the perfect thing. Tiny little truffles are rolled in edible metallic luster dust and arranged to look like necklaces. Party guests will love this clever sweet treat.
One recipe will create about 240 beads which is enough to make 6 necklaces.
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy whipping cream
Luster dusts - You will need about 6 teaspoons of luster dust (use a variety of colors.)
Place chopped chocolate in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until chocolate is fine crumbs. Or you can finely chop the chocolate in uniform size pieces and place in a heatproof bowl.
Heat heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir often until it just comes to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, put lid on bowl, and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Pulse for 5-10 seconds.
Remove lid and scrape down the sides and bottom of the food processor bowl. Return lid and pulse for 5 more seconds or until the mixture, which is called ganache, is smooth. Dont' over-mix your ganache or it will turn grainy as it sets up.
Note: A food processor makes easy work of creating a chocolate ganache. If you don't have one, finely chop your chocolate and put it in a microwave safe mixing bowl. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Use a whisk to create an emulsion. Begin by stirring just in the center of the bowl, then slowly bring the whisk out to the edge of the bowl. Stir just until combined and the ganache is smooth.
Trouble Shooting: If your ganache has chunks of chocolate in it, heat it in a heatproof bowl (not your food processor bowl) in the microwave on the defrost setting for 5 seconds, then stir. Repeat if necessary. Don't let your ganache get too hot or the cocoa butter from the chocolate will separate and rise to the surface.
The cocoa butter will harden as the ganache cools and you will have chunks of cocoa butter throughout. This can happen if you add cream that is too hot or get the ganache too hot in the microwave. If your ganache does separate or look oily, add a little cold whipping cream (a tablespoon at a time) and mix until smooth.
This will result in a softer ganache that may be more difficult to roll into a ball, but it sure beats having ganache filled with chunks of fat.
Pour ganache, into a shallow dish. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the ganache. This will keep your chocolate ganache from forming a crust. Let your ganache sit at room temperature to firm up, about 3 hours or overnight.
If you're in a hurry, you can refrigerate the ganache for about 1 hour, but the texture may be compromised. (I think the ganache is creamier if left to set at room temperature overnight.) Scoop out tablespoonfuls of ganache and set on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Allow to rest a room temperature for 20-30 minutes until it is no longer really tacky.
Roll each scoop of ganache into a long ¼" thick rope. Cut each rope into ¼" wide pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Pour ½ teaspoon of a luster dust into a small bowl. Place about 30 truffle balls into the bowl. Roll around to coat.
If there is more than just a very small amount of luster dust still in the bowl, add more truffles, a few at a time, and roll them around to coat. Once you feel you've used up most of the luster dust, pour the balls onto a piece of paper towel.
Repeat, creating about 60 of each color for each necklace.
To remove some of the excess luster dust from the truffle beads, place them in a piece of paper towel. Hold each end of the paper towel, cradling the truffle beads, and shake back and forth. You will notice the luster dust attaching to the paper towels.
Shake for about 30 seconds. Then place the truffle beads in a clean paper towel and repeat. Arrange truffle beads on a serving platter to form a necklace. There is nothing holding the beads together so be careful moving the platter.
You can arrange several necklaces intertwining on a platter as pictured below. Serve your truffle beads with toothpicks so your guests don't get luster dust on their hands. These will keep for up to two weeks if stored in an airtight container.