You know, ninjas are like fairies. You don’t see them. But they exist, mostly in the shadows and the cracks between their underworld and ours. Somewhere between my bed and the wall that its pressed up against, a ninja lives in that shadowy crack. No idea why he/she’s spying on me but I’m happy tucking myself deep under the duvet, watching Gordon Ramsay’s Great Escape in India and feeding this ninja of the dark (who’s tucked in somewhere as well under my bed probably) some of these truffles. My alter ego? A figment of my imagination? Or just plain excuse to make these black/white babies for me to eat? The latter seems most likely and I totally agree. I am a bit of nutter and I love chatting crap like this. Call me overworked, imaginative or plain crazy. I really don’t mind. I’ve got truffles.
The week has passed quite slow with horrible weather for most of it. Although today’s ridiculously sunny, bright and worm it feels like the world’s played a hoax upon us. But I’m not complaining. In fact, I totally rejoiced, ditched the essay that is begging to be written before I get chucked out of college, and ventured into the kitchen to make these.
I blame Catty. Oh my dear, in a good way. She made the scrummiest matcha & lemon truffles for Easter and was so generous to pass me some to taste. I was really stingy with myself, rationing it carefully and only caring to nibble it. Talk about waste of effort. They were gone by the next morning. I found myself mourning its bittersweet flavours so quick, I might’ve given myself heartburn (heartache?) pining away for it.
So of course I had to have more truffles about the house.
Now I’m wondering why I didn’t just begin the post that way. More respectable and, sane of course. Why on earth did I resort to pseudo mythmaking and one about a non-existence ninja-who-lives-in-the-shadows-of-my-bedroom? Not so sure. I think I munched on one too many squares of chocolate whilst waiting for these to set. The caffeine fried away my logic and the cocoa butter greased everything up in my brain, it turned to a squishy mess. No use to me at all.
I was inspired mostly by Japanese wagashi and more specifically, Minamoto Kitchoan’s Miyabiguruma. Of course, mine is nothing close and hardly as refined. Geez, it’s got Shreddies in there for crying out loud! But you can’t blame me for trying to recreate those flavours at home with what I had on hand. Not sure they looked very pretty but they were good. It really helps that I’m on a Shreddies craze as well. In my breakfast cereal, having it dry as a snack and now in chocolate truffles. I think I’m going slightly overboard. Who knows what I’ll be adding it to next. I fear to think it.
The concept to these truffles is similar to these Oreo truffles or Lemon Lime cream ones. Yes so they’re supposed to be pretty sweets. Pre-dipping in candy coating, however, my flatmate very eagerly exclaimed, ‘Oh you’re making meatballs!’. Uh oh. They really do look like meatballs, don’t they.
Types of anko:
(to make things easy, this is taken from Wikipedia)
, whole red beans boiled with sugar but otherwise untreated
, where the beans are mashed after boiling
, which has been passed through a sieve to remove bean skins; the most common type
, which has been dried and reconstituted with water
If you prefer to make your own anko, you can use this recipe here. I’ve never been too successful making my own because I’m too impatient to wait for it to soak overnight, and cook for hours til it’s soft enough to mash or pass through a sieve. So feel free to use canned anko. I’ve chosen a half mashed half whole bean anko from Meiji.
When it comes to truffles, I always use candy melts or coating chocolate, aka confectioner’s coating or bark. If you’re wondering whether this is chocolate, yes it is! But it’s chocolate for lazy bums like me. No tempering – only melt, mix, use, set. Its easier to control than regular chocolate, sets quick streak-free at room temperature, tastes great and doesn’t melt upon touching which I find happens a lot when using regular chocolate (which requires you sometimes to cool it in the fridge and then you get nasty sweating after when you take them out). Candy melts come in many colours. No fuss over what kind of colours to use (if you decide to use them) and whether oil, paste or powder or au naturel vegetable/fruit juice/dyes will affect it. I’ve used candy melts in Midnight Black and because I ran out of white melts, I’ve used Green & Blacks vanilla white chocolate.
I’m feeling a bit zen with the black and white colour combination. Time to whip out my teapot, sencha and ponder over something deep. Who knows, my shadow ninja might decide to join me for a cuppa.
Makes about 12-15 eyeball-sized truffles. (I would’ve said ping pong-sized but aren’t eyeballs a little smaller and heck, sounds more fun. No?)
Chestnut & Adzuki Bean Black/White Chocolate Truffles
1 can/210g anko (adzuki bean paste)
10-12 small cooked chestnuts, depending on how many you end up making
about 1/2 cup Shreddies, finely crushed
about 1/2 cup black chocolate candy melts
about 1/2 cup white chocolate candy melts
black sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
white sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
There isn’t really a recipe for this is there? It’s just banging ingredients together.
In a bowl, mash together crushed Shreddies and enough anko to get a cement-like consistency. You don’t want it too dry or it won’t hold together. But you need it wet enough to be able to seal itself around the chestnut. Play around with it until you feel confident of it holding up.
Take a chestnut and about 1/2 to 1 tbs of crushed Shreddies and anko mixture, press into it and start to carefully seal the chestnut into it. Gently press to smoothen out the surface like you would a rice ball, then lightly roll between palms to form balls. If the surface starts to gloss and smoothen itself out, that’s perfect. Repeat for the other chestnuts. Place on a plate covered with grease-proof parchment. Place in refrigerator to let the chestnut balls set a bit for about 3-4 minutes.
In small bowls, melt candy coating separately, following the directions written on the bag (it will differ slightly depending on their make but will normally require a 1 minute melt-time in microwave; mix; 10 second blasts and mixing until the coating is completely melted and smooth).
Drop chestnut balls in candy coating, coat and drop onto flat surface lined with grease-proof parchment. Garnish with a tiny sprinkling of sesame seeds of the opposite colour. Allow to set for about 2 minutes or so. Done.