This is my scariest recipe yet! Dark chocolate truffles with crunchy hazelnut filling shaped like the human brain with anatomical correctness. Not to mention I also included a macadamia nut in the center to represent the thalamus. It gives the truffles just a little more meaning, shall we say.
I was commissioned by my colleague to make these brain-shaped truffles for an informal conference so aptly entitled, “Am I My Brain?” It was a discussion about whether or not the brain is the key organ that provides meaning to our lives. The idea of having chocolate brains at this event was too clever for me to say no. So I accepted the challenge to create these neuro-truffles, and I just had to share my recipe in the spirit of Halloween!
Coming up with the recipe was easy; thinking of what to name it is hard. I have been thinking about a clever name for my chocolate brains, but “Nutella Noggins” or “Smart Snacks” or “Cocoa Brains” sounded too tacky. I apologize for the boring title, but it gets the point across.
Trying to fill the molds without air bubbles is always a challenge. The silicone brain molds I have are for making ice cubes, so they aren’t ideal as chocolate molds. I got the effect I wanted nonetheless, and the result was deliciously sweet!
250 g hazelnut wafer biscuits (1 package)
125 g (1 cup) hazelnuts, without skins
2/3 cup Nutella
20 whole macadamia nuts
330 g (2 cups) dark chocolate baking wafers
75 g (1/2 cup) vanilla candy coating, red color
1 silicone brain mold, chilled
Preheat the oven to 350oF with a rack in the middle. Toast hazelnuts on a baking sheet for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool, then finely chop using a food processor. Set aside.
Use a food processor to chop the wafer biscuits, leaving some coarser chunks. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the crushed wafer biscuits, chopped hazelnuts and Nutella. Mix well and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
Use your hands to form 1/2-inch balls with the Nutella mixture, wrapping the mixture around one macadamia nut. Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes to firm up.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolates separately in separate double boilers over medium heat. Stir until smooth. Reduce heat to keep warm, stirring frequently. Use a paintbrush to coat the ridges of the mold with red chocolate. These will represent the sulci of the brain.
Coat the inside of the mold with a thin layer of dark chocolate, gently tapping on the table to remove bubbles and ensure an even coating.
Refrigerate just until set (about 5-10 minutes). Place one ball of the Nutella mixture into the mold, and fill the mold with dark chocolate. Gently tap the mold to remove bubble. Refrigerate until set all the way through (about 20 minutes).
Gently peel the silicone mold away from the sides of the chocolate brains, and pop the brains out of the mold.
Allow chocolate to set at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Truffles can be stored in an airtight container chilled for up to a week.