Apparently, I made a few mouths drool with the talk of my chocolate nutballs and their picture. I've gotten requests for the treats themselves - only one of which I honored, because she happened to be in my kitchen and knows I'm easily overpowered - but I think Joe had the best idea: post the recipe.
For the last 5 or 6 years, I've been on Texas Monthly's weekly recipe list. Of the scores, if not hundreds of recipes I've gotten in that time, I think I've attempted only two or three. This recipe is one of them, reprinted here, complete with the text from the email, but the links are not hot:
Chocolate-Grand Marnier Truffles
Recipe from Sierra Grill, Houston.
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
16 ounces Nestlé semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup Grand Marnier or Bailey’s Irish Cream
Zest of 1/2 orange 1 1/2 cups pecans, ground or finely chopped
In a heavy, nonreactive pan bring cream to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and stir in chocolate and butter until smooth. Add liqueur and orange zest and chill overnight. Shape into 3/4-inch balls and roll in pecans. Makes 6 dozen.****************
After my first attempt, I hesitate to call what I made truffles. Hence, labeling them chocolate nutballs (because I am nothing if not mature and referential). The consummate engineer, Honey had a good idea to help me create more attractive treats that I'd be proud to call truffles and not "nutballs." He suggested that instead of rolling them between my palms like I'd do modeling clay, that instead I seek some silicon mold of half-spheres - like a novelty ice-tray - and let the chocolate chill in that. Then when it's all chilled, marry the spheres together, maybe with a little water at the seam. Since I'll be out and about today, maybe I'll swing by Sur la Table and see what they've got in that vein.
With only half the chocolate mix, I believe I made about 55 balls, following the 3/4-inch ball rule. After Darla made off like a bandit with about two dozen of them, Honey decided we needed to make them bigger and rolled the rest of the chocolate into balls about 1.5" to 2" in diameter, mixing them not only with nuts, but with confectioners sugar. Good idea. Since these balls are bigger, they're more satisfying and I, for one, am less tempted to mindlessly pop one in my mouth as I am when they're smaller.
Though we had Bailey's at home, I opted to use Grand Marnier because it gave me an excuse to buy it. Insted of Nestle, I used Ghirardelli 60% cocoa, because we had a few bags of that lying around. I grabbed another bag of the Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet and a bag of their milk chocolate when I was at the grocery store Wednesday. I'll try those next. When I feel like I've gotten the process down pat, I'll try darker cocoa, white chocolate, fair trade chocolate, rum, kahlua, cordials that a friend brought me from the Caribbean: all sorts of variations until I'm known as the truffle-lady .... not just a little nuts.