My chocolate-covered Valentine’s Day mission to you, if you so choose to accept it, is to make your own Knipschildt-inspired truffle. For inspiration, I went behind the scenes of Knipschildt Chocolatier to learn how to make one of these decadent chocolate confections, or at the very least, become acquainted with the shop when I inevitably fail miserably and need to buy a box for my sweetheart. Thanks to Torben Bang, Executive Pastry Chef and Executive Chocolatier for Knipschildt Chocolatier and Chocopologie Cafe as my able guide and my Plan B, ensuring my chocolate will look good either way.
Full disclosure: I’d been dreaming of sliding behind the counter and onto the chocolate-making line since I first met Torben and Fritz Knipschildt at the SoNo Chef Shootout at the Clarke Culinary Showroom, completely taken by their third course – a pumpkin praline mousse with a delicate white chocolate shell. Masters of confectionary pairings, their memorable truffles make Café Chocopologie worth a detour.
My afternoon began as soon as Torben led me just past a glass case stocked with mousses, cakes and macarons. I paused, my will power dwindling as I recognized the unmistakeable aroma of chocolate wafting toward me. Digging deep, I focused on following Torben as we wound our way to the back of the kitchen and down a flight of narrow stairs. The storage and packing room were on the basement level with sacks and cans of ingredients giving way to a short assembly line of people packaging Knipschildt boxes for Valentine’s Day. For this holiday alone, Knipschildt Chocolatier will make, package and ship about 5,000 of the heart-shaped boxes.
Walking back upstairs, we got up close and personal with the tempering machines, which Torben called his “little helpers” that slowly bring large quantities of chocolate to the correct temperature. This ensures that the chocolate, when cooled, will dry to a smooth, shiny finish instead of a clumpy gray mess. My own Lucy and Ethel moment would come later, as Torben guided me into a walk-in cooler as I came face-to-face with dozens of trays of chocolate in every shape and size imaginable. As he pulled baking sheets filled to the brim with chocolates in every shape and size, Torben described their chocolate covered contents, such as the adorable bite-sized green frogs destined for Dean & Deluca.
Knipschildt has over 40 different types of truffles, although some are commissioned by and exclusively available to clients such as Dean & Deluca, many are available in the Café and online. My pick for truffle MVP? I have two. For the occasional treat I'd snag a salted caramel truffle, but for an everyday indulgence I'd take a small square of the burnt caramel and hawaiian sea salt.
Whether you have the ingredients or the ambition to take on a truffle in your own kitchen, I suggest you take an exploratory visit to South Norwalk's chocolate empire and give this Knipschildt recipe a try.
Knipschildt Chocolatier's 71% Classic Hand Rolled Truffle
For the Ganache:
71% dark chocolate
1 Quarts Heavy Cream
4 oz Honey 4 oz Butter
8 oz 71% dark chocolate
Dark cocoa powder (unsweetened )
Boil heavy cream and sugar. in a separate bowl add your finely chopped chocolate. Once it has been brought up to a boil, pour it slowly over the chocolate while whisking following add the butter once the mixture has reached body temperature, once combined set a side in a cool place but not the refrigerator. When the ganache has set (approximately 6 hours) then you can refrigerate the ganache how ever cover tightly with plastic wrap before refrigeration. Leave refrigerated for 1 hour before rolling the ganache in small balls, place them on a tray and refrigerate again for approximately 20 min.
Melt the 8oz of dark chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave oven.
Wear a plastic glove and dip your fingers in the melted chocolate, thereafter take the ganache balls and cover in the chocolate and roll them in the dark unsweetened cocoa powder .
Allow the truffles to set for 5-10 min .
Serve and enjoy.