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  • 2 pounds Dark coating chocolate (Merckens Yucatan)
  • 6 ounces Unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 3 ounces Unsalted butter
  • 3 dl (1 1/4 cup) Cointreau

Chop the chocolate. Melt together with the butter over simmering water. Stir continuously with a rubber spatula. Don't let water get into the chocolate. Warm the Cointreau to the same temperature as the chocolate. Slowly blend the Cointreau into the chocolate (still over the water). Stir continuously. Do this slowly (as if you were making Hollandaise). Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture until cool and somewhat thickened. (Takes about 5 minutes; you'll need a good mixer.) Line a large baking sheet (11 x 17) with wax paper. Pour in the truffle mix. (This will fill the pan.) Chill in the refrigerator until solid. Use a pizza cutter to cut the stuff into strips (peel off the wax paper first), then into squares. Take each one, mash it in your palm, and roll in cocoa. Chill some more. Substitute other liqueurs (Chambord, Amaretto, Kahlua) and coatings (chopped roasted almonds, finely chopped candied orange peel, coffee beans run through a nutmeg grinder, etc.) . Melt some chocolate over hot water, let it cool slowly until it just thickens (80-84 degrees F). Now warm the chocolate gently and slowly until it thins slightly. The temperature should be above 85 degrees, but below 91 degrees. "Should the temperature accidentally exceed 91 degrees while it is being used, it will be noticeable that it quickly runs off the center that is being coated and takes much longer to set. The only solution is to cool the chocolate again to 80-82 degrees and warm it once more to the working temperature. These maximum working temperatures are therefore absolutely critical, and a great deal of time can be wasted warming and cooling couverature which has thinned because it accidentally became too hot. The temperature of the room you work in should not exceed 70 degrees. "The ideal temperature is exactly 22 degrees less than the chocolate. In other words, if the couverature is 89 degrees, the room temperature should be 67 degrees." Pre-bottom all centers -- that is, smear a little couverature on what will be the bottom of the center with the back of a spoon and place it, bottom side up, on a plate. This lets you check that the couverature is properly tempered. After the bases have set and hardened a little, stir the couverature thoroughly, trying not to get too many air-bubbles in. Drop a center into the couverature, bottom down and, with an ordinary fork, slightly warmed, push it down to submerge it fully. Immediately, pick it out with the fork, tap the fork on the side of the bowl in order to settle the chocolate, and wipe any excess from underneath the fork. Transfer the center to a sheet of wax paper. Stir the couverature after depositing each center to keep it well mixed.

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