Truffles are as old as dirt, at least when referring to the prized fungus known worldwide for its heady umami aroma. Chocolate truffles, fashioned after this rare prize, are a relatively recent innovation. Legend has it that the rich confections we know and love were originally created by accident, sometime between 1890 and 1920. French chef Auguste Escoffier is often credited as the first to mistakenly pour hot cream over chocolate chunks instead of sugar and eggs, intending to make a classic pastry cream. Personally, I have my doubts about the veracity of this claim, but his renowned patisserie certainly did kick-start their astronomic rise in popularity.
The word “truffle” comes from a Latin word tūber or the Vulgar Latin tufera, meaning “swelling” or “lump.” Especially when rolled in cocoa powder, evoking a fresh coating of dirt, their striking likeness to mushrooms easily explains the name. While I’ve previously worked to bridge the gap between candy and spore, I now have a new secret ingredient in my arsenal: Sugimoto Shiitake Powder.
Foraging for Flavor
As autumn paints the world with its warm hues and Halloween approaches, it’s the perfect time to forage for mushrooms and indulge in sweet treats alike. Bringing together the richness of chocolate, the nuttiness of walnuts, the earthy sweetness of dates, and the unique umami notes of shiitake powder, these mushroom-shaped truffles are the epitome of fall charm, both in taste and presentation.
Sweet, Salt, and Savory
At the heart of these exquisite truffles lies Sugimoto Shiitake Powder, a secret ingredient that elevates the flavors to a new level. Made from carefully selected shiitake mushrooms, this powder infuses the truffles with a subtle umami taste, without inherent mushroom-y flavor, adding depth and complexity that’s both surprising and pleasing to the palate. It harmonizes with the delicate touch of miso paste, lending a subtly salty finish, punctuating the whole mouthful with a bold flourish.
Easy and Adaptable
While the novelty of having a mushroom-shaped chocolate truffle is a large part of the visual appeal, you could certainly keep it simple and make traditional, stemless rounds instead. What’s more, you can use this basic formula as your palate to paint with a wide range of complimentary flavors, such as:
- Orange zest
- Mint extract
- Pumpkin spice
- Instant coffee powder
- Powdered raspberries
To infuse your truffles with a touch of fall and Halloween spirit, consider lightly dusting the mushroom caps with cinnamon or powdered sugar. These subtle additions evoke the essence of autumn leaves and festive celebrations.
Smarter Sweets for Halloween
These wholesome treats aren’t just a delicious indulgence; they’re also a healthier alternative to store-bought Halloween candy. Perfect for serving at parties, these truffles are bound to bewitch the taste buds while keeping sugar in check.
Each little bite packs in immense chocolate flavor, with the caramel-sweetness of dates for body. They’re easy to sink your teeth into thanks to their genuinely fudgy texture, set off by a satisfying crunch from your “stem” of choice. Both elegant and whimsical, decadent and wholesome, umami truffles are the best of all worlds, sweet, savory, and salty alike.