Summer Foraging Recipe: Elderberry-Blueberry Jam with Chia Seeds

In the woodland valleys of Central California, Elderflower trees have been in bloom all spring with their prolific, lacy white blossoms.  I've enjoyed making Elderflower syrup, candied elderflowers and sweet Elderflower Tempura.  A few days ago, I noticed that some of the trees are starting to bear fruit -- diminutive, tart little berries, deep purplish-blue growing in heavy clusters.  

Inspired by a love of biscuits and jam, foraging, and adapted from a recipe from Simply Beyond Herbs, I whipped up a simple and delicious jam made from the foraged Elderberries, fresh blueberries and using chia seeds for a perfect jammy consistency.

Enjoy and Happy Foraging!
PrintWith ImageWithout Image Elderberry-Blueberry Chia JamYield: One half-pint jarAuthor: Jenn Erickson Prep time: 10 MCook time: 10 MTotal time: 20 M An easy and delicious sweet-tart jam to make from foraged Elderberries. Ingredients:1 1/2 cups elderberries, rinsedPinch of salt1 cup blueberries, rinsed2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds1/2 Tabl…

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Dark Chocolate Honey Truffles {recipe}

Chocolate truffles ~ Simple to make and simply divine, yet there's an art to it.  I have Chef Andre, my chocolatiering teacher, to thank for sharing his artfully calibrated recipes for the perfect melt-in-your-mouth truffles.  With the right truffle recipe as your base, you can begin to add and customize flavors ~ liquor laced, coffee kissed, and even tea infused.  My favorite, above all, is the honey truffle.  The honey adds just a hint of those sweet, floral honey notes that pair so harmoniously with the silky dark chocolate.

The granulated honey garnish is optional, but it adds a nice little contrast of texture and color and brings the subtle honey essence of the inside to the outside.  

 If you can work a stovetop or microwave and stir with a whisk, you can make divine honey truffles that will have your friends wondering if you've been to culinary school.

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Dark Chocolate Honey Truffles
 (makes approx. 30)

1 1/2 cups 60% Cacao Chocolate, chopped (*see below for a grocery store pick)
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons butter, softened
2 Tablespoons honey

For cocoa rolled truffles:  1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
For chocolate dipped truffles:  10 ounces 60% Cacao Chocolate and 1 Tablespoon vegetable shortening
For garnish:  1 Tablespoon granulated honey

Step 1:  Microwave method

In a microwave-safe bowl, place chopped chocolate, cream and honey.  Microwave at medium power till cream begins to boil.  Let sit for two minutes, then whisk until smooth.  Stir in butter.

Step 1:  Stove-top method

Place chopped chocolate and honey in a medium bowl.  In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil.  Pour boiling cream over the bowl of honey and chocolate.  Let sit for two minutes, then whisk until smooth.  Stir in butter.

Step 2:  Refrigerate until firm (at least two hours)

Step 3:  Line a tray with parchment or wax paper.  With a Tablespoon or Tablespoon scoop (#60), scoop chilled truffle ganache from the bowl and place on the lined tray.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.  

 Tip:  It's best to work in a cold room when making truffles.
Step 4: (optional, only if you want perfectly round truffles):  Remove tray from refrigerator and, working quickly, roll each chocolate ball between your palms to create a smooth, uniform shape.  

At this point you can simply roll the truffles in unsweetened cocoa powder, or continue if you wish to have them chocolate dipped.  If chocolate dipping, place the tray in the refrigerator while you melt the chocolate.
Step 5: (optional, if you want chocolate dipped truffles) In the microwave, or in a double-boiler, melt half of the chocolate over low heat.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the other half of the chocolate and tablespoon of shortening (the shortening softens the chocolate so that it isn't rock hard when it sets)Set aside until the chocolate begins to lose its shine.  Then, return the chocolate to the microwave or double-boiler and warm, just until smooth and glossy, over very low heat.

Step 6:   Dip refrigerated truffles in the melted chocolate, one at a time.  You may use a candy dipping tool, or insert a toothpick or skewer partially through the top of a truffle.  Dip quickly into melted chocolate, then shake off excess.  Hold over the lined tray and use a second toothpick or skewer to gently nudge the truffle off of the stick.  You can dip the stick back into the melted chocolate to get just a dab of chocolate to touch-up any imperfections.

Step 7:  (optional) Immediately after chocolate dipping, sprinkle truffle with a bit of granulated honey.  Repeat with remaining truffles.

If the room is too warm for the chocolate to set, return the tray of finished truffles to the refrigerator.  Serve at room temperature, but store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

*A note about chocolate:    It's important to invest in high quality chocolate if you want a high quality end-result.  Most conventional chocolate chips are not ideal for candy-making.  However, Ghirardelli chocolate is an exception.  You can find it in most grocery stores at a reasonable price.  The 60% Cacao chips work beautifully in this recipe. 
This post has been linked-up with the fabulous "Think Pink Sunday" party at Flamingo Toes! 

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