Monday, March 26, 2012

Lemon-Blueberry White Chocolate Fizzy Truffles: Celebrating My Inner Child with Cook the Books: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

My inner child and I hang out a lot. We like Disney movies. We think popcorn makes a perfectly fine dinner and that chocolate should be its own food group. We will take mashed potatoes over most any side dish--or we will just eat a bowl of them for dinner. We like to stay up late and read under the covers--even though we should be getting plenty of sleep. We pretty much do what we want, when we want to do it. So when I selected Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl as the February/March pick for Cook the Books (the best bi-monthly virtual foodie book club out there hosted by Rachel, Jo and I), and I told everyone it was "to help us get in touch with our inner child," it was petty easy to locate mine.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a book I frequently toted home from the school library, along with Dahl's James and the Giant Peach, until I got my own Scholastic paperback copies. Even as a child I loved how fantastical, dark and somewhat inappropriate it was. I loved the story about how "honest, obedient, loyal, trustworthy, brave, good, kind and starving" Charlie Bucket wins one of five golden tickets to visit Mr. Wonka's secret chocolate factory along with four (very bad and spoiled) other children to discover the wonders contained there. I liked the moral at its core about how bad behavior by children and adults results in terrible (but darkly humorous) things happening to them, while having a good character and doing the right thing leads to good and magical things happening. It's karma baby!

I wanted to be like Charlie Bucket (just not the poor, starving, living with six adults in a tiny freezing cold house part), and visit Mr. Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory and see The Chocolate Room, with it's pure chocolate river, mint grass and candied buttercups. I wanted to drink some Fizzy Lifting Drinks, suck on an Everlasting Gobstopper and wonder over the Square Candies That Look Round. And, once Mr. Wonka got the kinks worked out of course, I wanted to try a stick of the most "amazing and fabulous and sensational gum in the world!" from The Great Gum Machine and enjoy a splendid three-course meal in a little gray stick of chewing gum.

Although it is one my favorite parts in the book (and the movies--both of which my inner child and I own. BTW: We like the original Gene Wilder movie version best, my inner child and me), I definitely did not want to be like Violet Beuaregarde and chew the gum, turn purple and swell up into a huge round blueberry and be rolled off to the juicing room by ten Oompa-Loompas. Still, I took some inspiration from obnoxious gum-chewing Violet, along with those Fizzy Lifting Drinks to create Lemon-Blueberry White Chocolate Fizzy Truffles.

These truffles are not quite as "pretty" as I was hoping for. My idea for them came from standing in line at Whole Foods and seeing a small display of lemon Vita Rocks (a vitamin version of pop rocks). Pop Rocks = popping/fizzing = fun! I knew I wanted to make a truffle of some sort and lemon pairs well with white chocolate. Lemon also goes well with blueberry, and blueberries led right to Violet Beuaregarde, so I decided to place a whole fresh blueberry in the center of each lemony truffle and top with the Vita Rocks and some candied violets for some pretty yellow and purple truffle treats. Of course a smart person would have purchased the Vita Rocks then and there but I had already paid and didn't want to go back. Of course you can guess what happened when I went back a week later... they were out of all Vita Rocks. A quick trip to a nearby candy store netted me some tropical and strawberry Pop Rocks so it was game on--just a bit more multi-colored and with no vitamins. ;-) In addition to the sprinkling on top of the Pop Rocks, I placed a few "rocks" inside each truffle ball with the blueberry, and the result is a nice slow "crackling" kind of pop at the first bite, then a lingering tingly sparkle that along with the juicy fresh berry, provides a bit of uplifting refreshment at the end of the sweet truffle. Lightly lemony, sweet and very pleasing to both me and my inner child!

The white chocolate lemon truffle base recipe was adapted from here.

Lemon-Blueberry White Chocolate Fizzy Truffles
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 24 truffles)

Ingredients for: White Chocolate Lemon Truffle Base:
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp heavy cream
grated zest of 1 lemon
9 oz good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
pinch of salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
2 tsp freshly-squeezed, strained lemon juice
a drop or two of yellow food coloring (optional)

Ingredients for Lemon-Blueberry White Chocolate Fizzy Truffles
White Chocolate Lemon Truffle Base
about 2 dozen fresh blueberries, washed gently and dried completely
2 packs Vita Rocks (lemon) or Pop Rocks (color/flavor of your choice)
granulated white sugar to roll truffles into
candied violets (optional)

Directions for White Chocolate Lemon Truffle Base:
In small, heavy, non-reactive saucepan, combine the heavy cream and lemon zest. Heat over low, until the cream begins to simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, cover tightly with a plate or lid and let stand for 20-25 minutes.

Combine white chocolate pieces, butter slices and a pinch of salt in a heatproof bowl. Reheat the lemon cream mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it returns to a simmer. Remove the mixture from heat and strain through a fine-meshed strainer into the bowl with the white chocolate mixture. Press down on the lemon zest left in the strainer with a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as possible from it.

Place the mixture over a double boiler or a pot (sized so bowl of white chocolate mixture rests on top easily) of warm water on low heat (water must not touch bottom of bowl). Stir the white chocolate mixture frequently just until almost melted, then remove the bowl from the warm pot and stir until the chocolate mixture is completely melted and smooth. Carefully stir in the lemon juice and a drop or two of yellow food coloring if using, and transfer the mixture to a small bowl. Chill at least 4 hours, covering the bowl tightly once the mixture is cold.

Directions for making Lemon-Blueberry White Chocolate Truffles:
On 3 small dry plates, place granulated sugar, Vita Rocks/ Pop Rocks, and candied violets if using--placing each item on a separate plate. Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, scoop enough white chocolate to form small balls of about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Insert one blueberry and a pinch of Vita Rocks/Pop Rocks inside chocolate and roll the chocolate around the center until the blueberries are covered. Roll the filled truffle in granulated sugar until lightly coated. Dip the top of the truffle ball into the Vita Rocks/Pop Rocks and garnish with candied violets if using. Firm up in refrigerator before serving. Store truffles airtight in refrigerator for a few days or freeze for longer storage.

(Note: Pop Rocks are most effective when fresh and will lose some of their popping action after time. Keep hands very dry while working with Pop Rocks or they will be activated. If you live in a humid climate--prepare yourself for random popping as some of the Pop Rocks may pop while they are sitting on the plate. I jumped!) ;-)

This was a fun trip back to childhood with both the book and with the fizzy truffles. I was excited to find a 1964 hardback edition of the book (just like I used to borrow from the school library) at Powell's Books on my trip to Portland back in October. This book is fun for all ages and a good, easy read that puts me in a happy place and is back in my permanent book collection.

I am sneaking this into Cook the Books right before the deadline (bad host!) and so I'll be rounding up all the wonderful entries on the Cook the Book site in a day or two. I'll also be announcing our wonderful judges for this round on that post too.

If you like to read and cook, come join in our April-May round when we will be reading The United States of Arugula, hosted by Jo of Food Junkie Not Junk Food.

Do you have a favorite book from your childhood?


  1. This was always a favorite book of mine as well...I so wanted it to be true!  These truffles look so tasty! I would have trouble not just popping them in my mouth, one after another.

  2. I like your ingenuity in creating this cool new treat. Debby Wonka!  I love those old hardbacks too and overwhelmed on my visit to Powell's Bookstore some years back in downtown Portland. They owned a whole block, chock full of books!

  3. Awesome post! Very fun looking recipe :)

  4. FUN Deb!!  I wish I had read his books as a kid - I know I would have loved them as much as you did.  Fortunately I get to introduce my kids to them. I love how playful and colorful these truffles are - so perfectly inspired! thanks for such a fabulous choice of book this round :D

  5. My husband adores popping candy and would be so happy if I made these for him.   It sounds like a lot of effort but I'm going to bookmark them anyway and hopefully for him I'll get around to it one day!

  6. Great fizzy truffles Deb!  You really let loose with your inner child there.  I think everyone enjoyed being silly on this pick.

  7. Oh my goodness Deb.    This looks delicious and you went over the top with creativeness!     Really, the wallpaper that Rachel posted, the tempering, the homemade little yogurt feels really inadequate.    These look so good and I bet the brats would have gobbled them up while Charlie savored his!

  8. What an adorable idea!  Love the idea of the pop rocks!

  9. Thanks everyone! These were fun to make and even more fun to eat! ;-)

  10. Hi Deb!

    My name is Madison and I work for To Go Brands, the company that makes VitaRocks! I was wondering if it would be ok to post your recipe on our website. I love it!


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