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the figs that didn’t fit

Recipe: chocolate-dipped brandy truffle figs

January was a marked improvement over December for us as we enjoyed better (more) snow and could focus on work and exercise in Crested Butte without the distraction and stress of the holidays. The Nordic trails and mountain resorts had mostly emptied of traveling guests, which is how we like it – but especially with an ongoing pandemic. The quiet trails presented an opportunity to work with the pups off-leash. They both made great progress and had heaps of fun.


snow, mountains, skis, and a good pup

skiing any powder we could get

neva being calm and happy on a skijoring session

beautiful front range sunsets

more sun than snow in nederland



Yuki turned three years old on Monday. She hasn’t been a baby for a while now, but she’s still a baby. One of our many nicknames for Yuki is Baby because her spec sheet at RezDawg Rescue listed “Baby” in her age field. We love that little nugget so much. You can see birthday videos on my Instagram here.

birthday yuki!



Back in early December, Jeremy and I gathered a bunch of goodies for care packages to send to our parents. We don’t celebrate Christmas nor do we send holiday gifts, but we thought our sets of parents needed some cheering up. They had all been so good about not socializing and keeping safe, and we knew they missed seeing friends, going out, seeing family, and most of all – their grandchildren. I packed as much as I could in the boxes and shipped them out before the huge postal service holiday clog. Sadly, a box of chocolate figs I found at Trader Joe’s didn’t fit in the boxes. Eventually, we tried some. They were AMAZING and of course the next time we were at Trader Joe’s they were gone – one of those ephemeral seasonal items.

The figs were so delightful that they stuck in my mind for a month, at which point I decided to recreate them myself. A brandy truffle stuffed into a dried fig and dipped in chocolate. A note on dried figs: I liked the size and texture of the dried golden figs from Trader Joe’s (this isn’t an ad, I just shop there). They were moist and sweet without being too fragile and sticky to handle. I didn’t like the dried figs from Costco which were dry, tough, and flavorless. When I returned the bag, they informed me that many other people had similar complaints/returns. And I did not bother finding them at Whole Foods because they’ve turned the entire bulk foods area into a staging ground for deliveries.


dried figs, chocolate, brandy, heavy cream



Making the ganache for the brandy truffle is straightforward. I originally used an ounce of brandy for a half pound of semisweet chocolate. It works, but I definitely prefer a punchier booze presence than a subtle flavoring. Next time I’ll up that to 2 ounces, but go by your taste.

pour hot cream over chopped chocolate

stir in the brandy

let cool completely



While the ganache cools, prepare the figs by slicing a slit in the side of each one. This is also a good opportunity to inspect the figs for smut from multiple species of Aspergillus (fungi) which results in black powdery spores on the inside of the fig. If you find one, chuck it, don’t eat it. I usually find 1 in 50. After cutting the fig open, I push the seeds and guts to the sides to form a pouch. This makes it easier to stuff the fig with ganache. I pack the figs full and sometimes they don’t seal completely around the truffle. That’s okay. Just smooth the seam and after dipping in chocolate, no one will know the difference.

stuffing the figs with brandy truffle

filled



The last step is dipping the figs in chocolate. This not only covers up any blemishes, but adds a lovely snap-like texture to contrast with the creamy center, chewy fruit, and crunchy seeds. You can do a simple melt-and-dip by gently heating the chocolate over a water bath or in the microwave (on low or half power, stirring every 30 seconds until melted). This is quick, but the resulting chocolate shell won’t have that professional look to it. You can also temper the chocolate, which is more involved and certainly more fussy. The end product will be a chocolate shell that is shiny, snaps, and is more shelf-stable. I go for tempering about 95% of the time. Allow the chocolate to set before serving or storing. Another nice thing about tempered chocolate is that it sets faster than melted chocolate.

dip in tempered or melted chocolate

let the chocolate set on wax paper, parchment paper, or silpat



When the figs are ready, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months or in a cool, dark area for a week or two. My brandy truffle figs were slightly smaller than the store-bought ones and I actually like them smaller. I think 1- or 2-bite figs are the best size and offer the best ratio of truffle to fig to chocolate shell. They are addictive little treats and make great gifts (ask my neighbors!).

i never “fig”ured i would love these so much


Chocolate-Dipped Brandy Truffle Figs
[print recipe]
inspired by Trader Joe’s

1/2 lb. (8 oz. or 225g) bittersweet or semisweet dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (4 oz. or 120 ml) heavy cream
2 tbsps brandy (or more to taste – I like 3-4 tbsps)
dried figs (I prefer smaller, moist ones)
1 lb. dark chocolate (either to melt or to temper)

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let stand for a couple of minutes. Stir the chocolate and cream until smooth, then stir in the brandy. Let the truffle mixture cool. Using a paring knife, make a slit on the side of each fig from top to bottom. Stuff each fig with enough truffle mixture to fill out the fig’s shape without bursting. It’s okay if the fig doesn’t close completely around the truffle mixture. Smooth the seam of the fig. Gently melt or temper the remaining pound of dark chocolate.

To melt chocolate: Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and microwave on half power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between each heating, until the chocolate has melted. Or you can set the bowl of chocolate over a hot water bath until melted (but don’t let any water get into the chocolate or it will seize). This chocolate is melted, but not tempered.

To temper the chocolate (seed method): Place all but 10 chocolate chips or chocolate pieces in the top of a double boiler or in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (about 2 inches deep). Make sure the bowl is wider than the pan because you don’t want water getting into the chocolate or all of it will seize. Stir until the chocolate has melted completely, monitoring the temperature of the chocolate. When it reaches 112°F, remove the bowl from the water bath (it will continue to rise – that’s fine because we are targeting a final temperature of 118-120°F) and set it on an ice pack or a larger bowl of ice to start cooling it. Stir the chocolate constantly to promote proper cocoa butter crystal formation for tempering. Continue to monitor the temperature. When the chocolate reaches 95°F, remove the bowl from the ice pack or ice bath and toss in the chocolate chips. This is called seeding and should encourage the formation of good crystals for tempering. Keep stirring until the chocolate reaches 91°F. Your dark chocolate is now in temper and will remain so until about 87°F (it varies by a degree or so depending on the brand of dark chocolate). To maintain the temperature range, you can place your chocolate vessel in a sous vide bath set at your desired temperature (I set mine at 91°F) or set the vessel over a small saucepan of warmed water – although this requires constant monitoring and can get very squirrelly.

Dip each fig into the melted or tempered chocolate. Allow the excess chocolate to drip off, then set the fig on parchment, wax paper, or silpat. When the chocolate has set, store the truffles in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months or in a cool, dark location for 1-2 weeks. I made about 50 1-inch diameter figs.


more goodness from the use real butter archives

chocolate truffles chocolate-dipped key lime pears chocolate-dipped strawberries strawberry pate de fruits

8 nibbles at “the figs that didn’t fit”

  1. JenMarie says:

    I love dried figs — they’ve become a daily snack. Sometimes with a piece of chocolate, so I really need to try this recipe. Do you ever order from nuts.com? They have incredible selection of dried fruits and nuts (and so so so much more — lots of baking supplies, etc). Family owned and the shipping is faster than any other place I order from. I’ve become a big fan.

  2. Robin says:

    I also sent a box stuffed full of TJ’s goodies to my family, and I did manage to squeeze the fig truffles in. My dad said that they were the best chocolates he’s ever had. When he said over the phone “you would really like them” it just really hit me, one of those moments of unexpected pandemic sadness/isolation. I am not venturing into any stores for the time being but I have been hoarding my last tub of dried figs, and this is clearly the fate they were destined for. Thank you!

  3. Zeynep Ozsoy says:

    Costco’s dried figs were not great when I got some in August, but our December trip to Costco resulted in pretty good figs. I am guessing it has something to do with the seasons – August too early for the new harvest and possibly last year’s harvest. As most dried figs in US are from Turkey I take great pride in them and am disappointed when they don’t live up to my standards. My favorite way of eating dried figs is with a walnut half stuffed in them but those truffles look amazing!

  4. Helen Harrand says:

    It’s funny, I had some ganache left from doing something over the holidays and I stuffed figs too! Unfortunately I didn’t cover them but they were delicious nonetheless. I also am going to do the same with prunes next time too. We had truffle stuffed prunes years ago and they were amazing!

  5. Mary-Karen Euler says:

    These look divine! And it was such a joy to view your splendid photographs. The powder skiing picture does prompt me to caution you about the extreme avalanche danger this year. Meanwhile, I do think in my next life I’d like come back as one of your pups! ;-)

  6. Pey-Lih says:

    Absolutely divine and delightful! Wow…way to go – make your own – that’s my thinking, too. Sprouts ran out of their white chocolate barks with cranberries and pistachios, so I made my own and sent a food package to my brother and mom in Illinois. We also don’t celebrate the Christmas holiday, but we certainly enjoyed it and caught up with sleep, cooking, gardening, and reading. It can be a stressful holiday for many, but it’s relaxing for us.

    Thank you for the chocolate fig recipe – I will use this recipe for gifts the next time we fly to the UK to visit Ben’s parents.

  7. Jesse-Gabriel says:

    Ein einfaches aber ganz besonderes Rezept, die Fotografie wie immer großartig!
    Viele Grüße sendet,
    Jesse-Gabriel aus Berlin

  8. jenyu says:

    JenMarie – I haven’t ordered from them before, but thank you for bringing them to my attention! Will definitely check them out xo

    Robin – Aw, so sweet. I hope that you have either visited with or will visit with you family soon! xxoo

    Zeynep – I’m sure it varies with the season as Costco’s fresh produce can be awesome to meh from week to week. I love that you take pride in the Turkish figs!! <3

    Helen - I have to agree with you because there were some figs that I stuffed and ate because 1) I got tired of enrobing in chocolate and 2) they're really good just like that! :)

    MK - Yes, we always check the latest avy forecasts for our local zones as well as monitor conditions and choose terrain carefully. We also carry avy beacons/probe/etc. and have taken the avy 1 safety course.

    Pey-Lih - Thank you!

    Jesse-Gabriel - So kind of you, thanks xoxo

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