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Learn to Make Gourmet Truffles in Your Own Kitchen with Katherine Anne Confections

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jul 27, 2011 4:00PM

"I want to demystify the art of making truffles. It's not that complicated!" On that reassuring note, I began a truffle-making class with Katherine Anne Duncan, founder of Katherine Anne Confections. I'd visited Katherine before, and been impressed by her truffles, dipped caramels and other goodies - but things have moved forward for her company. No longer working out of a shared kitchen, Katherine now has her own, dedicated space in Logan Square where she can produce truffles and hold classes and events. I joined other truffle novices, rolled up our sleeves and got busy.

First off, let's make this clear - I had no experience with chocolate at all. I secretly always thought chocolate-making was one of those things that required experience from birth; if you didn't roll truffles at your mother's knee, you were pretty much screwed. I couldn't have been more wrong. At the end of about 3 hours work, I took home two full batches of excellent, hand-rolled truffles that would've made me the life of any party. And I'm pretty sure I could do it again.

The very best part about Katherine's classes is that they don't have a pre-set program. Students get some basic recipes, but the flavors they create are all their own. Katherine and her team open up the pantry and lay out every ingredient in the house, and small groups of students pick out the combinations they want to try. They opened up the whole liquor cabinet, picked herbs from the planters out back and proffered jars of spices and flavorings for us to smell, taste and poke at. One team during our class ended up choosing to make a coffee-infused truffle with chunks of caramel. My group went the tropical drink route, using a combination of rum, peach balsamic vinegar and coconut with white chocolate. Both tasted wonderful.

During the event, Katherine served wine and light appetizers - a must while the chocolate was sitting in the freezer. After the chocolate was frozen, we rolled the truffles, dipping some of them into ginger sugar. I won't give away the whole process - you have to take the class for that! Every participant took home a huge box of truffles, some from their team and some from others, along with a gorgeous recipe sheet and primer for how to reproduce the experiment at home.

If you want to join one of the classes yourself (and you should) sign up on Katherine's website. The next class is Thursday, August 11, and it costs $50 per person. That includes recipes, instruction, all the materials, wine, appetizers and, of course, the truffles to take home. If you're really ambitious, contact Katherine directly to set up a party for your friends or company.