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Nut balls!
January 22, 2013 8:41 PM   Subscribe

For the cooks and bakers and candy makers out there, what do you do when you need to roll a lot of little balls of foodstuff? Are there any amazing tricks to get multiple smooth rounded orbs of delicious at a time?

I make truffles and buckeyes and other fun nutty chocolatey things in the winter. Also, however, in the winter, my joints, especially in my hands and wrists, get very vocal in their complaining at such ill-treatment.(They also complain about things like holding pens or opening doors, so i'm not rolling into deep error, I assure you) I really really really want to make some buckeyes big time shiny style tonight, but my wrists are saying no no no at the thought of rolling all those balls of nut butter one by one. Assuming I have all possible equipment, is there a tutorial or trick to speedily and efficiently roll a bunch of ill shaped nuggets of yum into smooth spherical balls of soon-to-be-yummierness?
I've tried putting the gobbets on a cookies sheet and putting a big tupperware top on them and circulating it around. Results were: too smooshy, not roll-ey enough.
posted by Cold Lurkey to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do they have to be super perfectly smooth? I've used a melon baller (or adjustable ice cream scoop) for making bourbon balls before; I imagine that if you had a small spoon that easily fit inside, you could form a sphere without too much wrist movement. Alternatively, candy mold?
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:47 PM on January 22, 2013


Using equipment: use a trigger-style ice cream scoop to produce evenly sized balls and, if necessary, touch them up by hand. (But then there's the question of whether the trigger gives you twinges.)

Using no specialty equipment: splat the stuff (ganache, cookie dough, whatever) into a rough line onto a long piece of plastic wrap. Fold in the ends with plenty of overlap*, wrap the sides shut, and roll the whole thing into a log inside the plastic wrap. I do this by gently rolling the whole log against the counter.

When you have a long, uniformly thick roll of truffle, you can unwrap it and cut it into uniform nuggets, then quickly round the nuggets into balls. This cuts down on the hands-on time pretty dramatically over my previous method of doling it out with two spoons, then rolling by hand.

Depending on the texture, you may find that chilling it helps make it easier to manage and quicker to roll.
posted by Elsa at 8:51 PM on January 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


This is a kind of cheating, but the shortcut to marble-round, flawless truffles is pre-formed hollow chocolate spheres or hemispheres. You fill a pastry bag up with your ganache (or whatever) and pipe it in. Molds are available if you're comfortable tempering chocolate. I'm sure they could be filled with peanut butter buckeye innards in a pinch.
posted by pullayup at 9:12 PM on January 22, 2013


Chilling your dough/fondant/whatever is a big help. Eight hours. No, seriously! Then just take out enough to work on a bit at a time, leaving the big bowl in the fridge until you work your way through to the last batch.
posted by Lynsey at 9:50 PM on January 22, 2013


Double-sided mold to get perfectly round pieces
posted by JABof72 at 10:22 PM on January 22, 2013


If you can find some hard balls of about the right size, maybe you could put them between the tupperware container and the cookie sheet to minimize the squish effect? Not sure how it will work, but might be worth a try.
posted by Lady Li at 11:29 PM on January 22, 2013


Pierre Hermé says about truffles: just use a pastry bag and pipe'em. It took me a batch or three before they vaguely started resembling anything spherical. But as with most things pastry: patience is your friend. I took a snapshot of the visual instructions and put them online. Text is in Hollandish, but it pretty much explains itself.
posted by ouke at 1:11 AM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


With regards to truffles, recall that your goal is make them look like, well, truffles. Spherical is merely a confectioner showing off. I have the chocolate at a temp where it's just workable and then pinch a piece, squeeze and roll in cocoa powder so it looks like it was just dug up.
posted by plinth at 5:01 AM on January 23, 2013


The trick that I've always used to minimize the work and maximize the buckeye output is to invite people over to help.
posted by garlic at 7:21 AM on January 23, 2013


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