I've always thought that uncoated truffles looked a little like the dung balls certain beetles roll up. Here's my version of a Dung Beetle, made of Marzipan, to roll away your truffle center.
I've used my friend Ryan's truffle recipe for the 'Dung Ball' but you can use any hard to the touch truffle ( such as this awesome instructable ). If you can easily pick it up, then you can use it for a dung ball.
Step 1: Gather Your Beetle Makings.
So, to make mini marzipan dung beetles for your truffles, you will need the following:
A dung ball. Or a truffle center. :)
Almond Paste - Note that I didn't have marzipan, so I used almond paste. They have the same ingredients (almonds, sugar and glucose) but in slightly different proportions. If you use marzipan rather than Almond paste, skip step 2.
Powdered sugar - Maybe half a cup. If you are using marzipan, rather than almond paste, you'll need even less. It's the marzipan equivalent of dusting your hands with flour.
A bit of water
Something sharp for pattern making
Step 2: Kneed Your Almond Paste With Powdered Sugar Until Smooth
Open your almond paste and get it out of the can. For me, this required a can opener, a spoon, some cuss words, and a ninja like catch as I launched a gob of it at my head. Don't worry, I'm ok.
Powder your counter with a bit of sugar and dust your almond paste with a bit more. Now you kneed the almond paste like bread dough or clay. Whenever it gets too sticky to handle, dust it again with powdered sugar. You can also have a bowl with some powdered sugar in it, and just roll the almond paste ball around in there when it gets sticky; this should coat it with sugar so that you can go back to kneading.
Step 3: Coloring Your Beetle.
I don't know about you, but I like my beetles all funny colored. I didn't have any iridescent food coloring on hand, so I decided to go for a swirly brown color.
Make a well in the center of your almond paste, and put the following colors into it (for a dun grayish beetle):
Carefully fold and mix. I'd put it over a bowl to mix it, so it doesn't sprinkle food coloring onto your counter. Note that you WILL have stained hands after this.
You may need to add more powdered sugar, as you've added some moisture with the food color. Just keep mixing and turning.
Step 4: Inspiration!
Go find some dung beetle pictures. Mine isn't exactly anatomically correct (I had some head trouble) but at least the legs are coming out of his thorax, rather than his shell.
Step 5: Make Your Beetle.
Note: I'm using some lighter colored almond paste than the batch from the last step.
Take about a quarter-sized hunk of almond paste, and roll it into a ball.
Press the ball slightly, and make it into a flat oval.
Step 6: And I'll Form the Head!
Add the 'head' (I know, not really his head,) and a split for wings. I used my needle for this, but any sculpting thingy would work.
Step 7: Measure the Beetle Against It's Dung Ball.
Look, it's the right size! And on the ::cough:: first, try!
Once you like your beetlebody, use a bit of melted chocolate to attact him to the dung ball. This chocolate is left over from covering the rest of the truffles.
Step 8: Make and Attatch the Legs.
Roll out 3 pairs of legs; long, shorter, and shortest. Note that the almond paste isn't strong enough to hold up the beetle; the chocolate on the butt does that. These are just pretty little legs.
Attach the legs by tucking them under the body. You may want to put a bit of water on the 'attaching' part, and blend them with something sharp; I used the needle. Press the other end to the beetle.
I put two up high, and two half way up. The third pair I put against the ground.
Step 9: All Done!
I added a bit of detail in the the wing lines and some dots you can't see in this picture.
Things I would have done different:
Make a more anatomically correct beetle. I like the way the real ones look.
Use something stronger for legs. Not sure what, though. Perhaps just stiffer almond paste?
Make the beetle black instead of brownish. Perhaps use some 'luster dust'?
Make a thousand! Beetle MANIA!
Anyway, this was my first instructable. If you make a dung beetle, please post a picture! I'd love to see them.