The pic below is not totally accurate- mostly because I changed my mind about what type of chocolate I wanted to envelope them in. Also, I decided to add 2 tablespoons of Frangelico on a whim (deciding to add liquor was not on a whim- just the type).So, imagine that white chocolate is NOT in the photo, and that a bottle of Frangelico, is.
Now- you DO NOT have to use a liquor, HOWEVER- I only use 2 tablespoons, and it vastly improves the texture of the ganache. I have made these truffles every year and done tons of variations- and those with just a smidge of brandy or some other type of sweet, dessert liquor always have the very best, melt in your mouth, smooth, velvety texture that you are hoping for.
Moving right along- do know that this is a process and while the active time is relatively minimal- rushing through the steps will result in imminent doom. Start these in the morning, or plan on taking two nights to get through the process. You can’t start and finish in one afternoon- trust me, I have tried.
Basically, chocolate truffles, in any variation, consist of a ganache (the center of a truffle)- which can be flavored or have “things” in it and a coating- which can be chocolate, cocoa powder, etc. Many recipes call for adding sugar and butter to the chocolate- we are not going there. Often those types of truffles result in grainy texture- gross. Also- I use butter, and am a fan of butter- but really? In something that already has cream? meh. Also, those ganaches can be finicky to prep- sometimes too loose, sometimes they separate. I’m just not into finicky recipes. Or loose ganache.
So instead of bothering with that extra stuff- we have to start with really, really good chocolate. The chocolate for the truffles HAS to be around 55% cocoa. Look for it labeled as such. Cheap chocolate will pull shenanigans on you (because it has oils and other things in it that are not chocolate)- so go for the very best. I bought the Callebaut because it was on sale (take advantage people!)- you can also look for Valrhona or other, equivalent high quality chocolate . I have, in a pinch, used Ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips- meh. Not as good. Because we aren’t adding sugar, buying the 55% cocoa chocolate is critical- the 60% ended up a little bitter.
Because the chocolate came to us in a giant piece (not exactly easy to melt using the method we are going to us) and because it is not the correct amount- we need to cut/shave it into small pieces. A serrated knife works REALLY well for this. Also, I covered my cutting board in parchment paper to contain the mess/make for easy chocolate transfer.
Done with the chocolate for now. On to the cream. Heavy cream. We need 2/3 of a cup.
Heat the cream until just boiling, using the stove or the microwave. Yesterday I used the microwave- it was OK. I actually prefer to use the stove- you have a better handle on how things are progressing.
Once the cream is hot, pour it over the chocolate- and LEAVE IT ALONE. For at least 5 minutes.
Next, begin slowly whisking the chocolate, starting at the center and moving out.
See how super smooth and shiny and glorious the chocolate becomes? Now, if adding liquor (and you can absolutely get creative here- orange, raspberry, blackberry brandies, etc are all welcome. Just not together)- measure two tablespoons and add it to the ganache. Absolutely no more than two tablespoons. You must measure. Whisk that in, too.
Cover, get it into the fridge- and occupy yourself for at least 6 hours or so. Overnight is great, too. The ganache needs to set!
A ganache with liquor in it will set a little soft- still malleable, but not rock hard- and without will be quite hard. You may need to leave it out on the counter for a bit. This is a big reason that I do add a touch of liquor- it makes forming the truffles A LOT easier.
I also forgot to take a picture of all of the chocolate lumps- but you can see them on half of the sheet here- see the really rough looking ones? I do an entire pan of lumps, and then roll them into balls. The balls get thrown into the freezer for 20-30 minutes, so that we can dip them in chocolate.
It gets a little messy, but keep rollin’. After the truffles go in the freezer, get some more chocolate chopped (I used about 8 more ounces of chocolate)- and melted. I use a double boiler- again- because I like to be able to see, by the second, how things are going. I don’t like using the microwave because honestly- there is just as much fuss, if not more! – checking it every 30 seconds, stirring, the risk of burning it. No advantage, if you ask me.
I also like using the double boiler because I can leave the chocolate, after it is all melted, over the warm water and it stays nice and melted. It can wait for me to be ready- vs. microwaved chocolate which needs to be used ASAP.
Get yourself all set up for the dipping process. I decided to top the truffles with some hazelnuts, because I put hazelnut liquor inside. Cold truffles on one side, chocolate in the middle, pan lined with aluminum foil on the other.
Using two forks, drop a truffle into the chocolate, roll it around, scoop it up, allow excess chocolate to drip off, and slide it off the fork onto the waiting pan. I don’t stab the truffles with the fork- I use the forks more like slotted spoons. If you don’t let them drip then you get truffles that sit in a pool of chocolate. That’s fine. That means chocolate shavings for snacking on later. You can see that some of mine are perfect and some of mine are pooled. If you are topping your truffles with sprinkles or nuts- place the nuts into the truffle before the chocolate sets. Having a helper can be advantageous for this!
- 11 ounces chopped 55% cocoa chocolate- best quality
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons liqueur (Frangelico, Chambord, etc)
- 8 ounces chopped chocolate for coating.
- Chopped Hazelnuts or sprinkles, for decoration
- Make sure the chocolate is chopped finely- and be sure that you have 11 ounces (measured using a kitchen scale).
- Bring the cream to a boil, using either the stove or microwave.
- Pour hot cream over the chocolate, and let sit 5 minutes.
- Whisk chocolate and cream, beginning at the center and moving out, until a ganache forms.
- Add the liqueur, and whisk to incorporate.
- Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours.
- Scoop even heaping teaspoons of ganache using a melon baller or two spoons. Roll the chocolate between your palms to form even balls.
- Freeze for 20-30 minutes.
- Melt the additional chocolate in a double boiler. Keep warm. Set truffles on one side, chocolate in the middle, and a foil lined pan on the other. Working quickly, dip the cold truffle into the chocolate, allow excess chocolate to drip off, and set on the waiting pan. Use two forks to manipulate the truffle in the chocolate, and allow excess chocolate to drip off before placing on the baking sheet. Top the truffles with nuts or sprinkles, if desired.
- Refrigerate for an hour, or until chocolate is set. Store in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.