Chocolate truffles can be quite deceptive. With their rich ingredients, fancy coatings, and high prices, it would seem that they would be difficult to make. The reality is quite the opposite. Making chocolate truffles is one of the easiest confectionary undertakings around, and can be done with very simple ingredients if one so desires. Truffles make excellent gifts, as they can be fine-tailored to the culinary preferences of the recipient. Try your hand at several varieties, and you’ll find that you can become a virtual instant pro at turning out many different varieties of these chocolate delicacies!
There are basically three ingredients that are necessary, regardless of what sort of truffle you’ll be making. You’ll need chocolate, cream, and a coating. A very basic recipe is as follows:
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (Chocolate chips work well!)
Â cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Â cup Dutch-process cocoa, sifted
Heat the cream until boiling in a double boiler or in the microwave. Pour over the chocolate, wait a few minutes and then mix until the chocolate is melted. Add in the vanilla. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it until the mixture, called ganache, has a firm consistency. This will generally take a few hours, so begin early in the day, or plan to spread your project over two days.
After the chocolate mixture has a firm consistency, take a melon scoop or spoon and form balls. Roll the balls in the cocoa. Put the truffles in an appropriate container and chill until ready to eat.
Now that you have seen that making truffles is easier than preparing a batch of chocolate chip cookies, get ready to blow the guests away at the next potluck or dinner party you attend. Now, let’s get fancy. Here are some of the things that you can change in order to make a wide variety of truffles.
Try using white chocolate instead of dark.
Experiment with bittersweet and flavored chocolates.
Add liqueurs in lieu of the vanilla flavoring. Grand Marnier and Amaretto are both excellent choices. Try splitting the recipe of ganache and experimenting with different flavors in the same batch.
Add some espresso powder to the mixture. You can also incorporate small amounts of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or for a Southwest version, even a very small amount of chili powder.
Instead of the cocoa coating, try rolling the finished truffles in crushed pistachios, pecans, or other kind of nut.
When you are making the truffle ball, you can put a nut in the middle.
Get fancy and make chocolate-dipped truffles. What you’ll need to do is heat an appropriate amount of chocolate over a double boiler. (Heating chocolate in the microwave on the defrost setting works well, also.) When the chocolate is melted and smooth, registering about 115 degrees on a candy thermometer, quickly dip one of your chilled truffles into the chocolate. Remove it using tongs or a fork and transfer to a pan lined with waxed paper.
It can be nice to dip dark chocolate truffles into white chocolate, and vice versa. An elegant finishing touch, once the first coat of chocolate is dry, is to put some melted chocolate in a contrasting color into a pastry tube and drizzle it over the truffle. This gives your candy a very professional look. You can even dye white chocolate a pastel color with food coloring if you’d like. As an alternative, you can also immediately roll the chocolate-coated truffle in coconut or nuts.
Don’t limit your new truffle-making skills to candy. With just a tweak of the recipe, by adding a bit more cream, you can create a smooth ganache frosting that will make even the plainest cake outright decadent. Add a bit more cream, and you will have a smooth drizzly icing.
You can also take your existing truffles and add them to desserts. Try mixing in a few truffles the next time you bring home some vanilla ice cream. Drizzle with caramel sauce, and you have Caramel Truffle ice cream instead of plain vanilla! With the simplicity of truffles, the sky is the limit.You can also