THE TROUBLE WITH TRUFFLES

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The trouble with truffles (the candy) is that if they are prepared “correctly”, they look like (let’s see, how do I say this politely), they look like truffles (the mushrooms). And as you can see from the attached photograph, truffles (the mushrooms) ain’t exactly pretty!

truffle

Apparently truffles (the candy) originated in France in the late 1800s. Balls of chocolate ganache (heated heavy cream poured over chopped chocolate) and dusted with cocoa, so resembled truffle mushrooms that the French gave this new taste sensation the same name as their beloved woodland delicacy. Now, to further visualize how an actual truffle mushroom looks, think of a small ball of chocolate ganache rolled and dipped in cocoa by a three year old! Which, by-the-way, describes exactly how my homemade truffles look! (No offense to any three years olds out there who might be reading my blog.)

So those perfect pieces of candy all beautifully dipped in chocolate and looking like they were formed by a machine are not in the true spirit of the original candies. Ha! Now don’t get me wrong. I still love the perfect “truffles” that can be purchased for about the same amount of money as a truffle mushroom. But when I can produce a truly delicious and more authentic piece of candy at home for about a tenth of the price, I can forgo beauty for authenticity any old time. (And yes, I too deviate from the original looking truffles by dipping some of the truffles I make in chocolate or nuts or whatever happens to take my fancy. But I stick to the original plan in that they never look like they were made by a machine. In fact, some of them actually look like they too could have just been dug up by a highly trained pig!) Never-the-less, they still taste good.

Now, I’m not going to tell you truffles are easy to build, because that would not be kind. And I pride myself on having a kind nature. But they aren’t screaming difficult either. They just take a little time and persistence. And even though your mother and father undoubtedly told you not to play with your food, I’m going to countermand that order when it comes to truffle making! Roll those babies in cocoa, powdered sugar, nuts, chocolate sprinkles or melted chocolate, or dip just a small portion of each truffle in a “little something”. Decorate them however you want. Make it fun. Because however you coat your truffles, they are going to taste delicious. And believe it or not, the more you play with ganache and truffle building, the easier it becomes. In fact, if you start now you should have the whole process down to a science by the time Christmas rolls around. And who do you know that wouldn’t love to receive a box of homemade truffles for Christmas?

So have fun with the following recipes. They are all quite delicious and just the beginning of the many flavor variations you can use to make these delightful candies. Vive la France!

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT TRUFFLES

  • ½ lb. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped* (I use a heavy butcher knife)
  • ½ lb. good semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1¼ c. whipping cream
  • 2 T. hazelnut liqueur (Frangelico)
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ c. ground toasted hazelnuts
  • 2 c. finely chopped toasted hazelnuts

Place chocolate in the bowl of your electric mixer. Bring cream to a heavy simmer in a saucepan. Pour over chocolate; let stand 2 minutes. Beat until smooth. Mix in liqueur and vanilla. Cool completely, stirring occasionally. Beat cooled chocolate mixture until fluffy and lighter in color, about 4 minutes. Mix in the 3/4 cup ground hazelnuts. Cover bowl and refrigerate truffle mixture until firm, about 2 hours. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place chopped nuts on a small plate. Form truffle mixture into small balls (I use a very small ice cream scoop) and roll in chopped nuts. Place on prepared baking sheet. Chill until firm. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to serve. Serve at room temperature. Makes about 60 truffles.

*As with all chocolate, if you can’t get it finely chopped, rough chop it first then finish the job with a food processor. It’s not cheating, it’s called “being creative”.

CHOCOLATE ORANGE TRUFFLES

  • ½ lb. good bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ½ lb. good semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 2 T. Cointreau or Grand Marnier (orange flavored liqueur)
  • ¼ tsp. espresso powder
  • ½ tsp. real vanilla extract
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • cocoa powder

Place the finely chopped chocolate in a heat-proof mixing bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just boils. (The cream will really bubble up when it reaches a boil, so be careful.) Pour the cream into the bowl with chocolate. Using a wire whisk, slowly stir the cream and chocolates together until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the Cointreau, espresso powder, vanilla, and orange zest. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.

With 2 teaspoons or an extra small ice cream scoop, spoon round balls of the chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm. Roll each mound of chocolate into a ball with your hands. Roll in cocoa powder and place in candy paper cups. Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for weeks. Serve at room temperature. Makes about 60 truffles.

MOCHA CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

  • ½ lb. good bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ½ lb. good semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 2 T. Kahlúa or other coffee flavored liqueur
  • ½ tsp. espresso powder
  • ½ tsp. real vanilla extract
  • 1 c. melted milk chocolate, or more as needed (Winco)
  • 60 coffee beans, more or less

Place the bittersweet and semisweet chocolate in a heat-proof mixing bowl. Heat the cream in a medium saucepan until it just boils. (The milk will really bubble up when it reaches a boil, so be careful.) Pour the cream into the bowl with chocolate. With a wire whisk, slowly stir the cream and chocolate together until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the Kahlúa, espresso powder, and vanilla. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until set.

With 2 teaspoons or an extra small ice cream scoop, spoon round balls of the chocolate mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. (For whatever reason, this mixture seems to take the most time to set. Sometimes I actually have to roll a few balls from the top surface, then place the bowl back in the refrigerator and repeat the process until all of the ganache is rolled.)

Refrigerate for one hour, or until firm. Then, roll each mound of chocolate into a ball with your hands. Place back on the cookie sheet and return to the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or until good and cold. When cold, stick a toothpick into the top of each ball and using a spoon, coat the truffles with the melted milk chocolate. Place back on the parchment paper lined pan and cover the toothpick holes with a coffee bean. Return to refrigerate for yet another hour or until the outside candy shell is hard. Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve. To serve, place each truffle in a candy cup (can be purchased at kitchen stores), plate, and serve at room temperature. The truffles will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for weeks. Makes about 60 truffles.

WALNUT AND TOASTED COCONUT TRUFFLES

  • 1 lb. good semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 2 T. dark rum
  • ½ tsp. real vanilla extract
  • 1 c. finely chopped walnuts
  • ½ c. toasted coconut, chopped
  • cocoa powder

Place the chocolate in a heat-proof mixing bowl. Heat the cream in a medium saucepan until it just boils. (The cream will really bubble up when it reaches a boil, so be careful.) Pour the hot cream into the bowl with the chocolate. With a wire whisk, slowly stir the cream and chocolates together until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the rum and the vanilla; then stir in the walnuts and coconut. Refrigerate for about 1 hour or until set.

With 2 teaspoons or an extra small ice cream scoop, spoon round balls of the chocolate mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm. Roll each scoop of chocolate into a ball with your hands. Roll in cocoa powder and place back on the baking sheet. Refrigerate for an hour and then store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated. Serve at room temperature. Makes about 60 truffles.

WHITE CHOCOLATE GINGERBREAD TRUFFLES

  • 1 lb. white chocolate, finely chopped (I use Ghiradelli white chocolate which I purchase in bulk at Winco)
  • ½ c. heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ + 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 c. melted semi sweet chocolate chips, or more as needed

Place the white chocolate in a heat-proof mixing bowl. Heat the half cup cream in a small saucepan until it just boils. Pour the cream into the bowl with the chocolate. With a wire whisk, slowly stir the cream and chocolate together until the chocolate is completely melted. Add the spices by placing them in a fine meshed sieve (to break up any clumps in the spices) and whisk well to combine all ingredients. Refrigerate about 1 hour until the mixture is firm but pliable. With 2 teaspoons or an extra small ice cream scoop, spoon round balls of the chocolate mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for one hour, or until firm. Then, roll each mound of chocolate into a ball with your hands. Place back on the cookie sheet and return to the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or until good and cold. When cold, stick a toothpick into the top of each ball and using a spoon, coat the truffles with the melted semi-sweet chocolate. Place back on the parchment paper lined pan and smooth over the toothpick holes. Return to the refrigerator for yet another hour or until the outside candy shell is hard. Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve. To serve, place each truffle in a candy cup (can be purchased at kitchen stores), plate, and serve at room temperature. The truffles will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for weeks. Makes about 60 truffles.

 

 

 

 

 

Please let me know if you like this recipe. Thanks