Merry (okay, belated) Christmas everyone! I hope all of you who celebrate Christmas enjoyed your holiday. I was blessed to spend a day with my extended family, an evening with just my husband and parents, and also a few hours with my husband’s family. It’s been a whirlwind of activity, as I’m sure many of you can relate to, but it’s been a lot of fun, too.
I decided to make chocolate truffles this year, after taking a year off from making them. If you have touch of OCD, these are not a project that you should go into lightly. It’s very messy and can be quite time-consuming, but I will tell you that the end result – and raves – are entirely worth it.
The truffles that I make are enrobed, meaning i dip my ganache in a hard chocolate coating, before sprinkling them with toppings. I see many recipes for just the ganache rolled with toppings, so feel free to stop at the ganache part, if you’re so inclined. I’m going to give you the “master” ganache recipe, but then I’ll tell you how I customized it in different ways. Feel free to customize these your own way; remember – do NOT be afraid to play with your food.
It’s a good idea to have toothpicks on hand, to help with the enrobing process.
- 8 ounces good-quality bittersweet (60%) chocolate (I use Ghiradelli – very easy to find and delicious)
- 1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
- 2 tablespoons flavored liqueur, such as raspberry or orange
In a glass bowl, break the chocolate up into small pieces. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until bubbles form around the edge. Remove from heat and let sit about 1 minute. Pour half of the cream over the chocolate and let stand about 4-5 minutes. You don’t want to add all of the hot cream at once or your chocolate with break and separate.
Slowly begin stirring. At first, this will look like a gloppy mess, but just keep stirring. After a couple of minutes, the chocolate and cream will come together beautifully. Make sure you’ve stirred until everything is completely blended. Slowly add the rest of the hot cream while continuing to stir. Your ganache should be creamy and smooth. Add your flavoring. Refrigerate overnight.
Remove ganache from refrigerator. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. Using a small spoon, scoop a bit of the ganache into your hands and roll into a small ball. Place ball of ganache on baking sheet and repeat making balls with the remainder of the ganache. Tip: having a bowl of ice water handy to dip your hands into will keep your hands chilled and prevent the chocolate from melting. You’re still going to end up covered in chocolate, but this helps. Some people recommend wearing food-safe gloves, but I find them hard to work with. Try whatever you think works best for you.
Place tray of ganache balls in freezer for about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, place your dark and white chocolates, below, in separate glass dishes, breaking them into squares.
Assemble your toppings, below, and have them ready to go.
Chocolate for Enrobing:
- 16 ounces dark chocolate
- 16 ounces white chocolate
Assorted Truffle Toppings:
- Finely chopped nuts (pecans, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.)
- Shredded coconut
- Coarse sea salt
- Cocoa powder
- Colored or metallic sprinkles
Microwave chocolates on low, at 30 second intervals, stirring each time after the first minute. Do NOT overheat your chocolate and do NOT get any water at all into it. It usually takes me about 2 minutes total to melt each flavor. The final round there should still be tiny bits of chocolate in the bowl, that melt as you’re stirring.
Let melted chocolate stand and cool for a few minutes before beginning the enrobing process. (otherwise, the minute you dip your ganache balls into the chocolate, the balls will begin to melt)
Remove ganache balls from freezer and, stabbing one with a toothpick, dip and roll the ball completely in the melted chocolate. Holding the ball above the chocolate, let excess chocolate drip from ball.
Slide a fork under the ball and hold it, while removing the toothpick. Using the fork and toothpick, gently place the ball back onto the baking sheet.
Sprinkle immediately with your choice of topping.
Repeat with remainder of balls.
That’s it! It’s quite a process but they’re beautiful and delicious!
Some ways that I customize them are in the flavorings that go into the ganache:
- Pure vanilla extract (2 teaspoons)
- Pure almond extract (1 teaspoon)
- Kahlua (3 tablespoons)
- Espresso or very strong coffee (3 tablespoons)
And, of course, if you’re not a fan of dark chocolate, play around with milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate.
Use your imagination and your own taste to customize them however you like.
As you can see, mine are far from perfect – a little oddball in size and such – but no one ever seems to care….trust me.
Happy Holidays to all of you and enjoy the season!