Introduction: Anatomy of a Chocolate Truffle
First you'll learn how to make a classic dark chocolate truffle (Steps 1-10):
- Chocolate ganache filling (Steps 1-5)
- Chocolate coating (Steps 6 & 7)
- Decoration (Steps 8 & 9)
- Storage (Step 10)
- Rosemary & Sea Salt (Step 11)
- Chocolate & Pecan Cheesecake (Step 12)
- Lemon & Black Pepper (Step 13)
- Gingerbread (Step 14)
- NEW! Port or Chardonnay Valentine's Truffles (Step 15)
- NEW! Peanut Butter and Chocolate (Step 16)
- NEW! Jasmine Tea and Honey (Step 17)
- NEW! Cardamom and Masala (Step 18)
Step 1: Ganache: Introduction and Ingredients
Ganache is the yummy, creamy center of a truffle that usually tastes like something or other.
Steps 1-5 give instructions for making the ganache.
The following ingredients are used in a basic chocolate ganche. The amounts here are enough for roughly 12 truffle centers.
- 1/4 Cup Whipping cream
- 1 Tbsp Butter
- 1/2 tsp Sugar syrup
- 4 oz (110 g) Finely-chopped chocolate
Cream with greater than 30% fat can be whipped. Wikipedia
What is sugar syrup?
Sugar syrup is used to keep the center creamy and light. Any sugar syrup will work! Corn syrup (Karo, in the US), golden syrup (UK), Stroop (a sugar syrup in the Netherlands), even molasses (treacle), will work. A basic sugar syrup is made by boiling 3 parts sugar with 1 part water.
What is chocolate?
Hershey's chocolate will not work in this recipe because the cocoa butter content is not high enough. You don't have to go completely high-end, but try to find something with 50% cocoa or higher. These truffles used 68% dark chocolate candy bars that were a generic supermarket brand.
Step 2: Ganache: Scald the Cream
Combine the cream, butter, and syrup in a saucepan.
Stir often over very low heat until the mixture boils and becomes bubbly (approx. 30 seconds).
The picture below shows the scalding stage for Rosemary & Sea Salt truffles (see Step 11).
Step 3: Ganache: Steep the Chocolate
Pour the boiling cream mixture over the chopped chocolate.
Let the chocolate melt in the cream for about 5 minutes - Do NOT stir.
For best results, put the bowl in a hot water bath inside of a larger bowl - this will help things melt more smoothly.
Step 4: Ganache: the Stirring Marathon
When the chocolate has steeped for 5 minutes, stir until velvety smooth (Picture #1).
Place in the refrigerator (Picture #2).
The stirring schedule is as follows:
Chill for 3 15-minute periods, stirring after each one (Picture #3).
At this point the ganache should be fairly stiff (Picture #4).
Chill for 3 5-minute periods, stirring after the first two.
Do NOT stir after the 3rd period. If you do this by mistake, chill for another 5 minutes.
Now you're ready to make some ganache balls!
Step 5: Ganache: Forming Truffle Centers
Use two spoons to form the balls.
Chill for 15-20 minutes.
Use your hands to form a more perfect ball.
Chill again until hard (at least another 15 minutes).
Step 6: Coating: Melt Chocolate for Shell
Finely chop another 4 oz (113 g) of chocolate.
Melt in a double-boiler (a pot sitting on top of a pot of hot water).
Stir periodically, until melted and smooth.
Allow the melted chocolate to cool for a minute or two. This will keep the ganache balls from melting.
Step 7: Coating: Chocolate Shell
It really is best just to use your hands.
Drop a chilled ganache ball into the bowl of melted chocolate.
Pick up the ganache ball and, with some extra chocolate in your hand, roll the ball around on your fingers until it is evenly coated.
Place on a sheet of baking paper to cool and then decorate in Step 9, or add a powdered coating first (Step 8).
Step 8: Coating: Powder
Immediately after coating the ganache ball with chocolate, drop it into a bowl with the powdered coating of your choice.
Some possibilities are cocoa, chopped nuts, or powdered sugar (with cinnamon).
Bury the truffle in the powder. A sifter works very well for this.
Place coated truffle on a sheet of baking paper.
Step 9: Decoration
Don't forget to decorate your truffle in a way that will give a clue about what's inside!
In the picture, lemon zest is used to top the Lemon & Black Pepper truffles (see Step 13).
Step 10: Chilling and Storage
Put your finished truffles back in the refrigerator to harden (1-2 hours).
Keep in a sealed container.
The truffles will keep for 7 days or so if refrigerated, and longer if frozen.
Step 11: Flavor Combination #1: Rosemary & Sea Salt
- Handful of fresh rosemary leaves (chopped)
- Pinch of coarsely ground sea salt
When the mixture has come to a boil, remove from heat.
Pour the mixture through a strainer to remove rosemary, add to chocolate.
Add a pinch of salt to the ganache before the final stir in Step 4 (taste before adding more!).
Coat with cocoa powder in Step 8.
Dip the end of a rosemary leaf in melted chocolate and use it to garnish the truffle in Step 9.
Step 12: Flavor Combination #2: Chocolate & Pecan Cheesecake
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 Tbsp cream cheese (room temperature)
- Chopped pecans
Add cream cheese to the chocolate when steeping (Step 3).
Coat with chopped pecans in Step 8.
Step 13: Flavor Combination #3: Lemon & Black Pepper
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 Tbsp fresh grated lemon zest (divided)
Grate lemon zest and divide it into two equal parts.
Add the first half of the zest to the chocolate before steeping in Step 3.
Add the second helping of zest and black pepper to taste when you have begun to stir the ganache in Step 4.
After coating the ganache ball in Step 7, place on a sheet of baking paper instead of coating with a powder.
While chocolate is still sticky, sprinkle a bit of extra lemon zest on top to decorate (Step 9).
Step 14: Flavor Combination #4: Gingerbread
- 1/3 Tbsp molasses
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger root
- Dash of cinnamon
- Pinch of salt (optional)
When the cream has come to a boil, remove from the heat.*
Remove the grated ginger with a strainer, pour the cream mixture onto chocolate (Step 3).
Coat the truffle with a mixture of cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar, and cinnamon (Step 8).
*Some recipes call for the grated ginger to sit in the cream for up to an hour after scalding. Ours weren't quite 'gingery' enough, so you could give this a try. You'd probably want to bring the cream back to a boil or use a hot water bath because the cream won't be hot enough to melt the chocolate. Alternately you could add a bit of powdered ginger or candied ginger and leave it in the ganache instead of straining.
Step 15: Flavor Combination #5: Port or Chardonnay
- 2-3 Tbsp Ruby Port or Chardonnay wine
We tried to make a wine glass stencil to use with a powdered sugar (chardonnay) or cocoa (port) decoration. Results varied.
Step 16: Flavor Combination #6: Peanut Butter and Chocolate
- 4 Tbsp Peanut Butter
- NO butter!
- 1/4 of the chocolate
Add peanut butter to the chocolate in Step 3 and steep in the scalded cream.
This is a really easy ganache to make. The oil makes it easy to stir and easy to form. The ganache won't get too hard if you ignore it overnight.
Step 17: Flavor Combination #7: Jasmine Tea and Honey
- 1 bag of Jasmine Tea
- 1/2 tsp honey (substitute for the sugar syrup)
Step 18: Flavor Combination #8: Cardamom and Masala
- 6 cardamom pods
- 1/8 tsp masala or other sweet curry powder
Mix the 1/2 tsp curry powder with powdered cocoa and sprinkle over the top of the truffles in Step 8.
Some people may be turned off by the idea of chocolate plus curry powder, though it is more for color and scent than for the taste. If you're not willing to be that adventurous, cardamom and chocolate is a fabulous combination on its own. The smell of the cardamom with the chocolate is mouth-watering.
Step 19: Flavor Combination #6: ??
Create your own!