Anatomy of a Chocolate Truffle




Introduction: Anatomy of a Chocolate Truffle

Delicious home-made chocolate truffles in a variety of flavors, all stemming from one simple recipe.

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)

Then, you can get creative by adding different ingredients to the basic prototype:
  • 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

What is whipping cream?
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

Extra Ingredients:
  • Handful of fresh rosemary leaves (chopped)
  • Pinch of coarsely ground sea salt

Scald the cream (Step 2) with chopped rosemary added (no stems).

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

Extra Ingredients:
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp cream cheese (room temperature)
  • Chopped pecans

Add vanilla to the cream mixture and scald (Step 2).

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

Extra Ingredients:
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 Tbsp fresh grated lemon zest (divided)

Add a generous dose of freshly ground black pepper when scalding the cream in Step 2.

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

Extra Ingredients:
  • 1/3 Tbsp molasses
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger root
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt (optional)

When scalding the cream in Step 2, add the ingredients listed above.

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

Extra Ingredients:
  • 2-3 Tbsp Ruby Port or Chardonnay wine

Adding the wine when scalding the cream might create problems, including curdling the cream and burning off the alcohol. For that extra 'burn', add the wine after steeping the chocolate, but before the first time refrigerating the ganache. You can add more to taste on subsequent stirs, but be careful to not add so much that the filling will no longer set.

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

Extra Ingredients:
  • 4 Tbsp Peanut Butter

  • NO butter!
  • 1/4 of the chocolate

These peanut butter truffles are one of my favorites. There is already plenty of oil in the peanut butter, so omit the butter from the ganache. Reduce the chocolate by 1/4 for a more 'peanut butter cup' like experience.

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

Extra Ingredients:
  • 1 bag of Jasmine Tea
  • 1/2 tsp honey (substitute for the sugar syrup)

Open the bag of jasmine tea and pour the contents into the cream. Once the cream comes to a boil in Step 2, remove from heat and let the mixture steep for an extra 5 minutes. Return the pan to low heat and bring it to a boil again. Strain the tea leaves in Step 3.

Step 18: Flavor Combination #8: Cardamom and Masala

Extra Ingredients:
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1/8 tsp masala or other sweet curry powder

Smash the cardamom pods with the flat side of a knife, add to the cream mixture in Step 2. When the cream comes to a boil, remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture steep for an extra 5 minutes. Return the pan to low heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Strain out the pods in Step 3.

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!

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    6 years ago

    I found your statement about cocoa butter percentage to be a bit confusing. Yes you want a chocolate with a high cocoa butter content. However the percentage that is listed for most chocolates including the one you mention (These truffles used 68% dark chocolate candy bars that were a generic supermarket brand.) is not the cocoa butter percentage but the cocoa mass percentage. Most companies do not list the cocoa butter content but you can tell if its high based on its location in the ingredients. Ingredients are always listed in the order of most to least. Also be sure that a "cocoa butter" is listed and no vegetable oil is listed.


    16 years ago

    You have converted me into a truffle makiong fanatic. I've made these the last two weekends and am probably going to make some more this weekend. Smoked Sea-Salt Truffles are my new favorite. Does anyone have any advice on working with White-Chocolate. I find it much more difficult to work with than dark chocolate. When it melts it is much thicker and stickier and my truffles look ugly because the coating is so uneven. Of course they still taste awesome!


    Reply 16 years ago

    Thanks for reporting your results! Smoked Sea-Salt sounds great! Perhaps (I'm not sure) you could add more cream and/or butter to the white chocolate to make creamier. Are you using it on the inside,outside, or both?


    Reply 8 years ago

    i have made truffles for christmas presents for last few years adding more flavours eaxj time, recipe i use is half hot cream mls to grams of choc works perfect my combos are white chocolate and desicated coconut rolled in either more coconut or freezedried raspberry powder. milk chocolate orange rolled in coco powder. Dark chocolate mixed with hazelnut praline rolled in chopped hazelnuts and my test batch today is white chocolate with half cream half raspberry syrup and so far tastes amazing


    Reply 16 years ago

    I was using it as the outside coating only. I've been experimenting with melting different types of chocolate, and it seems the lower the cocoa content, the stickier it is to work with. Since white chocolate has no cocoa, I guess it makes sense it would be extremely sticky. I made Kahlua truffles this weekend...Oh yes!


    Reply 14 years ago on Introduction

    Yep, white chocolate is kind of evil to work with. You could try grating it and rolling truffles in it instead of melting it. But you'd need to pick them up with chopsticks to avoid getting melty finger marks all over them. Also tried using a melon scooping thingy and it doesn't really help. The truffles stick to it and their shape gets ruined trying to detach them. Oops! If anyone knows how to get them properly round without them sticking to stuff, I'd love to know. Can you make them in a mould or anything? Anyway, thanks for this - fantastic instructions, I'm all inspired to start making loads of yummy chocolates now!


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    You could ook for a potato mash serving scoop with a 1.5 teaspoon capacity.
    It has the typical ice-cream release function like this one:


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Look for an Australian product called Copha..adding a small amount for this to white chocolate makes it much easier to work with, and doesn't affect taste or appearance. Its a vegetable shortening made from coconut oil.
    Try Wholefoods in the States


    In step 17, you use honey as a sugar syrup substitute. Can that be done for any of the other truffle recipes, or is the honey flavor too strong?

    Love this instructable! I'm planning on using it to make truffles for my grandpa. He's a chocolate addict. :)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Put you in my gift guide for guys! Just thought I'd let you know :)

    Cardinal Fang
    Cardinal Fang

    11 years ago on Step 13

    Try this with lime instead of lemon, and with a tiny bit of chilli instead of the pepper.

    Cardinal Fang
    Cardinal Fang

    12 years ago on Step 6

    I'm going to add a reminder to people here not to let any water get into your melted chocolate or it clumps and is useless.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Just add shots of alcohol until it thins out again. If you add liquor though, keep in mind the added sugar.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I have a dorky question... how long does it take to make these?...

    Lucius the Eternal
    Lucius the Eternal

    12 years ago on Step 4

    At this step my ganache had the consistancy of the lindor truffles after the second 15 minute cooling period... Is this a bad thing? and if it is what should I do to fix it for the next batch?

    Cardinal Fang
    Cardinal Fang

    12 years ago on Introduction

    Had a go at Cardamom and Masala ones today - then realised I only had cardamon! Found it works best with white chocolate - something about the extra sweetness of white chocolate goes the best with the cardamon taste.


    13 years ago on Introduction

    I decided that this Valentine's day, instead of going out and spending money, my boyfriend and I would spend the day cooking together. He was super hungover from the previous night's escapades (too many double-gin-and-tonics) but we still managed to make around 50 truffles using your recipe. We made Earl Gray, garam masala and cardamom, rosemary and sea salt, and Mexican chocolate (chili powder and cinnamon). They are amazing! I realized when we were coating them that I should have bought coating chocolate wafers, since they form a thinner shell and melt to a finer consistency, but other than that---


    13 years ago on Introduction

    I just used this recipe to make Chocolate Raspberry Habanero Truffles and Chocolate Rum Truffles. Delicious! They turned out wonderfully!