Chocolate truffles are traditionally made with ganache shaped into rough spheres by hand and covered in cocoa powder. The powdery coating and imperfect shaping of the confections make them appear similar to dirt covered truffles - the famed culinary fungi. Chocolate truffles are easy to prepare at home and make irresistible desserts that will make you a welcome guest at any holiday party.
Even though the center of a truffle is traditionally ganache, truffles can be made with a variety of fillings ranging from nuts to caramel to nougat. When not made with ganache, these truffles are generally coated in a thin shell of hard chocolate. The truffles in this recipe will be made with a ganache center.
Ganache is simply a mixture of chocolate and cream. For the centers of these truffles, we'll make hard ganache - utilizing significantly more chocolate than cream. A ratio of about 2 to 1 of chocolate to cream by mass will yield a dense ganache appropriate for making truffles.
Obtain 1 pound (455 g) of dark chocolate and 1 cup (235 mL) heavy whipping cream. Be sure to select a chocolate that you enjoy the flavor of. [IMG]
Cut the chocolate into pieces using a large serrated knife (like a sturdy bread knife). Cutting the chocolate into strips about 5 mm apart with the serrated knife will cause the chocolate to break into small pieces. Pieces of chocolate will fall all over the place, so I like to place the cutting board in a sheet pan to catch the chocolate shards. [IMG]
After breaking down the whole pound of chocolate, you should have a bunch of similarly sized pieces. Small, uniformly sized pieces will make melting the chocolate evenly easier. Pour all the pieces into a medium heat proof bowl. [IMG]
Bring the cup of heavy whipping cream just to a boil. (This is called scalding.) [IMG]
Pour the scalded heavy cream onto the chocolate and allow it to sit for five minutes. [IMG]
Stir the now melted chocolate with the cream. Chocolate and small amounts of aqueous solutions (liquids containing water) do not mix well - the chocolate clumps up in what is called seizing. However, when a substantial amount of liquid is added to the chocolate, we can make chocolate syrup. A ganache is simply a syrup of chocolate and cream that does not contain enough cream to be liquid at room temperature. Once this mixture cools, it will form a hard ganache that can be molded into shapes. [IMG]
The melted ganache should be smooth in texture without lumps. If not all the chocolate has melted, you can heat the ganache gently over a hot pot of water. Stir until the chocolate melts and the ganache is smooth. [IMG]
You can transfer the ganache into a smaller bowl to cool. When the ganache is solid, it may be easier for you to scoop out when working with a smaller bowl. Let the ganache cool down and chill for about an hour in the refrigerator to harden. Cold ganache is harder to scoop, but easier to form into a ball. [IMG]
Using a melon baller or small ice cream scoop (such as a #70), scoop out balls of hard ganache and place on a cookie sheet lined with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. As the ganache gets warmer, it will have a tendency to stick to the scooping device. You might find it easier to work with after rechilling the ganache, dipping the utensil in ice water, or simply using your hands to form rough spheres. [IMG]
After forming all the balls, chill the pan in the refrigerator for fifteen minutes to allow the ganache to harden back up and set into their shapes. [IMG]
Scoop a little cocoa powder into a small bowl. Use a pair of spoons to pick up and roll each ganache ball in the cocoa powder to coat. [IMG]
If you prefer a hard chocolate shell, then you'll need to melt and temper some chocolate (usually, a couple ounces will be more than enough to coat the truffles). Once the chocolate has been tempered, use a spatula to spread some onto the palm of one hand. Place the ball of ganache into the layer of chocolate and rotate, coating the ball. Place the truffle on a sheet of parchment paper or silicone baking mat or other nonstick surface for it to cool and set. Repeat the spreading of chocolate on the palm and coating for each truffle. The tempered chocolate will shrink slightly as it cools and clad itself to the ganache. Because of this shrinking action, if it cools too rapidly, the shell can crack, so don't immediately chill them in the refrigerator - allow the truffles to set in a cool room. The ganache should also be allowed to warm up a bit before you coat them. After the chocolate has hardened, chill for 15 minutes in the refrigerator and then remove and store at room temperature. The chocolate coated truffles should not be allowed to touch each other (touching the truffles together can mar the hard surface of the truffles) - so divide them with small paper cups or paper muffin liners. [IMG]
The cocoa dusted truffles can be packed together without harm. These truffles can be stored at cool room temperature in an airtight container for at least a month - but good luck keeping them from being eaten for that long! [IMG]
Chocolate Truffles (yields about 32 to 36 truffles)
I experimented with ganache to frost some cakes over the summer. I was hoping for it to be pourable. I started with 300g or dark chocolate, a small pat of butter and 1 cup of cream. it was not pourable, so I tried another half cup of milk, and to my surprise, it was thicker, so I ended up spreading.
it wasn't the look I was going for, but it was delicious. it retained the dark chocolate taste, even with all the cream, but it was lighter, more delicate.
Perhaps since I had more liquid, the chocolate melted more easily, but I found fairly coars pieces of broken chocolate had no problem melting.
You can do both, but I'd suggest you sprinkle cocoa powder over the hard-shelled ones. By the way, I'm going to try those as soon as I get my hands on a pound of dark chocolate, and pour in some Grand Marnier
Joined: 10 May 2005 Posts: 1618 Location: Austin, TX (USA)
Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 5:57 am Post subject: Re: Chocolate shelled truffles?
do people coat the chocolate shelled truffles with cocoa powder? or only the plain ganache ones get the cocoa powder coating treatment?
I usually only coat the ganache in cocoa powder. Most truffles I've seen are either/or, but it is quite possible to coat with hard chocolate and then with a dusting of cocoa powder - but the cocoa powder won't stick all that well and it's a shame to cover up the chocolate coating...
Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 9:21 am Post subject: truffle ideas
other suggestions for pretty truffles:
for great contrast and flavor:
- use icing/confectioner's/powdered sugar for rolling the dark chocolate ganache
- use white chocolate in place of dark, in making ganache balls, then roll in unsweetened cocoa powder
- tint white chocolate ganache with paste or gel food color, then roll in powdered sugar. if you make red and green, looks great on the christmas spread! pink for valentine's or sweet sixteen!
- roll in grated desiccated coconut or chopped unsalted roasted nuts, instead of cocoa powder.
- if you dip the ganache balls in melted dark chocolate, instead of cocoa powder, melt some white chocolate and drizzle on top and vice versa.
- for an elegant dinner party, use the melted dark chocolate coating, then buy some edible gold and silver powder from baking specialty shops and dust over.
- add a piece of unsalted, roasted nut or dried fruit in the center of each ganache for a sweet surprise.
- white scalding the cream, infuse with vanilla (split beans or extract) or other flavors like grated orange rind(great with milk chocolate ganache), instant coffee powder is great with dark chocolate; cayenne powder for the adventurous!
- for grown-up parties, a tablespoon or two of bailey's, kahlua, grand marnier, cherry brandy, tequila rose, etc., in the melted ganache will give an extra kick. DarkAeons' right on the mark! remember to use good liqueur!
Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 11:13 pm Post subject: Truffles
I just made my first ever batch of truffles this weekend & they were wickedly delicious, I will post them up soon. My recipe also included butter & stated taht would keep for up to 2 days - i wonder if the butter makes them last less than the month you suggest. Anyway no probs in eating them as I have brought them into the office for a treat to all.
Joined: 10 May 2005 Posts: 1618 Location: Austin, TX (USA)
Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:36 am Post subject:
Michael, what kind of camera do you use? Your pics come out nice and warm.
I started the site using a point and shoot Canon S300. After a few months, I switched to a Nikon D100 when enabled me to use my Nikon SLR lenses. From 2004 to late 2006, I used the Nikon D100 and last month moved to a Nikon D200 which gives me a little more flexibility in working with raw files for post capture color balance processing. (The D100's write speeds were so slow that shooting raw files would be intolerable.)
These days, I try to take many of the pictures with natural light which gives the food a pleasant appearance as opposed to the flat, flash pictures that I used to provide in the articles.