For Valentine’s Day, I was looking for both a project and a way to save some money. I mean, I love my family and friends, but $18.00 a pound is a little much for chocolates. Fortunately, the March 2008 edition of Fine Cooking has an article on the wonders of chocolate ganache, and how to make truffles from the base ganache recipe. Unfortunately, it’s not available without registering for a “free trial” of their site prefatory to a paid subscription, even if you’re a subscriber to the magazine. Fortunately, I tweaked the recipe, so I can reproduce the adapted recipe in full for you.
Homemade, impress your mother-in-law chocolate truffles
Adapted from March 2008 Fine Cooking, orig. recipe by Greg Case and Keri Fisher
Note: I made a double batch of the ganache and melted chocolate portions of the recipe.
10 oz. dark chocolate, 2 oz. milk chocolate (or 12 oz. semisweet, total)
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt– don’t use iodized
Chop chocolate roughly, or put it into a gallon-sized ziploc bag and whack it with a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin or a rubber mallet until broken into no more than 1 inch sized chunks. Put into food processor fitted with chopping blade, and pulse until chocolate is in small, pebble-sized chunks. Heat the cream to just under a boil in the microwave, appx. 3 minutes on 70% power. When the cream is heated through, add it and the salt to the food processor bowl. Cover and pulse until the chocolate is melted.
2 tbsp. salted butter
8 oz. semisweet chocolate or 6 oz. dark, 2 oz. milk
1/2 c. to 1 c. each of desired toppings: chopped dried cherries, chopped candied ginger, toasted chopped nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, or pistachios, shredded unsweetened coconut, cocoa powder, cinnamon sugar
Add two tablespoons salted butter to the food processor along with the cream, and pulse until incorporated.
Transfer ganache to a bowl and refrigerate two hours or overnight. If refrigerated overnight, let stand 30 minutes before scooping.
Lay out your toppings in bowls big enough to allow you to toss the truffle in the topping with two forks.
With a teaspoon, or a teaspoon-sized cookie scoop, scoop the ganache into rounds. Intermittently dip the spoon/scoop in a glass of hot tap water and wipe on a tea towel to remove excess ganache, to ease scooping. Place the ganache balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. If you like, you can roll the balls in a little cocoa powder and then in your hands to make them rounder. I didn’t do this step, as I like the slightly irregular shapes.
Melt roughly chopped chocolate in a wide, deep bowl in the microwave, appx. 5 mins. at 50% power. If you heat it on higher power, the chocolate on the bottom may burn. There may still be chunks of chocolate when you remove the bowl– stir them into the melted chocolate on the bottom of the bowl. It should all melt, fairly quickly. If needed, heat for 1 min. at 70% to melt the rest of the chocolate.
Working a topping at a time, coat the ganache balls in the melted chocolate by rolling them in the bowl with two forks. Using the forks, drop the truffle into the topping bowl, tossing to coat. Replace the truffle on the cookie sheet, and repeat. I did one topping at a time, because the forks get gunky with the melted chocolate and the topping, and have to be scraped off intermittently. I rinsed my forks off in between toppings.
Let the truffles dry a half hour before tossing them down your gullet like Cookie Monster. To store, line a container with parchment/wax paper, and place more paper between layers. The truffles do need to be refrigerated if not eaten immediately– let them sit 20 to 40 minutes at room temperature before serving.
The initial ganache part takes no time at all, but the melting and rolling and coating can take quite a bit of time, especially if you have four dozen truffles to coat, and you’re working by yourself. I laid out my assembly line on the living room coffee table, and watched All About Eve as I worked.
These are, without a doubt, the best truffles I’ve ever had, including ones I had in Paris and at fancy-schmancy restaurants. The freshness makes a difference– the filling is so soft and creamy, the toppings so fresh and crunchy, and the melted chocolate hardens into a snappy, crunchy middle layer. I’m not a chocolate fiend, but these are something special. A breakfast of champions with a rose champagne, too. (Just kidding. I had tofu links and V8 for breakfast. And only one truffle for dessert.)
Eat and Enjoy!