Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chocolate Truffles

Years ago as a new mom unable to get more than a couple of hours of sleep, I was glued to the Food Network and one of my favorite shows was Good Eats with Alton Brown.  One of his shows was dedicated to truffles.  I had enjoyed them once at a craft fair, but they charged $2 a piece, and while they were good, I couldn't bring myself to buy a whole box.  Needless to say, Alton's show piqued my interest and I tried his recipe with great success.  I decided to send some to my family and now every year my gift list gets longer.  I make about 8 different varieties using different liquors.  My favorites are cointreau (orange) and peach schnapps.  Needless to say, these treats aren't for children!
For the ganache, I use Ghirardelli's 60% cacao chips and unsalted butter.  I cut the butter into pieces and add it to the chocolate.  
 Heat it in the microwave in 1 minute intervals, stirring in between until mostly melted.  
 Meanwhile, in a saucepan add heavy whipping cream and light corn syrup.  Stir and heat until hot but not boiling.  Add to the chocolate mixture, letting it set for 2 minutes before stirring in fully.  

Add the liquor of choice, stirring it in completely.  
 Refrigerate for a few hours.  
 I use a cookie dough scoop for uniformity and scoop out the balls of ganache onto wax paper lined baking sheets.  Refrigerate again for a few hours.  

I use gloves at this point, roll the balls between your hands to firm them up.  
 Put them back in the fridge while getting the semi-sweet chocolate ready.  

Heat about 2/3 of your semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler, stirring until melted, then add the remaining 1/3 chips (this is my step to avoid tempering the chocolate).  Stir until melted.  

Using a chopstick, spear one of the ganache balls, dip it into the chocolate and twirl the ball while using your gloved finger of your opposite hand to smooth the chocolate over the ball.  
 Sorry I couldn't get a pic of myself doing this (oh, for that 3rd hand!!)  

Put the truffle onto the wax paper, push it off the stick with your 'twirl' finger and use the chopstick to push a little excess chocolate over the hole the stick left behind.  You should have a nicely covered chocolate truffle!  
To differentiate the different flavors, I decorate with different pretty toppings.  I use ground cocoa, powdered sugar, nonpareils, chocolate jimmies, chopped nuts, etc.  You need to decorate them almost immediately after placing them on the tray, as the chocolate coating will harden pretty quickly.  Obviously, the cocoa and powdered sugar won't, but the sprinkles and nuts will just fall off.  (You don't have to top them after every one, I decorate 3 truffles at a time).  After you're done with a tray, place in the refrigerator overnight to firm them up completely.  I love this time of year, it's cold outside and I put the truffles in containers and place them in a cooler on the deck.  This serves 2 purposes, it keeps the fridge clear and most importantly, reduces the temptation to snack!

A box full of the different truffles is truly a wonderful sight!


  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup brandy or other liquer
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts, and/or toasted coconut, for coating truffles
  • 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

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