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Chocolate Truffles Recipe & Video

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Chocolate Truffles are a rich and elegant, bite-sized petit four made from a velvety smooth mixture of chocolate and cream (a Ganache) to which various flavorings can be added. Its shape makes it look like the real truffle fungus that grows around the roots of trees in France and Italy. Once you form the Chocolate Truffles, they are traditionally rolled in unsweetened cocoa powder to simulate the 'dirt' that the real truffles grow in. But there is another way to make Chocolate Truffles, and that is to dip the rounds of Ganache in tempered chocolate so the Chocolate Truffles have a crisp outside chocolate shell. Once dipped in the tempered chocolate, you can roll them in various coatings (unsweetened cocoa powder, toasted and finely chopped nuts, and even chocolate sprinkles). In this recipe and video, I will show both ways to make Chocolate Truffles. 

Now, the taste of your Chocolate Truffle is primarily dependent on the quality of the chocolate you start with. So use a chocolate that you would enjoy eating on its own. You can use either a semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate (which means a chocolate with a cacao content of between 55 - 70%).

Once you have decided on your chocolate, you then need to decide on your choice of alcohol to flavor your truffles and also the coating. For example, if you want a hazelnut flavored truffle, add Frangelico Liqueur to the chocolate and cream mixture and then coat the truffles with chopped hazelnuts. Or if you would like your truffles to have a coffee flavor, stir about one tablespoon of espresso powder into the hot cream and then add Kahua or Tia Maria to the truffle mixture. Orange flavored truffles can be made by adding about 1 tablespoon of orange zest to the hot cream. Let the cream steep for about 10 - 15 minutes and then strain out the zest. Then add Grand Marnier to the truffle mixture. 

While you can simply roll the balls of Ganache in unsweetened cocoa powder, in the video I also show you how to coat the truffles in tempered chocolate. This gives you a truffle with a crisp outside chocolate shell with a soft Ganache center. To temper the chocolate, we are using the two step "seed" temper method. You will need a chocolate thermometer as a regular candy thermometer does not have a low enough temperature reading. Step One is to melt about three quarters of the chocolate, and once the chocolate has melted and has reached a temperature of 115 degrees F (46 degrees C), it's ready for the next step. Step Two is to cool the chocolate down to a temperature of 90 degrees F (32 degrees C). This is done by gradually stirring into the melted chocolate the remaining finely chopped chocolate (this is called "seeding" because you are adding "seeds", or chopped chocolate, to the melted chocolate). To keep the chocolate in temper while you are dipping the Chocolate Truffles, I use a heating pad (See video for demonstration).

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Chocolate Truffles: Place the finely chopped chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for about two minutes. Then gently stir with a heatproof spatula or wire whisk until smooth. If desired, add the liqueur. Let cool to room temperature and then cover and place in the refrigerator until the truffle mixture is firm enough to roll into balls (about 60 minutes).

Next, remove the truffle mixture from the refrigerator. Using a small ice cream scoop, a small spoon, or in the palms of your hands, form the chocolate into 1 inch balls (2.5 cm) (15 grams each). Then, if you don't want to dip the Truffles in tempered chocolate, immediately roll the Truffles in your coating (unsweetened cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts, toasted coconut, or chocolate sprinkles). Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator until firm and then transfer to a covered container. Can be stored in the refrigerator or they can be frozen.

If Covering With Tempered Chocolate: In a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt 1 1/2 pounds (675 grams) of the finely chopped chocolate.

Once melted, remove from the heat and check to see that the temperature of the chocolate is 115 degrees F (46 degrees C). Then gradually add the remaining 1/2 pound (225 grams) of the finely chopped chocolate, stirring with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, until a chocolate thermometer inserted into the chocolate registers 90 degrees F (32 degrees C). (You may not use all the chocolate.) To keep the chocolate tempered, place the bowl of tempered chocolate into another larger bowl that has been lined with a heating pad wrapped in plastic wrap, set at the lowest setting (about 90 F (32 C)). (See video for demonstration.) Wearing gloves, take a room temperature chocolate truffle and dip it into the tempered chocolate. Immediately roll the Truffles in your coating (unsweetened cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts, toasted coconut, or chocolate sprinkles). Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Once all the Truffles have been dipped and coated, you can let them set at room temperature or place in the refrigerator until set.

Truffles can be refrigerated in a covered container for about one month or else frozen for two months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Makes about 26 - 1 inch (2.5 cm) round Chocolate Truffles.

Note: Any leftover tempered chocolate can be covered and stored in a cool dry place. Use within two weeks. It can be used again for making tempered chocolate but do not use it as the seed chocolate.

Preparation time 1 hour.

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Chocolate Truffles:

8 ounces (240 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup (120 ml/grams) heavy whipping cream (cream with a 35-40% butterfat content)

2 tablespoons (25 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 - 2 tablespoons alcohol (Cognac, brandy, Grand Marnier, Frangelico, Kirsch, rum, bourbon, or Kahlua to name a few) (optional)

Tempered Chocolate: (optional)

2 pounds (900 grams) semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Coatings for Truffles:

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Toasted and Finely Chopped Nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and/or hazelnuts) (See Note below on how to toast the nuts.)

Toasted Coconut

Shaved Chocolate

Chocolate Sprinkles

Powdered Sugar

Note: To toast the nuts, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Place the nuts on a baking sheet. For pecans, walnuts or almonds, bake for about 6-8 minutes or until lightly brown and fragrant. For the hazelnuts, bake for about 13-15 minutes or until the skins start to blister. Remove from oven and cover with a clean dish towel. Let the nuts 'steam' for about 10 minutes and then remove the skins. Once the nuts have cooled, finely chop.

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