Chocolate truffle making was much easier than I had expected it to be. It was a little messy and it tested my patience (my whole teaspoon’s worth!), but it was fun to do on a gloomy November evening and yielded some tasty desserts.
I only recently got it into my head to attempt to make chocolate truffles as a holiday gift for friends. Normally, I shy away from baking as I have little patience for precise measurements of weights, volumes, timings. Turns out truffles aren’t such an exact art after all — when all’s said and done, they are essentially little balls of melted chocolate, butter and creamy goodness and I guess you can’t really go wrong with that!
As a starting point though I referred to the ratio of ingredients in Alton Brown’s recipe but omitted the corn syrup, alcohol, and layer of tempered chocolate. I didn’t aim for a glossy coat because I was going to roll them in toppings. I also added caster sugar, vanilla extract, a little sea salt and also some white Malaysian coffee to bring out the sweet chocolate flavour.
Heavenly Chocolate Truffles (yields 30-32 pieces)
280 grams chocolate – I used 180g of 70% Lindt dark chocolate and 100g of Lindt milk chocolate
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy (double) cream
1.5 tablespoons coffee
1/2 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of sea salt
1. Chop the chocolate finely with a serrated knife.
2. Set up a heatproof glass bowl on top of a small saucepan that is filled with a few centimetres of water. The glass bowl should not touch the water. Heat the saucepan on as low heat as possible.
3. Tip the chocolate and butter into the bowl and gently melt the mixture.
4. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat cream until it simmers. Stir in caster sugar, ensuring throughout that the cream doesn’t come to a full boil or stick to the bottom of the saucepan.
5. When the chocolate and butter mixture is half melted and the cream has come to a simmer, pour the hot cream over the chocolate and butter mixture.
6. Mix gently in circles the cream into the chocolate and butter until incorporated. Add the coffee, vanilla essence, and salt. The mixture should look very glossy (it’s kind-of like a ganache at this point). Switch off heat and remove bowl from saucepan.
7. To cool the chocolate: either pour the mixture into a shallow rectangular dish, or, if you’re like me and lazy about washing up, leave the mixture in the bowl.
8. Cover your tray or bowl with cling film. Place in fridge for 20-30 minutes.
9. Take this waiting time to prepare containers that will house the chocolate truffles. Line them with baking parchment paper or aluminium foil. I used airtight tupperware containers lined with foil.
10. Prepare small bowls of the toppings so that you can toss the truffles in them later.
11. At 20 minutes, check the mixture. Most of it should be set – it should be firm enough to scoop but soft enough to mould with your hands.
12. When the mixture is ready, dust a little cocoa powder onto your hands, and then with a teaspoon, scoop a small lump and roll quickly into a smooth ball (2.5-3cm in diameter is perfect I think). Gently toss into the bowl with your chosen topping and use a dry teaspoon to coat the chocolate. Work swiftly as the chocolate will begin to melt.
(I found halfway through that the chocolate in the bowl got too soft, so I chilled it again in the fridge for another 10 minutes, and then resumed. Resist the temptation to put the chocolate mixture in the freezer. It tends to dry out and harden the chocolate too much.)
I’ve now got a box of these chilling in the fridge – I could’ve brought them into work but I thought because I had worked with hazelnuts, it would’ve excluded at least two friends who have nut allergies :(. This conveniently means that all of them belong to me for now, but I will be sharing them with some other friends later in the week!
Anyway, that’s it for today – chocolate truffle eating time!