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Recipe

Chocolate Truffle Recipe: Create Your Own

Photos: Ben Fink

If you buy a box of assorted chocolate truffles, you may not realize just how similar they are to make: sure, they may have different shapes, coatings, garnishes, or even be made from different kinds of chocolate. But basically, truffles are all the same: a smooth center of the mixture of chocolate and cream known as ganache, dipped in a shell of pure chocolate.

What makes the assortment box so enticing is that there are endless ways to riff on this formula: You can use white, milk, or dark chocolate; you can flavor the chocolate by infusing the cream, or by mixing flavorings right into the ganache; and you can roll the truffle in any number of coatings. Which makes it easy to create a truffle recipe just the way you like it.

 

Master Chocolate Truffle Recipe

Infuse the Cream (if you like)

The foundation of a truffle is ganache—the satiny-smooth mixture of melted chocolate and heavy cream. One option for flavoring the truffles is to infuse the cream with fresh herbs, whole spices, or citrus zest before using it in the ganache.

Put 1 cup of heavy cream**, plus your infusion ingredient (see options below) in a small saucepan, and warm the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the cream begins to boil. Cover the pan, remove it from the heat, and let it sit for 1 hour. At that point, taste the cream; if you want a stronger flavor, let it sit longer. Otherwise, strain the cream and return it to the saucepan, discarding the infusion ingredient.

Choose one or two infusion ingredients (optional)

 

Seeds and scraped pod from 1/2 vanilla bean

2 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest

3 Tbs. finely grated orange zest

1 Tbs. dried lavender

1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh ginger


1/2 cup packed torn fresh mint leaves


1 whole star anise, smashed

1 whole cinnamon stick

2 whole cardamom pods, crushed

 

Grind the chocolate

You can make your ganache with white, milk, or dark chocolate, and you’ll use the same type of chocolate for the truffle shell. Since there’s no added sugar in the ganache, keep in mind that white and milk chocolate truffles will be sweeter than dark chocolate ones. 

Grind the chocolate of your choice (see options below) in a food processor until it reaches the consistency of coarse meal, about 30 seconds.

 

Choose your chocolate

 

12 oz. semisweet (55 to 60%) chocolate, coarsely chopped

15 oz. milk chocolate, coarsely chopped

15 oz. white chocolate, coarsely chopped

Make the ganache

Whether or not you infuse the cream, you can add another layer of flavor by blending in liqueur, ground spices, nut butter or jam into the ganache.

Bring 1 cup of cream** (whether you infused it or not) to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the hot cream, plus any add-ins (see options below), to the chocolate in the food processor and process until smooth, about 10 seconds. Add 2 Tbs. of softened unsalted butter and process again until smooth, about 10 seconds more.

**Note: Certain combinations require reducing the amount of cream: If you choose milk or dark chocolate ANDa liqueur for the add-in, reduce the cream to 7/8 cup (or 1 cup minus 2 Tbs.). If you choose milk or dark chocolate AND a jam or marmalade for the add-in, reduce the cream to 1/3 cup.

 

Choose one to three add-ins (optional)

 

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ancho chile powder

2 tsp. instant espresso

1/4 tsp. mild curry powder

1/4 tsp. flaky sea salt, such as fleur de sel

2/3 cup smooth peanut butter

2/3 cup raspberry jam, heated


2/3 cup strawberry jam, heated


2/3 cup orange marmalade, heated

2 Tbs. Grand Marnier

2 Tbs. Chambord

2 Tbs. Baileys

2 Tbs. Frangelico

2 Tbs. Kahlua

2 Tbs. Amaretto

Chill the ganache

Transfer the ganche to an 8-inch square glass baking dish, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Keep in mind that if you’ve added jam to your ganache, it will have a slightly tacky texture, like caramel.

 

Shape the truffles

Using 2 teaspoons, scoop rounded, heaping teaspoonfuls of ganache onto a large, parchment-lined baking sheet. When all of the truffles are scooped, use your palms to roll them into smooth 1-inch balls (don’t worry about making them perfect). Transfer the truffles to the refrigerator and chill for at least 20 minutes.

 

Dip and coat the truffles

Finally, you can add a little texture to your truffles by rolling them in crushed nuts, candies, or even pretzels. If you prefer, you can leave milk or white chocolate truffle shells uncoated, but the finish of uncoated dark chocolate truffles will become blotchy and dull.

Melt another8 oz. of your chosen chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set in a small skillet of barely-simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Transfer the bowl to a work surface.

Put your coating ingredient (if using—see choices below) in a medium bowl.

 

Choose a coating (optional)

 

2 cups finely chopped toasted almonds 2 cups finely chopped toasted hazelnuts

 

2 cups finely chopped toasted pecans

2 cups finely chopped peanuts

2 cups finely chopped pistachios

2 cups shredded sweetened coconut (toasted or untoasted)


2 cups crushed peppermint candy

2 cups crushed toffee bars, such as Heath (grind in a food processor)

2 cups crushed pretzels

2 cups crushed cacao nibs

Working in batches, use a fork to dip the truffles in the melted chocolate, then roll them in the coating ingredient until well coated. Let the truffles cool for a minute or two in the bowl of coating, then return them to the parchment-lined baking sheet. If you’re not coating the truffles, simply dip them in chocolate, then return them to the parchment-lined baking sheet.

Let the truffles sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. If not serving right away, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Bring them to room temperature before serving.

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