Handmade chocolate truffles make a delectable holiday gift that will be treasured by all who are lucky enough to be on your Christmas list. Exquisite, rich and easy to make, if you have never made chocolate truffles before, you must give these rich balls of ganache that melt in your mouth a try.
Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate and heavy cream make the basic ganache at the center of these truffles. When it comes to flavoring, the sky is the limit. If you want, you can add extracts, liqueurs (Baileys, Grand Marnier….), fruit purées, etc. While still slightly soft the ganache can be enrobed in tempered chocolate (this helps to seal them and preserve them) before rolling them in a variety of coatings—cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, candy sprinkles, crushed peppermint candies, toasted coconut, or finely chopped nuts.
I’ve made them with a variety of toppings, but sometimes I like to keep things a bit simple. Here, I coated a basic dark chocolate truffle in milk chocolate; a white chocolate and mint truffle in melted dark chocolate and confectioners’ sugar, and a cherry kirshwasser* truffle in dark chocolate. For fun and a bit of “fancy”, I added melted chocolate to a pastry bag and piped the stripey lines. I love the mess of it! 😉
Have fun and be creative in choosing the flavorings and coatings for your own personalized chocolate truffles. Everyone is sure to love and appreciate however you make them.
Although truffles are relatively simple to make, the process will be easier and a lot more fun if you have a friend to help you. They do take some time, for sure. To make things easier, have all the desired toppings, including the tempered chocolate, ready and spread out in shallow bowls or on parchment paper-covered baking sheets.
Basic Chocolate Ganache for Truffles
Makes about 30-40 truffles
1 pound best-quality bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2-3 tablespoons liqueur (optional)
1/2 pound tempered semisweet chocolate
Assorted toppings: cocoa powder, crushed peppermint candies, toasted sweetened shredded coconut, finely chopped hazelnuts, pistachios or other nuts
Place 1 pound chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; pour over chocolate. Let sit 2 to 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Refrigerate (uncovered) until somewhat firm, about 1 hour.
Spoon drops of chocolate mixture onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment. Return to refrigerator 15 minutes. With your hands, roll mounds into balls (truffles).
When all the truffles are rolled into balls, they are ready to be coated. If they have become too soft, place them in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours until they are firm enough to dip.
You can use either a dipping fork or your hands to dip the truffles in chocolate. To use your hands, dab some chocolate in the palm of one hand and using both hands roll the truffle to completely coat it with chocolate. This method is easy and quick, but also very messy. When all of the truffles have been coated you can repeat the enrobing procedure. Then, immediately roll it in the desired garnish. It’s important to do this before the chocolate sets or the topping will not adhere. This is when it’s good to have a friend help because it is hard to dip and roll at the same time. Place truffles on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet and allow them to set, about 5 minutes.
For another classic look, place tempered chocolate in a pastry bag and run lines back and forth, across each truffle.
White Chocolate Mint Truffles
(This is a favorite!)
1 pound white chocolate, finely chopped
¾ cup heavy cream
drops to ¼ teaspoon mint/peppermint extract or oil
Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; pour over chocolate. You could also use a food processor for this step. Let sit 2 to 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Refrigerate (uncovered) until somewhat firm, about 1 hour.
Cherry Kirshwasser Truffles
4 ounces dried tart cherries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
10 ounces dark chocolate (semi-sweet or bitter sweet), finely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 ounces butter
2 tablespoons Kischwasser
melted dark chocolate
Combine cherries and sugar in a food processor and mince. Transfer cherries mixture to a small saucepan, add water and simmer until the water evaporates and mixture becomes like a paste. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Place chocolate in the bowl of a food processor. Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. With the processor running, pour the cream over the chocolate and continue to process until combined. Add butter, then cherry mixture, followed by the Kirschwasser.
Transfer ganache to a bowl, cover and let stand at room temperature until somewhat firm, about 12 hours or refrigerate.
Spoon drops of chocolate mixture onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment. Return to refrigerator 15 minutes. With your hands, roll mounds into balls (truffles). Place desired coatings in shallow bowls; roll balls in coatings, pressing in and covering completely. Return to baking sheet; chill until set, about 30 minutes.
Note: Once rolled, truffles (ganache) can be coated in melted chocolate (milk or dark chocolate) then rolled in other toppings of choice.
*A kirschwasser German for “cherry water” or kirsch is a clear, colorless fruit brandy traditionally made from cherries. The best kirschwassers have a refined taste with s