I’ve been trying to find out the best way to make chocolate truffles since I was in middle school. I used sweetened condensed milk and chocolate with trace quantities of cacao in the sugar bombs I prepared back then. Like a Three Musketeers bar, they’d probably taste cloying and, well, awful to my mature palate. But I believe I’ve finally mastered every aspect, even down to my most typical errors.
I’ve gotten my chocolate truffle recipe down to a science after at least a dozen years of experimenting with different kinds of chocolate, fat ratios, and even the thickness of chocolate pieces.
A Truffle’s Anatomy
A chocolate truffle is essentially an emulsion of chocolate and cream, known as ganache, that has been covered with something. Some chocolatiers cover their chocolate truffles in more chocolate, but the traditional French version dusts the morsels with cocoa powder. In reality, they gained their name from their resemblance to the famed black truffles harvested each summer in the French countryside. Our recipe below includes cocoa powder as well as cacao nibs and coffee powder as substitutes.
Although a simple truffle recipe just calls for chocolate and heavy cream, if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, you may use coconut milk or another milk replacement. Just make sure your creamer has the same fat content as heavy cream, which should be between 34-38%. But the trick to making these chocolate truffles is to use exceptionally fine chocolate, preferably artisan chocolate with no more than three components.
Since the taste of the chocolate you use is essentially the flavor of the truffles, it is critical that you choose one that you like. If you can tolerate soy goods, chocolate with soy lecithin on the ingredients list isn’t always a negative thing. But keep in mind that the little chunks of chocolate you use must be reasonably consistent in order to melt evenly. For additional information, see my piece on baking with chocolate.
If you’re looking for high-quality chocolate, I’ve created a piece on where to purchase handmade chocolate online. Your taste senses will thank me later, I swear.
Recipe for Quick Chocolate Truffles
A basic chocolate truffle recipe that may be customized with spices, nuts, nibs, and other ingredients.
- 4 Tablespoons heavy cream (or coconut cream at 34-38% fat)
- 4oz/112g dark chocolate (or high-percentage milk chocolate)
- Powder for dusting at finish (cocoa powder is best, but cacao nibs or superfine ground coffee also works)
- Optional: 1/4 t. sea salt and 1/2 t. vanilla extract
- The instructions for truffle-making are relatively similar to those for making chocolate sauce, insofar as the process for heating and combining the ingredients. But there are a few issues you may run into during the process, so I’ve made note of those below. First, get your cutting board and a very sharp knife. Measure off or weigh how much of the bar you need, and put that onto the board. Chop the chocolate across, so that it splinters like in the picture below. Pieces should measure no more than 5mm across and be quite thin.
- Measure out 4 tablespoons of cream into the large bowl and heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds on high, depending on the power of your microwave. Once the cream is heated to hot but not scalding, immediately pull it out of the microwave and add in the chopped chocolate in a thin layer.
- Let the ingredients sit for 3 minutes. This allows the chocolate to slowly melt rather than being burned or mixed together while at very different temperatures. If it doesn’t sit for a bit, the fat and the solids will begin to separate, and it will look like curdling milk.
- After your three minutes are up, stir vigorously with your spoon to combine all of the liquids and the solids. Within about 15 seconds, your chocolate mixture should start to look like the shiny liquid in the bowl below. If you like the flavor contrast of salinity, consider adding a dash of salt to your mixture before stirring.
- But if your chocolate ever looks like the pictures below, stop what you’re doing and grab a hand blender. This oily appearance is a result of the cocoa butter (cocoa fat) separating from the cocoa solids. You need to blend your mixture on high for at least 30 seconds until it fluffs up. You’ll know it’s done once the mixture looks like a chocolate frosting (and smells like a chocolate truffle), like in the image above.
- Put your mixture into the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes before you start forming the truffles. The chocolate needs to set and harden a bit so that it’s workable and will hold its shape.
- Now is the kid-friendly hands-on part! Use gloves if you can, and roll out balls of the truffles in any size you’d like. At my house we prefer about a tablespoon. Once all your truffles are rolled out, it’s time to coat them in more flavor; this is where your powders come in.
- Place your flavors of choice in separate bowls to roll each truffle in. I like to blend different powders to create different flavors; my current favorite is a mix of 4 parts cocoa powder, 1 part finely-ground coffee, and a dash of cinnamon. Keep in mind that the first flavor you place on your tongue will affect everything else you eat for at least several bites, so decorate wisely.
- Once you’ve rolled them all out, your truffles are ready whenever you are!
Remember to lick the bowl!
- Keep an eye on the cream so that it doesn’t start cooking in the microwave or on the stove. If it’s still not warm enough, heat it in 5-second intervals until it’s quite hot, but not burning or cooking.
- Only decide to use milk chocolate if you prefer a sweeter truffle, or if that’s just all you have laying around. Chocolate chips do work fine for this, but they still need to be chopped up into smaller pieces.
- If you choose to add salt, only use super finely-ground salt, as any sea salt you use will end up in chunks, and you never want to bite into a chunk when you’re expecting a smooth ganache.
- While you could use a white or ruby chocolate in this recipe, those types of chocolate are made with more sugar than a dark or dark milk, so they would likely taste overly-sweet.
- Have fun with it! The chocolate mixture will also keep in the fridge for a few days, if you don’t have time to coat them immediately or want to coat them fresh each evening. Just remember to let the mixture sit at room temperature for at least a half hour before you try to form balls.
Save this easy chocolate truffles recipe for later!
Leave a Reply