Monday, November 28, 2011

Chocolate Truffles

Every year for Christmas I make a big batch of chocolate truffles to give to friends. This year the truffle making has occurred early and I am posting early, even though there will be more truffle making later, because the recipe was requested from my little brother (I guess he did appreciate some of my cooking after all!). I used to have other recipes, for instance I remember making white chocolate truffles once, they had honey in them. So when I go home I will have to hunt through my old recipe books to find that one, because I remember it being really good. However, the recipe below is the most simple truffle recipe ever and is the standby that I go to for every special occasion. It's really just chocolate, cream and flavouring of some sort, it's pretty much the same as a chocolate ganache, but with less cream and more chocolate. I use biscuits in my truffles, to add a bit of crunchy texture and flavour. Over here in Ireland you can get these cookies called jaffa cakes, which are a soft biscuit with a layer of orange jelly, covered in chocolate. Chop a packet of those up into your truffles and you have the most amazingly orange-chocolate flavoured treats. Of course, you could also use fruit essences, chopped up dried fruit, liqueurs or just leave them plain.
Chocolate Truffles

250 mL cream - the type that you can whip, like double cream here in Ireland, or just plain cream in NZ, or you could use thickened cream, which I used to use in NZ and it comes in a tub, not a bottle.
400 to 500 grams chocolate - any sort, dark, milk or white, whatever you want your truffles to taste like, but you should use a good quality chocolate that uses cocoa butter, not vegetable oil, as the fat.
1-2 packets biscuits, broken and crushed up into small pieces (if you want them).
Coconut or cocoa powder, for rolling the truffles in.

Now these are an incredibly simple way to make all of your friends love you. So long as they like chocolate, that is. It's as simple as melting the chocolate in the cream, which you can do in a heavy bottomed saucepan on the stove, in a double boiler, or very carefully in the microwave. Personally, I would avoid putting chocolate in the microwave as it is so easy to burn it that way. Take my advice and stick to the stove. You don't really want cream to boil, only to be hot, simmering at most, which is why a double boiler is a great way to do this. But if you just want to throw it all into a saucepan, go ahead. Don't let the cream boil. Just slowly heat (and stir) the cream and chocolate until the cream is melted and mixed smoothly into the cream.

The next step is to let the mixture cool, mix in the biscuits (or anything else you feel like throwing in) and leave it to cool for even longer. You could leave it overnight in the fridge, I often do, but then the mixture will be hard. Which is ok, but maybe it would be easier to make the truffles if the mixture is still a bit soft. So instead you could begin in the morning and just let it cool a few hours or so.

So finally it is time to roll the mixture into balls and coat them with something so that they're not all sticky. If the mixture is still a bit soft this should be easily done by taking teaspoons of mixture, dropping it in the coconut or cocoa powder (or you could use biscuit crumbs or finely crushed nuts) and rolling it a little. If the mixture is quite hard you will have to put a bit more effort into digging out spoonfuls and you will have to roll them into a ball shape with your hands before coating them. Which is very messy work, but dipping your hands in cold water every now and then will help keep too much chocolate from sticking. Unless you want chocolatey hands of course.

The truffles need to be kept in the fridge, and in an airtight container should last awhile, though in reality they won't because they'll be gobbled up before you know it.

As for ideas of how to make them interesting, if you don't want to settle for choosing your favourite off-the-shelf bikkies, you can basically throw anything you like into this mixture. You could make them into an after-dinner mint by adding mint flavoured cookies or peppermint essence. You could make them rocky-road by adding small marshmallows and chopped nuts. You could make black-forest by adding dried berries, like cherries, or a mixture of different berries. You could add peanut butter, or just peanuts (then they would be like a Whittaker's Peanut Slab, I am so having one of those as soon as I get back to NZ!). If you like salty and sweet together you could add salted nuts. Or instead of cream you can use coconut cream, which means that if you use proper dark chocolate they will be dairy-free. I could probably keep going along these lines forever, there is really no limit at all to this, so long as you keep in mind that you don't really want to add further liquid. A few drops or a couple of teaspoons of an essence or liqueur would be OK, but any more and the truffles might not keep their shape.

1 comment:

  1. These look gorgeous. I'm planning to make some chilli flavoured truffles for Christmas so I might try and adapt this recipe. I'll let you know how it goes.


Hi there wonderful reader! If you've liked what you see here or have anything to say whatsover, please do so because I would love to hear from you!