Chocolate truffles are surprisingly easy to make at home and they are truly delicious. There are many varieties to try and the recipes and tips outlined below work very well if you make sure you use good quality ingredients.
Chocolate truffles are simply small balls of rich, creamy chocolate ganache rolled in cocoa powder. A ganache is a smooth mixture of chopped chocolate and heavy cream. Chocolate truffles are an ideal way to finish a lovely meal, as everyone loves their intensity, character and richness.
The basic recipe shown below, can be adapted for all sorts of purposes and in many different ways to suit your taste preferences. Just use your imagination and create something that suits your taste preferences. The chocolate can be left a little bitter and you can reduce the amount of sugar to save on the calories. Don't make the mistake of scrimping on the quality of the ingredients otherwise you may be disappointed. The number and quantity of ingredients required is quite small and so you can afford to buy the best quality and most suitable chocolate. It is very important to taste the chocolate you are going to use in its raw form, to ensure the sweetness and bitterness of the chocolate suits you.
Chocolate - Don't use compound chocolate as it is far too grainy. Instead use what is known as 'couveture' - high quality chocolate that has a high cocoa butter content. This has a richer and much smoother taste and feel in the mouth. Two widely available brands are Callebaut and Lindt. Start with a minimum of 70 per cent cocoa. Try various varieties to find one you really like.
Butter and Cream - Use a slightly salted butter rather than unsalted butter for extra flavour it provides. Use a good quality pouring cream with 35 % fat. Avoid using either thickened cream, or double cream. The fat content of these creams is too high and the ganache is likely to split. The cream is boiled with pure glucose and is then poured over the chocolate to melt it. Glucose is readily available and provides a vital function as a stabiliser for the blend of chocolate and cream which is very prone to splitting. The glucose binds everything together a bit more. One good tip is to let the mixture sit for a few seconds after the hot cream and glucose mixture is poured over the chocolate. This allows the chocolate to break down. Use a small whisk and stir from the middle toward the outside during the mixing process.
Let the Truffles Set and then Roll in Cocoa Powder - Once the ganache is made, cover with cling film (pushed down to stop condensation) and let set at room temperature, for a few hours. If you are in a hurry you can refrigerate the covered ganache for about 30-60 minutes. Once set it is time to make the balls or small cylinders. If you want to roll the balls in your hands dust them with cocoa powder first.
As for the other ingredients always choose a high quality cocoa powder, rather than the commercial varieties that have milk powder and sugar added to them. Roll in cocoa twice to ensure a netter coverage.
For extra flavor you can roll in tempered chocolate first followed by cocoa powder, icing sugar, spices, mint flakes or pieces, dried fruit or crushed roasted nuts. This enhances the flavor and add crunch to the truffle when it is bitten into.