Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but it falls on a Monday this year. Instead of making a dinner reservation, or fighting crowds to get a table, what do you think about staying in with that special someone, opening up some wine, and turning up the heat….to make your own chocolate truffles?
Chocolate truffles are pretty easy to make, leave room for error, and you can give the expensive options at the store a run for their money. A chocolate truffle is traditionally made with a chocolate ganache center (the creamy inside), coated with chocolate or cocoa powder. You have room to be creative as well with optional ingredients to spice up the ganache with caramel, nuts, toffee, mint, and even liqueur!
Before you decide to set up this delicious night, you need wine. Here are some Hello Vino Recommended Valentine’s Day Wines
Now, on to the recipe. In the words of Marvin Gaye, “Let’s get it on.”
Ingredients (credit: essortment.com)
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder (or as much as needed to coat truffles)
- Optional fillings (see below)
Measure all ingredients ahead of time. Cut the chocolate and butter into small pieces. Leave the butter out on the counter until you add it, because you want the butter to be soft, but still cool.
Heat the cream until it boils, stirring constantly.
Pour the cream over the chocolate pieces. Let the cream melt the chocolate for a couple of minutes while you mash the chocolate pieces. Stir the mixture until the ingredients are fully incorporated, but don’t overwork the ganache. Start by stirring from the center of bowl. Move toward the outside of the bowl in concentric circles. If the chocolate doesn’t completely melt, move back to the center of bowl again, and stir, moving toward the outside. Try not to beat any air into the mixture.
Add the butter and mix well. Add any optional fillings. Allow to cool.
Using a melon baller or similar utensil, scoop the truffles and place on wax paper. Roll the truffles in cocoa powder or other coating, and store in an airtight container or zipper bag in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Note: You can place the truffles in the refrigerator before adding a coating. When you are ready to add the final coating, bring the truffles to room temperature before coating.
This is where you can get creative. Just mix and match until you find your own favorite truffle. In fact, you can split the ganache mixture and add a little of this and a little of that to the different portions. Add the optional ingredients to the ganache before cooling. Start by adding one or two of the following:
- Liquor (1 tablespoon per recipe of after-dinner liquor)
- Any type of extract (1 tablespoon per recipe)
- Any variety of nuts (one or more)
- Instant coffee (1 tablespoon per recipe)
- Any kind of berry puree (approximately 1/4 cup per recipe)
- Powdered sugar
- Powdered instant coffee and cocoa (50/50 mixture)
- Coarsely ground Nuts
- Shredded coconut
- Melted chocolate
- Melted Chocolate Coating (Couverture)
- 4 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate containing 35 percent or more cocoa butter
- 1 prepared recipe of truffles at room temperature
Note: Many fine chocolate bars such as Lindt or Cadbury contain a minimum of 35 percent cocoa butter.
Chop the chocolate into coarse pieces. Place the chocolate pieces in a microwave-safe bowl, and melt in the microwave at 50 percent full power until almost melted. Time varies by microwave, but this should take no more than a minute. Do not overcook, because the chocolate will become grainy. Also, do not allow any liquid to get into the melted chocolate.
When almost melted, stir until fully melted by beginning in the center of the bowl and working your way to the outer edge of the bowl.
Place one truffle at a time on a fork, and dip the truffle in the melted chocolate. When coated, scrape the bottom of the fork against the rim of the bowl. Place the dipped truffle on a sheet of waxed paper. After the chocolate has hardened, place truffles in foil or paper truffle cups and refrigerate in airtight container or plastic zipper bag. Serve at room temperature.
Dip. Sip. Enjoy.