Fundamentals: Simple Homemade Truffles

by Jamie on February 9, 2011

Post image for Fundamentals: Simple Homemade Truffles

What chocolate lover wouldn’t be thrilled with rich, decadent truffles for Valentine’s Day? Instead of heading to the nearest chocolate shop, pick up a few items from the market and make these homemade chocolate truffles with your own two hands!

There is something really special about being able to create a delicious and meaningful Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetie. Plus, it’s a great way to show how much you care without breaking the bank!

Truffles may seem a little intimidating; after all they are sold in high end chocolate boutiques for some serious cash. However, making them yourself is simple and actually quite fun, unless of course you don’t like getting your hands dirty, and by “dirty” I mean full of chocolate.

Nervous yet? No worries, I am going to walk you through the process and provide you with a recipe that’s so simple, even the Worst Cook in America could make them with rocking results.

Let’s get started…

Fundamental Information

A chocolate truffle is basically ganache that is firmed up in the refrigerator, formed into balls and rolled in cocoa powder. No idea what ganache is? In its basic form, ganache is simply a mixture of chocolate and cream. We’ll cover the many uses for ganache in an upcoming Fundamentals post. In this post, I will be referring to the truffle mixture as ganache.

Fundamental Gear

-high quality chocolate (such as Scharffen Berger or Guittard)
-small scoop (about two teaspoons or a melon baller)
– shallow casserole dish
-plastic wrap
-miniature foil or paper liners, optional
-double boiler (No double boiler? Simply place a heat-safe bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, make sure the bowl is NOT touching the water…you now have a double boiler!)

Let’s talk flavorings…

You can infuse your truffles with a variety of items like espresso, and spirits such as  liqueurs. The key is letting your ganache sit at room temperature for about a half hour before stirring in any type of alcohol. You want to maintain that boozy goodness, not burn it off. Some liqueurs that work well in truffles are Grand Marnier for an orange flavor, Fraise des Bois or Chambord for raspberry flavor, or Kahlua. But, truly you can use whatever type of alcohol that floats your boat, even beer!

Finishing Touches

Once you have rolled your truffles, you can finish them in a variety of ways. I love to simply roll them in cocoa powder. If I use bittersweet chocolate, I’ll roll the truffles in sweetened cocoa powder. You can also roll them in nuts, sprinkles, cookie crumbs or dip them in tempered chocolate.

Challenges and Trouble Shooting

  • Broken Ganache: If your ganache breaks, you’ll know right away, it will look curdled due to the fat and liquid separating. Don’t toss it! Simply heat a couple tablespoons more cream and stir it in little by little until it comes back together.
  • Hard Ganache: If you refrigerated your ganache for too long, it will become too hard to scoop. Simply set it out at room temperature until it becomes pliable enough to work with.
  • Infusions: If you are infusing truffles with spirits of any sort be sure to let the chocolate cool enough, so the heat does not burn off the alcohol. A good measure of readiness is to place a small dab of chocolate on your lips, if it’s warm and not hot the truffle mixture is ready to be infused.

Looking for more truffle inspiration?

Simple Cookies and Cream Truffles from My Baking Addiction
Peppermint Truffles from Food for My Family
Chocolate Frangelico Truffles from Bakers Royale

Be sure to check out this weeks episode of Worst Cooks in America dubbed Sweet Surprise. The final four compete in a “Culinary Decathlon” Skill Drill to test their knowledge thus far. Then, the chefs teach their recruits a complicated dessert technique featuring a flambé presentation. For the Main Dish Challenge, some special guests arrive for the recruits as their loved ones reveal a favorite dish for them to prepare. The recruits must then make that dish using a recipe written by their chef and serve the flambé dessert tableside. After the tasting, each chef decides who will advance to the final challenge. The next installment of this crazy culinary adventure  premiers Sunday, February 13th at 9pm ET/PT.

Basic Truffles

yield | about 30 truffles

Ingredients
12 ounces chocolate, chopped (semisweet or bittersweet)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons liqueur, optional (see step #3)

Directions
1. In a double boiler over barely simmering water, combine chocolate, butter and heavy cream. Heat until chocolate is melted. Stir until you have a smooth mixture.
2. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Pour into a shallow casserole dish and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours. If you refrigerate longer than two hours, the mixture will be too hard to work with. If this occurs, allow the mixture to sit at room temperature until they are pliable enough to work with.
3. If you are infusing truffles with spirits of any sort be sure to let the chocolate cool enough, so the heat does not burn off the alcohol. A good measure of readiness is to place a small dab of chocolate on your lips, if it’s warm and not hot the truffle mixture is ready to be infused.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a small scoop (2 teaspoons) or a melon baller, scoop out chocolate mixture, roll into one inch balls, and place on prepared baking sheet. Continue with remaining chocolate mixture. Roll balls in your desired coating, I typically use high quality sweetened cocoa powder such as Scharffen Berger. Refrigerate truffles until ready to serve.


{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle February 9, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Great post! A friend of mine gave me the recipes for the truffles we sell at our gourmet cheese shop inside the grocery store where I work. I couldn’t believe how simple they are, and how much we charge for them ($15.99/lb).

Reply

Tracy February 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Love all of these basic tips! Truffles are so much fun to make!

Reply

Happy When Not Hungry February 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm

How cute and so perfect for Valentine’s Day! Yum!

Reply

michele February 9, 2011 at 5:10 pm

wheres step #4?

:(

Reply

Jamie February 9, 2011 at 5:56 pm

It’s fixed now, it got cut off when I cut and pasted from the word document.
-Jamie

Reply

Wenderly February 9, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I ♥ truffles and these look so cute!

Reply

Paula February 9, 2011 at 6:06 pm

What an informative post with some beautiful looking truffles!

Reply

Fuji Mama February 9, 2011 at 6:10 pm

99.9% of the time I scratch my head over why anyone bothers buying truffles when they are SO darn easy to make, like you just proved with this post! YUM. Occasionally, the chocolate maker provides the.1% impetus to purchasing said truffles. But really, I’d rather make my own…then I can eat more…

Reply

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen February 9, 2011 at 9:13 pm

I love to make truffles, it gives me an excuse to eat ganache straight from the bowl! I like the idea of adding Chambord to the ganache, I’ll try that next time.

Reply

Katrina February 10, 2011 at 7:23 am

Thanks for breaking this down for us! I am scared to make truffles for some reason, and now I feel a lot better about it!

Reply

Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies February 10, 2011 at 10:23 am

Jamie, this is a fantastic post. You’ve broken it down into simple, non-intimidating steps, with great troubleshooting ideas. I’ve never made truffles before, but I totally know that I can do it now.

Reply

Shaina February 10, 2011 at 10:39 am

These look so tasty. Sometimes the basic is best.

Reply

Paula B. February 10, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Just returned from the market so I’m stocked up on all the essentials for Valentine’s weekend baking – and here’s your post, yum! I am a huge truffle lover but have been afraid that I couldn’t make my own, I think I will try this recipe, as always so appreciative of your inspiration!

Reply

Michelle February 10, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I love how easy truffles are, yet they still are such a decadent, wonderful treat. These look beautiful. Who wouldn’t want to get these for Valentine’s Day? Or Tuesday? :)

Reply

naomi February 10, 2011 at 6:29 pm

GORGEOUS! Great tips and with great instructions!

Reply

Katie | GoodLife Eats February 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm

I have never made truffles but I love to eat them. Thanks for the tips!

Reply

Amanda February 10, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Great tips!! There is a ton of fantastic information on this post alone… would you be willing to do more?? As a self proclaimed bad cook, I can use all the help I can get, and your explanations and wording is so easy to read and comprehend!

Blessings-
Amanda

Reply

Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction February 10, 2011 at 7:49 pm

These are simple and stunning! Lovely :)

Reply

TidyMom February 10, 2011 at 8:31 pm

WOW these look and sound AMAZING!! love the trouble shooting tips too!!

Reply

Cookbook Queen February 10, 2011 at 8:56 pm

LOVE LOVE LOVE the tips!! I have never made truffles (been a bit intimidated, actually) so this is extremely helpful.

Yours look gorgeous!!

Reply

bridget {bake at 350} February 11, 2011 at 9:10 am

Very helpful…..thank you! :)

Reply

Kristen February 11, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Such a great instruction post. We love these especially this time of year!

Reply

Laurel February 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm

These are beautiful! And all the tips and steps you gave are great, thanks! I’d love for you to submit this to the M&T Spotlight at http://www.makeandtakes.com/spotlight.

Reply

Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles February 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Chocolate Truffles are one of my biggest indulgences…love, love, love them! Love your photos!

Reply

find exercises to relieve shoulder pain April 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm

cool internet site. Gave me a improved perception of all the market. Thank you partner

Reply

Lisa September 2, 2011 at 7:41 pm

My sister sent me these tiramasu truffles from this site http://www.sugar-plum.com/Tiramisu-Truffles-p/bu145.htm and I absolutely love them. But I don’t want to order half a pound at a time (it took me a while to get through them, they were so rich!)

Can you post something on how to make flavored truffles? Not just the Tiramisu ones there, but there are these Raspberry Truffles that I just LOVE!
I’m going to try to make this recipe over the holiday weekend, I would love to surprise my sister with a home made batch!!!! Wish me luck!
– Lisa

Reply

Rebekah December 19, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Thank you so much for the tip on adding heated cream to “fix” breakage!!

Reply

Susan February 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm

I am helping my future sister in law plan her wedding. Right now, we’re working on the wedding favors. Kelly is giving the reception guests a single truffle. These will make the perfect gift! I did a test run and these were easy to make and delicious! She and I began looking for packaging, and we found the cutest favor boxes from Box and Wrap! These boxes fit a single truffle, and the boxes come in all colors. Favors Done!

Reply

Tiffany March 12, 2012 at 2:00 am

I make truffles all the time with nutella it’s so good!!

Reply

Josie July 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Hello, I will be attempting to make these truffels as wedding favors. Are the hard enouth to put in little boxes. (4 in each box). Thank you. Josie

Reply

Jamie July 27, 2012 at 10:52 am

Josie-
I always recommend that people do a series of test runs before using a recipe for a big event such as a wedding. Yes, they are definitely hard enough to store in boxes, but you will definitely want to store them within the refrigerator until you are ready to serve them. They will get melty if they get too warm. Hope this helps.
Jamie

Reply

Jessica Flory June 19, 2013 at 11:02 am

These look awesome! Do you think if I used 2% milk instead of cream it would still work?

Reply

Jamie September 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Hi Jessica,
Thanks for your comment! Heavy cream has a very different structure to any kind of regular milk, even whole milk. I would not substitute it here, your truffles will never solidify.
– Jamie

Reply

colette December 16, 2013 at 7:08 pm

hi can u tell me how long I can keep them in fridge before giving as a gift thank u

Reply

Jamie January 10, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Colette, they’ll keep for about a week.
– Jamie

Reply

Carolina Bulla December 9, 2013 at 8:15 am

I don’t really want to add liquor. What can I do if I want to make blueberry or coconut flavoured truffles?
Thank you.

Reply

Jamie January 10, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Carolina, you can use extract in those flavors in place of alcohol.
– Jamie

Reply

Nicola December 20, 2013 at 2:57 pm

How long will these last? Also can they be covered in chocolate?

Reply

Jamie January 10, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Nicola, these will last for up to a week in the refrigerator, and yes, you can cover them in chocolate.
– Jamie

Reply

ashley dellinger December 24, 2013 at 12:01 am

Sooooo…making a bunch of these for christmas but I want to booze em up! In your directions it says add the alcohol when they are cooler…so put in fridge, take out, add alcohol & then back in fridge until ready? Also with cheaper chocolate does it just affect taste or will it affect how it sets up too? I bought some white choc bark for example to make some of these white chocolate in addition to the original choc ones. Will that work? Last…do you have any fun flavors ideas that youve tried? Im thinking ill do white choc Rasberry, Choc with sea salt & caramel, Lemon & powdered sugar & I have some Peanut Butter flavored vodka so IM thinking choc peanut butter would be tasty too.

Reply

Jamie January 10, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Ashley, that method sounds perfect to me. The quality of chocolate will always affect the outcome, but I think you can use white chocolate bark just fine. I’ve never seen peanut butter flavored vodka, that sounds amazing!
– Jamie

Reply

Insaniac99 January 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Just want to point out that if one is properly using their double boiler, you never have to worry about the temperatures getting high enough that you have to worry about the alcohol evaporating. The melting point of chocolate is usually between 86 and 90 °F, The melting point of butter is 82.4 – 96.8 °F. You really shouldn’t be getting above 100°F while working with the chocolate.

To contrast this Ethanol boils at 173.3°F, WAY above the temperatures you should be working in. So no need to let it cool if you are doing everything else properly.

Reply

isidiate January 18, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Good point, but a liquid will start evaporating before it gets to its boiling point. Think of, say, clothes drying on a line: the water is at room temperature but will still gradually evaporate. Moreover, the higher the temperature the quicker the clothes will dry. Same deal with the ethanol in your liqueur. On the other hand, losing a bit of ethanol is not the end of the world, and maybe adding your liqueur while the chocolate is a bit warmer is perfectly acceptable to you as a chef :)

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: