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…
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.
-high quality chocolate (such as Scharffen Berger or Guittard)
-small scoop (about two teaspoons or a melon baller)
– shallow casserole dish
-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!
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?
- 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 #5)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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