Valentine’s Day – the day for lovers! When you have someone special in your life, even if that ‘someone’ is YOU – because you are special, too! – Chocolate truffles are one of the very first things that come to mind as a Valentine gift.
They are not hard to make but do take a bit of time and fuss but oh soooo worth it! And if you make them for someone special, they are worth that much more because it shows how special you make them feel!
So make yourself feel special. And have fun with these! They really are fun to make and to match the inner chocolate flavor with the various coatings.
For dessert – or champagne – or a wonderful cup of coffee or tea, it’s a perfect ending for Valentine’s Day or any special occasion.
Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all from Cooking With Char!!
Basic Truffle Ingredients
- 8 oz. high quality dark chocolate (at least 62% cacao) well chopped into small pieces
- ½ c heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
Optional basic flavoring solids (usually only 1 at a time)
- 1 bunch mint leaves, stems removed, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 cinnamon stick + 2 cardamom pods
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. Amaretto
- 1 tsp. Almond extract
- Cocoa powder
- Finely chopped walnuts
- Finely chopped almonds
- Finely chopped pecans
- Finely chopped toasted coconut
- Mocha (finely powdered espresso, cocoa & powdered sugar whisked together)
- White non-pareils
Place the chopped chocolate in a large deep bowl. Depending on how you plan to make the truffle balls (see below), you may want a shallow tray plus bowls of coatings and trays or platters on which to set the finished truffles.
In a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine the whipping cream and vanilla and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly to keep it from scalding. Occasionally, scrape down the sides. If you are using any one of the “optional solid” ingredients, add it just when the cream begins to simmer. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 1 hour (letting the solids “steep” to flavor the cream). If not using any solids, proceed from here.
If you used the “solids”, strain carefully to remove all evidence of the solids. I suggest you use several layers of cheesecloth placed in a mesh strainer. Discard cheesecloth and solids. Heat the strained cream gently to just below the simmer.
Add any optional 1 – 1-1/2 tsp. flavoring you want such as rum, crème de cocoa, coconut, etc. to the warm cream and stir well. (When using flavorings added to chocolate, its best to use oil based – rather than alcohol based – flavorings to ensure the chocolate won’t “seize”. This won’t be necessary here because you are adding it to the cream, not directly to the chocolate.) Add 1 tsp. vanilla and stir. Pour the warm cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until chocolate has completely melted. This is also called “ganache” and can be used as a frosting or glaze.
Allow to cool slightly and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
Remove ganache from refrigerator. You can roll the balls in your hands quickly (be quick as the heat of your hands will melt the chocolate) or: use a melon baller or small ice cream scoop to make your truffle balls by scooping and releasing the balls directly in the coating of your choice.
You can “double” your coating by dipping them in melted chocolate using 2 forks or a “dipping spoon” available at most cooking stores or baking and cake decorating stores. It’s a hollow, triangular end to a long stem you slip under the truffle, lower it into the chocolate to coat, lift to allow the excess to drip back into the bowl, then set it on a platter to set and continue – or drop it into the next bowl (such as chopped nuts so the nuts ‘stick’ to the wet chocolate, then using a fork or thin knife, roll it around to coat on all sides and place on a platter to set up.
You can go directly from scooping the chocolate to any of the coatings; just be sure to roll them around to cover them completely! Making them with several coatings and arranged on a plate make them look as beautiful as they will taste!
Refrigerate until set. Remove from refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving.