Truffles are a rich and elegant, bite-sized petit four made from a creamy mixture of
chocolate, cream, and butter to which various flavorings can be
added (liqueurs, extracts, nuts, coffee, purees, spices, candied or
dried fruits). A Chocolate Truffle mixture is really a Ganache that is rolled into mis-shaped
rounds to look like the real truffle fungus that grows around the roots of trees
in France and Italy. Once the truffles are formed
they are then rolled in cocoa powder to simulate the 'dirt' that the real truffles
grow in. While cocoa powder is the traditional coating, truffles can also
be coated in confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, toasted and chopped nuts, tempered chocolate,
shredded coconut, or even shaved chocolate.
Now, the taste and quality
of the truffle is primarily dependent on the quality of chocolate you start
with. Remember not all chocolates are the same. Chocolate begins
beans from the tropical tree Theobroma which translates to "Food of
the Gods". There
are three types of cacao beans (Forastero,
Criollo, and Trinitario) and
the type and/or blend of beans, their quality, and where they are grown all
contribute to the quality and taste of the chocolate. Other factors
affecting taste and quality are how the beans are roasted, how the beans are
ground into a mass called chocolate liquor,
how much extra cocoa butter is added to the chocolate liquor, quality and amount
of other ingredients added, and how long the chocolate liquor is conched
(processed). A chocolate with a velvety smooth texture will
produce a truffle that is velvety smooth. However, the most important
point to consider when choosing either a bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate for making
your truffles is whether you like the chocolate when eaten out of hand.
Once you have
decided on your chocolate, you then need to decide on your choice of alcohol to
flavor your truffles and also the coating. The choice is yours but there
are a few things to consider. For example, if you want a hazelnut flavored
truffle it is a good idea to add Frangelico to the chocolate and cream mixture
and then coat them in chopped hazelnuts. Or if you would like your
truffles to have a coffee flavor stir about one tablespoon of espresso powder
into the hot cream and then add Kahua or Tia Maria to the truffle mixture.
For fruit flavored truffles use 2 tablespoons of fruit puree or jam (raspberry or
blackberry) in place of the alcohol. Orange flavored truffles can be made
by adding about 1 tablespoon of orange zest to the hot cream. Let the
cream steep for about 10 - 15 minutes and then strain out the zest. Then
add Grand Marnier to the truffle mixture. As you can see there are endless
variations to the basic truffle so experiment and come up with your own
recipes. Truffles store very well. They can be refrigerated for a
couple of weeks or frozen for several months. Truffles are best when
served at room temperature.
Truffles: Place the
chopped chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring
just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate
and allow to stand for a minute or two. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.
(If the chocolate doesn't melt completely, place in the microwave for about 20
seconds, or over a saucepan of simmering water, just until melted.) If
desired, add the liqueur. Cover and place in the refrigerator
until the truffle mixture is firm (this will take several hours or overnight).
coatings for the truffles on a plate. Remove the truffle mixture from the
refrigerator. With your hands, a small ice cream scoop, a melon baller, or a small spoon form
the chocolate into round or mis-shaped bite-sized balls. Immediately roll the truffle in the
coating and place on a parchment lined baking sheet or tray. Cover and
place in the refrigerator until firm. Truffles can be refrigerated for a
couple of weeks or else frozen for a couple of months. Bring to room temperature
To Toast Nuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and bake nuts (pecans, walnuts or
almonds) about 8 - 10 minutes or until brown and fragrant. For hazelnuts
toast about 15 minutes or until the skins start to blister. Remove from
oven and roll in a clean dish towel. Let the nuts 'steam' for about 5
minutes and then remove the skins. Once the nuts have cooled, chop
cited may include a link to purchase the referenced book on Amazon.com.
Joyofbaking.com receives a commission on any purchases resulting from these
website and the contents are not endorsed or sponsored by the owner of the
"Joy of Cooking" series of books or its publisher Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Video icons by Asher.
Content in any form may
not be copied or used without written permission of Stephanie Jaworski,
Joyofbaking.com. Students and non profit educators may use content without
permission with proper credit.