Gourmet chocolate truffles seem like they should be super hard to make, but making chocolate truffles is actually surprisingly easy — and a whole lot of fun, too! It's just one of those foods that's so delicious and fancy looking that you expect it to be really hard, but it's not at all.
You just need a few basic ingredients to make gourmet chocolate truffles, and the method to make them couldn't be easier. The only complicated thing about making chocolate truffles is the time it takes to make them — but even that doesn't have to be so bad.
So why make your own chocolate truffles? Well, for one thing, it's a lot cheaper than buying a box of gourmet chocolate truffles. But it's also very fun and satisfying to make such an elegant dessert, and they make amazing chocolate gifts!
What could be better than something so good, lovingly homemade?
In this article, we'll go over what you need to know about making chocolate truffles: the basic ingredients, the flavorings, the coatings, and the method for making your own gourmet chocolate truffles.
Gourmet chocolate truffles are actually very simple things. They don't need a lot of complicated, expensive, hard-to-find ingredients. You just need chocolate, cream and a bit of butter if you want. You can also use some flavorings and coatings, but we'll go over those in the next two sections.
If you're making chocolate truffles, it's no surprise that you'll need chocolate. But what kind of chocolate should you choose? Here are a few guidelines to help you pick.
The quality of the chocolate you pick makes a huge difference: chocolate is the main ingredient. If you choose low-quality chocolate, you'll end up with low-quality truffles.
Higher end chocolate generally has a better taste, and also melts a lot smoother than lower end chocolate.
A good rule of thumb is to let a piece of the chocolate you want to use melt in your mouth. If it tastes good on its own, melts smoothly, and isn't grainy, you've got a good candidate.
You can pick dark, milk or even white chocolate when making chocolate truffles. As long as it's a good quality chocolate, you can pick any sweetness of chocolate you like. If you don't like bittersweet chocolate, don't use it!
I like to vary what kind of chocolate I use depending on the flavorings I pick. For vanilla truffles, I like a sweeter chocolate, but I prefer semi-sweet to bittersweet chocolate for orange truffles.
The chocolate needs to be chopped up into little bits to make the truffles. So if you can find something that comes in chip form (like Ghirardelli chocolate chips), it'll make your job even easier.
How much chocolate will you need? That depends on how many truffles you want to make. But 12 oz of chocolate (or 2 cups of chocolate chips), makes about 24 to 30 truffles.
It takes more than just chocolate to make an outstanding gourmet chocolate truffle. To get that velvety smoothness and wonderful creamy texture, you need a bit of cream, too.
The amount you need depends on the kind of truffle you want. The more cream you use, the creamier a truffle you'll get, but it'll also be softer at room temperature. If you're coating it in a chocolate shell, that's fine, bit otherwise too much cream will mean too soft a truffle.
For 12oz of chocolate, you can use anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1 cup of cream.
Chocolate and cream are all you need when making chocolate truffles, but you can also add some butter for a bit of extra flavor. Just add a few tablespoons per 12 oz of chocolate, and you're all set. You can add a bit at a time and taste it, adding more until it's just right for you.
With some chocolate, cream, and a bit of butter, you have everything you need to make the most important part of a truffle: the ganache, which is the center, the filling.
You can make a wonderful gourmet chocolate truffle with just chocolate and cream, and maybe some butter, but when you're making chocolate truffles, it's fun to add a little variety, especially if you're giving out chocolate gifts. And that's where flavorings come in.
You can make orange truffles, hazelnut truffles, truffles with vanilla, liqueur or fruit flavoring. Just think about gourmet chocolate truffles you like to buy: you just might be able to make them at home. Here are a few flavorings you can add.
One of the easiest ways to add some flavor to your truffles is to add a bit of extract. You can find vanilla extract at any grocery store, but orange, almond, peppermint, or lots of other extracts make awesome gourmet chocolate truffles.
The amount you'll need depends on the extract and how strong a flavor you want. The best way to get the right flavor is to add a teaspoon at a time in your melted chocolate/cream mixture, stir well, and taste. Then add a bit more if you feel it needs it.
If you like gourmet chocolate truffles with a bit of a bite, you can add some liqueur to your chocolate ganache after you take it off the heat. Just whisk in a teaspoon or two at a time, taste, and add more if you want.
Grand Marnier, Kahlua, or Amaretto all make awesome chocolate truffles, but you can try out lots of different liqueurs.
When you're making chocolate truffles, you have a lot of delicious choices for fruit flavorings. Raspberry, orange, and banana are just a few fruits that are awesome in chocolate truffles. And herbs like mint are great, too.
Sometimes you can just add a bit of extract and get a really authentic taste, but other times you just need the real thing. So how do you add real fruit and herb flavors to your own gourmet chocolate truffles?
For fruit, you can use fruit jam, or just mash your own fruit. For herbs, you can use whole leaves or sprigs. Just add the flavoring to the cream. Heat the cream and let it simmer until it absorbs the flavor. You can strain the milk afterwards to remove any lumps, or leave it as it is for a bit of texture - keeping in mind that not everyone like truffles that aren't perfectly smooth.
Nuts and chocolate are always delicious together. I'm not a huge fan of nut extracts though, so here's what I like to do.
When you're making chocolate truffles, there's really no end to what you can add for flavoring. A hint of a spice like cinnamon, or a bit of strong coffee, or anything else you can think of.
The key is to make sure that it blends well into the mix. You want to keep that nice smooth texture without making it too liquidy. So add it straight to the chocolate if you can, or saute it in the butter before adding it in, or boil it in the milk. And you'll have delicious gourmet chocolate truffles to give out as tasty chocolate gifts.
The last thing you need when making chocolate truffles is a coating. Once your truffle filling is shaped into a ball (we'll go over that in the next section), you can roll them in a bunch of different toppings. Here are some ideas.
Alright... now that you know what you need to make your own gourmet chocolate truffles, let's go over the method for making chocolate truffles.
Chop up your chocolate so that it's in very fine pieces. If you're using chocolate chips, there's no need to chop them up.
In a double boiler of medium low heat, melt the chocolate and cream together. Stir often, and keep heating until the mixture is smooth.
Alternatively, you can just heat the cream, bringing it just to a bowl, then pour it over the chocolate. Let it stand for a minute or two, and then stir it until the chocolate is all melted and the mixture is smooth.
If you do it this way, you can simmer in some flavorings into the cream at this point.
Swirl in the butter and whisk until it's melted and incorporated into the ganache.
Whisk in your flavorings.
Pour the ganache into a bowl, and refrigerate it until it's firm but not hard. It'll take about an hour or two.
You want to be able to scoop out some chocolate and shape it into balls, so it needs to be somewhat soft... but not so soft that it's very melty and sticky.
Shape the chocolate ganache into small balls, each using about a teaspoon or two of the chocolate.
Place your coating in a shallow bowl or plate, and roll your truffles in the coating so that they're completely covered.
Store the truffles in an airtight container. They'll stay good for a few weeks.
Chocolate scorches really easily when it's melting. That's why the mild, indirect heat of a double-boiler is so handy. But if you don't have one, you can always use an aluminum bowl over a pot of boiling water, or a pot directly over very, very low heat.
When you use the double boiler, be sure that there isn't any steam escaping. Any moisture in the chocolate might make it seize up and clump instead of being velvety smooth.
If that happens, you'll have to add more liquid (like cream) until it's smooth again. But it'll likely be too liquidy for making chocolate truffles - although perfect for a fondue!
When you're rolling the truffles, if your ganache warms up too much, you can always re-refrigerate it for a bit until it's the right consistency again.
If you want to dip your truffles in chocolate, I recommend having a few sheets of wax paper to hold the truffles while the chocolate coating sets.
You can dress up your chocolate-dipped truffles by drizzling them with a different colored chocolate. A zig-zag of white chocolate on a milk chocolate truffle looks very elegant and pretty.
Well, there you have it. You'll be making chocolate truffles in no time. And then, you'll be able to give all your friends wonderful chocolate gifts... if you can manage to save a few from your hungry family!