With Christmas and the holidays getting closer, our thoughts turn to gifting our friends and family. Made from scratch food gifts are often perfect choices as it is never the wrong size, needs to be returned or ends up being put in a closet due to not being the right color. Rather, home made food gifts are often savored and shared with a smile.
Truffles are decadent, delicious and luxurious. Add to that description expensive if purchased in a candy and confectionary shop. Think how much more personal a food gift of home made truffles is, especially with the recipient being uppermost in thoughts.
When wrapping the truffles for gifts, think frugal and festive. Check out thrift shops for beautiful holiday platters and single vintage china plates to place the truffles on, and then the serving piece becomes part of the gift as well. Not only will this look fantastic, but it will also aid the thrift shop’s mission to help others. Wrap with saran wrap and wait for the compliments!
Here are some hints and techniques on making your own truffles, along with several variations for you to customize. Have fun!
Hints and techniques
There are three easy ways to melt chocolate:
- Direct heat which is easy and convenient. Place the chocolate in a heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly till the chocolate begins to melt. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir the chocolate until it is smooth.
- Using a double boiler takes a little longer than the direct heat method but does eliminate the possibility of scorching the chocolate. Place water in the bottom of the double boiler so the top of the water is 1/2 inch below the upper pan. Then place the double boiler over low heat. Stir the chocolate constantly until it is melted.
- Place chocolate pieces or chips in a microwave safe bowl, then melt the chocolate on medium for about 1 minute. Remove, stir and if not completely melted, return to microwave for another 30 seconds.
Make sure all equipment is dry, as any moisture may cause the chocolate to stiffen. Even a single drop of water can cause problems.
Keep heat low to avoid scorching chocolate, and stir often.
Truffles should always be served chilled, placed in paper or foil cups. Serving them on a tiered cake plate is nice if you have several varieties.
Refrigerate the truffles, wrapped well, for up to 1 week or freeze them in an airtight container for 1 month. Remove from the freezer 5 minutes before serving.
Basic chocolate truffles
1/3 cup heavy cream
6 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
About 1/4 cup cocoa
- Bring cream to a boil in a small heavy-bottom saucepan over moderate heat or in a bowl in a microwave.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate and butter, whisking until smooth.
- Pour the warm chocolate mixture into a shallow bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface.
- Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
- Using a spoon, scoop 24 rounded teaspoonsful of the cold chocolate mixture onto a sheet of wax paper.
- Coat your palms with cocoa and roll each mound between your palms to form a ball.
- Dredge the truffles in the cocoa, tossing them gently from one hand to the other to remove the excess cocoa.
- Chill the truffles, covered, for at least 2 hours before serving.
Variations of basic chocolate truffles
Brandied Apricot Truffles
Soak 1 rounded cupful finely chopped or diced dried apricots in 1/4 cup brandy in a covered container for at least 1 hour.
Add this mixture to the warm chocolate mixture.
Make a paste of 1 tablespoon boiling water, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder.
Add the paste to the warm chocolate mixture.
Grand Marnier-Sweet Orange Rind Truffles
Use a zester to remove strips of rind from 3 oranges.
Put the rind in a small saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to a boil and boil 1 minute.
Drain and repeat process.
Bring 1 cup water and 1/3 cup sugar to a boil.
Add rind and boil 5 minutes.
When the rind is cool enough to handle, chop it fine and mix with 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier.
Add the rind and liqueur to the warm chocolate mixture.
Reduce the butter to 1 tablespoon.
Toast and chop 1 cup pecans.
Add 2 tablespoons Kahlua and the nuts to the warm chocolate mixture before chilling.
Add 2 tablespoons dark rum to the warm chocolate mixture before chilling.
Reserve 24 whole Macadamia nuts and finely chop 5 Macadamia nuts.
Mold each truffle around a whole Macadamia nut.
After dredging the truffles in cocoa, dip the tops in the chopped nut
Additional truffle recipes
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 pound milk chocolate
1 pound dark chocolate
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Guinness Stout
- Melt butter and cooking chocolate over hot water.
- Add cream and whisk until mixed well.
- Remove from heat and stir in Stout.
- Chill until firm.
- Melt dark chocolate over hot water, stirring until smooth.
- Remove from heat.
- With chilled chocolate and stout mixture, make 1-inch balls by rolling between your cocoa-dusted hands.
- Melt milk chocolate.
- Dip cocoa covered balls into melted milk chocolate until coated.
- Place in a plate of cocoa power, roll to coat and refrigerate until very firm.
- Store in layers in an airtight container, placing a piece of parchment paper or wax paper between the layers.
- Store truffles in the refrigerator.
Chocolate Raspberry Truffles
1/3 cup whipping cream
8 ounces finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jelly
Sweetened cocoa or ground almonds
- In large saucepan, heat cream to a simmer and turn off heat.
- Add chocolate and butter to hot cream and allow to melt.
- Whisk until smooth.
- Add jelly and mix until blended.
- Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate until firm.
- Roll chocolate mixture into balls.
- Roll each in cocoa or nuts.
- Transfer to paper candy cups and chill.
Chocolate Chai Truffles
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Chai concentrate
1 (10 ounce) bar semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
- Heat cream, butter and chai concentrate until almost boiling.
- Turn off heat and stir in chocolate pieces until completely melted.
- Cool for 1/2 hour.
- With a mixer, whisk on medium high speed until mixture thickens and turns lighter in color, about 10 minutes.
- It should stiffen to a whipped cream consistency.
- Refrigerate for several hours. Scoop up teaspoon-size balls and dust with cocoa powder.
- Dust your hands with cocoa powder and roll gently into balls.
Sinfully Rich Chocolate Pumpkin Truffles
2 1/2 cups (about 62) crushed vanilla wafers
1 cup ground almonds, toasted
3/4 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar, divided
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels, melted
1/2 cup 100% pure pumpkin
1/3 cup apple juice
- Combine crushed cookies, ground almonds, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.
- Blend in melted chocolate, pumpkin and apple juice
- Shape into 1-inch balls.
- Dust with remaining confectioners’ sugar just before serving.