Swoon-worthy Chocolate Truffles
The process for making ganache is actually quite simple, and although truffles are generally “enrobed” in a thin shell of melted and tempered chocolate, it’s not uncommon to skip this step. Here are a few things to consider when making ganache at home—and when trying my recipe for chocolate truffles.
Choose your chocolate thoughtfully
A well-made ganache is a smooth emulsion of chocolate and cream, most commonly represented in a ratio of 2 parts to 1. Chocolate is finely chopped and combined with simmering cream, then blended until smooth.
As with any thoughtfully crafted food, it’s worth your time to seek out high-quality raw materials, as the finished product is only as good as the ingredients used to make it. Take time to taste several fine-quality chocolates—the inherent flavors in the chocolate are what will distinguish one finished candy from the next. Much like coffee and wine, the world of chocolate encompasses multiple varieties; you will notice subtle flavor variations in chocolate from different origins. In addition, the varying levels of sweetness, bitterness, and acidity will lend their own personality to the final creation.
Experiment with ingredients you love
And although my recipe proposes the addition of cognac, there are boundless opportunities to experiment with other spirits, fruit purées, or even strong coffee. A little softened butter will enrich the chocolate even further and provide a distinctly delicate mouthfeel.
Chill, shape, and enjoy!
At home, you can simply prepare your ganache and then allow it to chill in the refrigerator for an hour or so before shaping the candies. Once the ganache is firmed up, you can pipe or scoop it into bite-sized pieces, dust lightly with cocoa powder, and coax each piece into a roughly spherical shape. Excess cocoa powder can be sifted off once you have finished the shaping.
Chef Durfee’s Chocolate Truffles
Because these truffles are not coated in a chocolate shell, they will soften at room temperature. Keep them refrigerated and eat them within a few days...if you can wait that long!
1⁄4 cup heavy cream
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped fine
2 tablespoons butter, softened at room temperature
1 tablespoon cognac
Heat cream to a simmer. (This can be done in a small sauce pan or in a microwave-safe bowl.)
Add chopped chocolate directly into the cream and blend carefully with a wire whisk. Once the chocolate is fully incorporated, blend in the softened butter, followed by the cognac. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the chocolate mixture and refrigerate until firm.
Pipe or scoop into bite-sized pieces. Refrigerate further if the mixture softens too much. Once firm, dust with cocoa powder and roll gently between your palms to round off the shapes. Remember, truffles found in the wild are not perfectly spherical, and yours need not be either.
Store in the refrigerator. These are best if removed from the fridge about 30 minutes before eating, but that is personal preference.
CIA Professor Stephen Durfee is an American Culinary Federation-Certified Executive Pastry Chef. He competed as a member of Team USA in the prestigious Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie in 2013.