I am not typically one to go to a lot of trouble for my sweets. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good dessert, but I’m generally content to either buy them or convince one of the able bakers in my family to make something for me. But these truffles are delicious and fun to make, and I think they may become a regular addition to my dessert arsenal. My kitchen is currently covered in chocolate, but my adventure was well worth it. This particular batch of truffles is part of my Christmas present to Blueberry Sis. As mentioned before on this blog, Blueberry Sis 1. loves rich dessert and 2. is allergic to everything. I looked in vain in stores and online for a set of truffles she wouldn’t be allergic to, but came up empty. So I decided to take on the project of making an exotic assortment of truffles that she could eat.
To start: chop up a pound of dark chocolate. I used half semi-sweet chocolate chips and half Scharffen Berger 70% dark chocolate.
Next, scald a cup of cream and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then stir until the mixture is smooth and has no lumps.
If you have chopped your chocolate fine enough, the heat of the cream should be enough to melt the chocolate. I did not chop my chocolate finely enough, so I put my bowl over a pot of boiling water (double-boiler style) to finish off melting the chocolate.
Next, set aside the chocolate to cool in the refrigerator. (I was in a hurry, so I used the freezer.) If you want to incorporate any flavorings into the chocolate itself, you can separate out some of the ganache into small bowls and mix in the flavoring and this stage. I set aside two flavored types of ganache: one with a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar (trust me, it’s delicious) and one with a pinch of espresso powder. You can also use any liqueur that suits your fancy.
When the ganache is set, remove a spoonful of ganache and roll it in your hands until it takes on nice round shape. This is a messy process. Try to work quickly or the truffles will melt. If you have a melon baller or very small ice cream scoop (which I do not), I gather that using it will make the process easier. Cooking for Engineers recommends setting the rolled truffles in the fridge for a few minutes so that they harden and are easier to work with, but I found that a slightly softened exterior helped the coatings stick. If your truffle gets very soft and won’t hold its shape, a few minutes in the fridge should fix the problem.
The truffles will be soft, so you need to coat them with something. The easiest thing to do is to drop them in a bowl of cocoa powder and roll them around until they are coated. You can also use chopped nuts, coconut or any other fine topping.
My truffles, from left to right: plain chocolate; chocolate rolled in crystallized ginger; Mexican-inspired truffles rolled in a mixture of cocoa, cinnamon and cayenne pepper (topped with a few pepitas); balsamic truffles rolled in chopped toasted pine nuts, espresso infused truffles rolled in a mix of cocoa and espresso powder (topped with an espresso bean), and sesame truffles.
All of them were good, but the balsamic-pine nut truffles and the sesame truffles were my favorites. The sesame ones were a bit more complicated than the rest. I made up a mixture of roasted tahini and sugar and dabbed a bit in the middle of each truffle before rolling the truffle into a ball shape and finishing the truffle with sesame seeds. It was messy and a bit tricky to get the hang of, but really, really good. The ginger truffles tasted great, but I didn’t chop the ginger finely enough and the ginger didn’t stick as well as the other topping. The garnishes on the espresso and Mexican truffles are optional, but they helped me remember which were which.
When the truffles are done, put them in the fridge to set. Allow them to come to room temperature before eating.