You know what’s awesome? When you can stay friends with folks that you went to high school with 18 years ago. OMG I’m almost FORTY! But I’m presenting you all with this recipe for chocolate truffles from my friend Eve, who is a pastry chef in New York, and AMAZING with her craft. She’s showing us how to make the truffles properly and she’s gettin’ official with it y’all. If you don’t have a scale (which I do) I suggest you head out to get one. You’ll need it for some macarons that you’ll want to make later in life.
I’m glad to still have friends who like interacting with me, and I’m especially blessed to have friends who are pastry chefs, so I can get ideas for great gift worthy items. Show her some love from our houseful, why don’t ya?
Truffles are for lovers…
…And Christmas cookie plates. As a chocolate person, I always order the chocolate dessert at restaurants, and when they cut into cakes at weddings, I’m holding my breath hoping that the interior is my favorite flavor. As a Pastry Chef, I strove to create balance in my menus. There should be something for everyone: a light tart lemony dessert; a warm fruity crisp; a caramelly, gooey cake; and of course, a rich, deep dark chocolate item. Think warm bread pudding, molten centered cake, something flourless, a deep dark pudding. You get the idea.
Christmas cookie making is the same: you want something for everyone. Grandma’s teeth can’t handle the brittle toffee bars, little Mikey is picky and won’t eat anything “weird,” and meanwhile, you’re covered in flour and cocoa powder (the latter in the case of this recipe, but it’s worth it.)
These truffles are a ganache, a basic mix of cream and chocolate, with the addition of whatever flavorings you choose (heat herbs or spices in the cream, then strain), cut when chilled, and toss in cocoa powder to finish. Kids can help, and if you want to change them up, use white or milk chocolate.
The key to maintaining an emulsion, really the main trick of making chocolate truffles, is streaming the hot cream into the chocolate in a food processor, and doing it slowly, almost annoyingly so. And since chocolate makes up half of the ingredients in this recipe, the quality of the chocolate you use is paramount. I like Guittard, Tcho, Callebaut, Valrhona single origin (also Caramellia and Dulcey), Felchlin, Cacao Barry to name a few. Just make sure you don’t use chocolate chips, since they have added stabilizers which will effect the texture of the finished product. This is a recipe I adapted from Now, Forager.
500 grams high quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate, up to 70% (60%-70% will be really dark tasting)
400 grams heavy cream (or 300 grams cream + 100 grams espresso, for a decidedly grownup take)
110 grams unsalted butter, cut into tiny cubes
cocoa powder to coat
8×8″ baking pan
big chef’s knife & ruler or 1/2 oz. ice cream scoop
1. Line an 8×8 baking pan with plastic wrap. I like to splash a little water on the pan before laying down the plastic to help it stick.
2. Put the salt and chocolate into the bowl of a food processor.
3. Bring the heavy cream and flavorings to a boil. Keep a close eye on it, because once the cream starts to boil, it overflows quickly.
4. Strain the cream into a liquid measuring cup or other heatproof vessel, and veeery sloooowly stream it into the spinning chocolate. Once all the cream is added, toss the butter pieces in a few at a time and pulse the mix to fully incorporate the butter.
5. Pour the ganache into your prepared pan and stick it in the fridge, uncovered (water, in this case from condensation, is chocolate’s mortal enemy) until the ganache sets, about an hour.
6. Grab the plastic wrap and quickly slap the whole shebang onto a cutting board. Using a hot, dry knife and a ruler, cut one inch slices in both directions, then cut again in half in one direction (I like a two bite truffle.) Make sure to clean the kitchen knife in between slices for a clean edge. I use the wedding cake cutting technique, which involves a hot glass of water for dipping my knife, followed by a swipe with a clean dry kitchen towel.
You can also scoop the ganache into balls if you prefer the more traditional shape.
7. Chill the cut truffles.
8. Sift cocoa powder into a large bowl, then toss the truffles in the cocoa powder a few at a time, shaking them off, and then put them on a cookie tray, plate, or other large tray to keep them from getting misshapen.