Monday, October 20, 2014

Dark Chocolate Truffles

I used my recent batch of Dark Chocolate Truffles to garnish a cake.

Dark Chocolate Truffles are the answer if you are searching for a homemade treat that is as impressive as it is easy to make.

Truffles are rich, creamy and elegant yet can be made in no time with minimal ingredients and effort. They're just chocolate ganache, cooled, scooped, shaped into balls and rolled in a coating.

The only trick really is to use good quality dark chocolate. My preference is Callebaut Belgian Dark Chocolate. I use the callets which are chocolate bits similar to chocolate chips but without the peak on top. I like to use the callets because it eliminates having to chop the chocolate.
My chocolate choice.

I also like that you can make an assortment of different kinds of truffles by splitting a single batch and just adding different flavorings or liquors to the ganache and rolling them in different coatings like cocoa powder, sprinkles, nuts or coconut.

For a recent batch that I used to decorate a tiered Anniversary Cake, I make the most basic kind — just dark chocolate ganache coated with dark cocoa powder — Simple but soooo goooood!

Here's how I made them:

Place one pound of dark chocolate pieces in a mixing bowl.

Measure out one cup of heavy cream. Heat the cream in the microwave in 30-second intervals until it is simmering, stirring between intervals. Watch the cream closely so that it doesn't boil over. In my microwave the cream was simmering in just 90 seconds.

Pour the simmering cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. This is the time if you choose to add flavorings to the ganache, just make sure the flavoring is alcohol based. Water and chocolate do not mix! Liqueurs like Grand Marnier and Ameretto and extracts like peppermint and raspberry are a few of my favorites. Set the mixture aside to cool for 1 hour.

After one hour, scoop portions of the ganache onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. I used a 1-inch ball scoop for the task. Place the scoops of ganache in the refrigerator to chill for 20 to 30 minutes to firm them enough so that using your hands you can roll them into balls.

After rolling the truffles into balls, roll them in the coating of your choice. I chose dark cocoa powder.

Here are the finished truffles that I used to decorate the cake.

A closeup of the finished cake. To keep the truffles secure, I piped buttercream around them.

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