Are there tasks associated with cooking or baking that you dread (aside from washing the dishes – I don’t think anyone enjoys that!)? For me, it’s chopping chocolate. I’ll often skip right past a recipe that looks absolutely delicious simply because the ingredient list reads “bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped.” Those two words, finely chopped, are enough to make me run the other way.
Sometimes though, for the right recipe, I’ll put aside my fear and chop chocolate. I’ll break out my cutting board and despite my best efforts at neatness, that chocolate will wind up all over my hands, on the countertops and on the floor. Worse still, if I happen to be making a recipe that calls for pouring hot cream over the chocolate to melt it, my chocolate is never chopped fine enough. The chocolate doesn’t melt fully and I end up having to microwave it briefly to achieve a smooth, silky result (yes, that happened here too – 15 seconds in the microwave at 50% power took care of the problem).
When I saw these truffles on Kristin’s site, the promise of decadent treats made from just two ingredients (3 if you count the optional liqueur), was enough to make me look past the fact that one of those two ingredients needed to be “finely chopped.” The recipe is simple – you make a ganache, let it thicken then chill and finally scoop and form into little bite sized-treats. The process of forming the truffles proved messy, even after chilling the ganache. I used a melon baller, but if I had a smaller cookie scoop, that would have been even better. I rolled my truffles in two different types of cocoa powder and popped each one in its own little silver candy cup.
These truffles were never meant to stay at our house. I don’t even like truffles- too rich for my tastes – but I knew they’d be appreciated by others so I was happy to send them off to be enjoyed. I did, however, keep one here for Shane to taste so I could report back. Kristin had raved about them and the reviews from Martha Stewart’s site (the original source of the recipe) were positive, so I wasn’t too worried. The truffles got a thumbs-up, but the cocoa powder coating? Well, that elicited one of the most adverse reactions I’ve ever seen from Shane to something I made. Needless to say, he wasn’t a fan. I started to worry maybe I’d done something wrong, but when I went back and checked the recipe, it definitely said “unsweetened cocoa powder” and a quick internet search yielded many other recipes that called for the same coating on chocolate truffles. So, I’m left to assume it’s simply a matter of personal preference. Still, I’m curious – if you’ve had truffles rolled in cocoa powder and enjoyed them, please let me know so I can confirm my theory about personal preferences. One thing’s for sure: future truffles in our house will be coated with confectioner’s sugar!
8 ounces best-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon liqueur, such as triple sec or framboise (optional) (I used vanilla extract)
unsweetened cocoa powder, for rolling (confectioner’s sugar would work well too)
Place chopped chocolate into a large heatproof bowl. Bring cream just to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; pour over chocolate in bowl. Stir in liqueur or extract, if using. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand 10 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let stand until thick, about 15 minutes.
Pour chocolate mixture into a shallow 8-inch dish or pie plate. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until mixture is very cold and set but still pliable, about 30 minutes.
Using a teaspoon or a 1/2-inch melon baller, scoop balls of chocolate mixture, transferring them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper as you work. Refrigerate truffles 10 minutes.
Using hands dusted with cocoa powder, dip each truffle in cocoa powder to coat, then quickly shape truffle into a rough round. Refrigerate truffles in an airtight container until ready to serve, up to 2 weeks; before serving, reshape into rounds, and roll each truffle in cocoa powder, if desired.
Yield: I made half of the recipe and wound up with 10 truffles. Mine were slightly larger than the teapoon size indicated in the recipe.