Truffles are simply classic chocolate ganache formed into small balls and rolled in cocoa powder to resemble their namesake -- the French black truffle (the most expensive mushroom in the world). While truffles are easy to make, do not skimp on the ingredients – use heavy cream (not half and half, light cream or fat free cream), real butter (to complement the butter fat in the chocolate) and use the best chocolate you can buy. (I once tried this recipe with half and half instead of cream and it turned into cake icing delicious but my truffles never kept their shape)!
12 ounces semisweet chocolate (chips or coarsely chopped bar)
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (e.g. Hershey, Droste Ghiradelli)
Place chocolate in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
Warm cream in a small saucepan over low heat. As soon as you start to see bubbles around the edges of the pan, turn off the heat and pour chocolate into the warm cream. Stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is completely smooth. Add the butter and vanilla and stir until it is completely incorporated. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until it is firm enough to shape into balls.
Place powdered cocoa in a bowl and powder your hands with it (really, so the truffles won’t stick to your hands. Scoop out a heaping tspful of the chocolate mixture and roll it into a ball between your palms. Roll the ball in cocoa until it is completely covered. Roll it lightly in your palms again to make sure the cocoa sticks, then re-roll the truffle in cocoa. Repeat with the remaining chocolate mixture.
If the mixture gets too soft to hold its shape, place it back in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, until it can be handled easily.
Store the truffles in layers, separated by wax paper, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. They are best served at room temperature, but they must be stored in the refrigerator.
Add 3 tbsps almond liqueur (such as amaretto) when you add the butter and roll the truffles in finely chopped almonds instead of cocoa powder, or push a whole toasted almond inside the rounded truffle before rolling it in the cocoa.
Add 3 tbsps whiskey with the butter and roll in finely grated white chocolate.
Add 3 tbsps orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier) and 1 tsp finely grated orange rind when you add the butter.
Double Chocolate Truffles:
Roll the balls in finely grated chocolate or chocolate jimmies instead of cocoa powder