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All truffles start with a rich chocolate ganache center, flavored or plain. To finish, dip truffles in melted chocolate and sprinkle with sugar decorations or chopped nuts. Or, more simply, just roll the ganache centers in cocoa. Be aware that you're going to get your hands full of chocolate as you make these, but it's SO worth it! P.S. Step-by-step photos illustrating how to make these truffles are available at flourish, our King Arthur blog.
2 cups (about 12 oz.) finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips
1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream
Choose one of the following, if desired; you can also choose to leave your truffles just plain chocolate:
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon raspberry flavor combined with 1/4 cup melted raspberry jam
1 tablespoon espresso powder + 1 1/2 tablespoons coffee liqueur
1/2 teaspoon hazelnut flavor + toasted chopped hazelnuts
1/8 teaspoon orange oil + 1 to 2 tablespoons orange liqueur
1/2 cup finely chopped toffee or praline candy bar
1 pound finely chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (about 2 2/3 cups) OR 1 cup (3 ounces) cocoa
Chopped nuts, sprinkles/jimmies, sugar decorations, nonpareils, cocoa nibs, and/or toasted coconut
Centers: Place the chocolate and cream in a microwave-proof bowl. Heat in the microwave until the cream is very hot. Remove from the microwave and stir until the chocolate is melted. Add the flavors or flavor combinations of your choice. Stir till everything is well-combined.
Line a 9" x 13" baking sheet with parchment or plastic wrap, and pour the chocolate over it; don't spread it out. Cover the pan, and refrigerate for 60 to 90 minutes, until the mixture is thick and "scoopable."
Assembly: When the mixture is cool enough to hold its shape, scoop small balls of the chocolate onto a baking sheet that's been lightly dusted with cocoa. A teaspoon cookie scoop is exactly the right size for this; you want balls that are about the size of a small chestnut, or a small melon ball. For perfectly round truffles, quickly roll each one between the palms of your hands. You have to do this quickly, or the chocolate will become too soft. Your palms will soon be coated with chocolate... yum! Refrigerate the centers for about 30 minutes, covered, till they've firmed up a bit.
Coating: To take the simplest route, coat the shaped centers in unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-process preferred, as it's smoother in flavor than natural). Put the cocoa in a shallow pan and roll the centers around in it; or place cocoa and 4 or 5 centers at a time in a plastic bag, and shake gently to thoroughly coat.
To coat with melted chocolate, heat 2 cups of the chopped chocolate (reserving some to add later) in the microwave until it's melted. Add the remaining chopped (unmelted) chocolate to the melted chocolate. Stir constantly until the chocolate is thick and shiny.
This is the potentially messy part. If you have a chocolate dipping tool, use it to dip each center in the melted chocolate, setting the dipped truffles on a piece of parchment or on a plastic-lined wire rack. Immediately, as you make them, sprinkle each truffle with the garnish of your choice. Be aware that if you don't cover the chocolate coating with a garnish, you'll probably see dull patches on its lovely sheen after a day or so; this is because you didn't temper the chocolate, to keep it shiny. If you have a chocolate temperer, and want to temper your coating chocolate before dipping the centers—go for it! Yield: approximately 3 dozen 1" truffles.
This recipe reprinted from The Baker's Catalogue, Spring through Summer 2001.