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You have not lived until you've had a chocolate truffle. This is one candy that you can be very creative with visually, get out a little white chocolate. Flavor some of it with raspberry or hazelnut, your call. Match coffee (Kahlua) with chocolate, caramel with hazelnut, this is totally up to you. Get out a bunch of spoons so you can drizzle and polka dot everything, you can't go wrong. As a covering you can also use just cocoa, almonds (or other nuts, crushed), and just about anything else you'd put on ice cream. For the liqueur I'd suggest something with a fruit flavoring or amaretto or the sort.

Another note is that there are no actual truffles in this recipe. This may seem strange, but it's not. They're very expensive and hard to get, but there are recipes that contain them. I encourage someone to node one, but I've never had the opportunity to make them so I don't have one on hand. But as far as those that contain real truffles the truffle is in the middle of the ball.

8 ounces of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream (32% milk fat)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 tsp favorite liqueur

All the garnishes are left out here, before you start get a few things that you like together. You'll have plenty of time, this isn't one of those that you have to rush through, but you want to make them soon before you serve them. That's just a usual candy rule, very little candy will last over a day after it's made.

Stirring occasionally put the chocolate and cream into a pot over warm heat until the chocolate melts, add the butter. Cool and add the liqueur, then put it in the fridge for a few hours or until it's cold. spoon it out now and make small balls, about the size of the end of your thumb.

The rest of this you'll want to practice a little and take your time with. Have a baking sheet available, melt a little bittersweet or unsweetened (baker's) chocolate. Dip the ball in a spoon and drop it onto the baking sheet. Give it a little while until you can handle it and roll it in cocoa, then roll half of it in almonds. Drizzle it with something, it will look very good. Make sure you leave someone for the guests.

For the next few you can dip them in chocolate, dust them with powdered sugar and dip the top in white chocolate. For another you can dip it in white chocolate twice, then drizzle it with bittersweet. White with coconut works too, cocoa drizzled with bittersweet is incredible. No one will be able to keep their hands off of them, experiment and enjoy.

As a small note, I've been meaning to try something. Liqueur frozen into a tiny ball, or some kind of flavoring pressed into the middle of the ball, so that it becomes a liquid later. If anyone wants to try this and tell me how it goes, I'd be delighted to hear. As an addition if you have candy molds you can drop a little of something into that, add the truffle and then fill the rest with melted chocolate. Experimentation is the key.

A chocolate truffle is a small round candy made primarily of chocolate, with the addition of some heavy cream, butter, and, often, liqueur. Classically, truffles are shaped by hand and dusted with cocoa powder, giving them a resemblance to the much-sought-after and very expensive fungus truffle, after which they are named. The fungus variety is nice, but these chocolates are to-die-for delicious: rich, smooth, melting, delicious. I have had people pronounce my homemade truffles the best thing they have ever eaten. They are amazing.

I prefer to make these with bittersweet chocolate, which yields a not-so-sweet but very chocolate-y treat. But you can use semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate, or even white chocolate if you prefer. Just one thing to remember: the primary ingredient is chocolate, so it pays to invest in the best quality you can find: Callebaut, Valhrona, something of that calibre.

I prefer to coat truffles with the traditional cocoa (get Dutch process cocoa powder, it's less bitter), but you can use icing sugar, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or anything else that takes your fancy. Or place them on waxed paper and drizzle them with ganache or couverture, which will harden into a shiny coating.

Finally, please be aware that although, unlike many other types of candy, truffles are very easy to make (no finicky tempering of chocolate, no candy thermometer, no special molds), the rolling of truffles is very messy. Unless you have ice cold hands, your palms will be coated in chocolate, and unless you are fanatically neat, there will be cocoa powder all over your counter and chocolate on your floor. All this can be distressing, but your anxiety will melt away like the truffle in your mouth once you taste the fruits of your labour.

What you need to make about 4 dozen truffles

  • 1 lb (225 gr) high quality bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream (35% butterfat)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) unsalted butter
  • (optional) 2 tblsp (30 ml) liqueur (I like Grand Marnier, but any fruit flavour liqueur or even Cognac)
  • about 1/2 cup cocoa powder for rolling

What to do

Melt the chocolate gently in a double boiler (or a bowl set over a pot of simmering water). Meanwhile, heat the cream and butter in a pot until steaming, then let cool slightly.

Mix the cream and butter together, then pour over the chocolate and fold together until uniformly combined. Stir in liqueur if using.

Pour the mixture into a large rectangular pan and place in the refrigerator until fairly firm. What you are aiming to do is scoop out a small ball of chocolate, drop it into the cocoa, and roll it around till covered. To scoop, I use a melon baller that is heated under hot running water between every scoop; yclept uses a small ice cream scoop with an ejector. Place your chosen coating in a Tupperware container and drop in several balls, cover, and shake to coat generously. Remove the coated balls of goodness with chopsticks and place in another Tupperware container, placing wax paper between each layer.

There is probably an optimal moment at which the chocolate is the perfect consistency to form uniform round balls, but I have not found it. If it's too soft, it won't form a ball at all; if it's too hard, it'll form a lump that bears a passing resemblance to a round ball. You may feel tempted to spend more time rolling the misshapen object between your palms to make it more round, but don't bother: it just melts all over your hands without achieving perfect sphericality. So give up the perfectionism and revel in the fact that everyone will know you made these by hand. If you end up sharing....

Truffles will keep in the fridge for a month in a tightly sealed container, or in the freezer for six months. Let come to room temperature before eating for maximum impact.

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