Just about everyone has had a chocolate truffle at some point in their life, and just about everyone who’s had one loves them. When I think of truffles I tend to think of the holidays, but really there’s no one season reserved to enjoy them. As some of you may have deduced, truffles get their name for their resemblance to truffle mushrooms, and to be considered a true truffle they should conform to a few standards. Namely they will have a firm ganache coated in tempered chocolate and then rolled in cocoa powder, nuts or other rollable topping.
The great thing about chocolate truffles is that they’re simple enough to master and keep handy when the holidays roll around or you want to impress your in-laws, but also challenging enough that they provide a good entry into more advanced chocolate confections like molded bon bons. The most common truffle is probably the rum truffle. Thanks to a night I spent as a teenager with a bottle of Meyer’s dark, I don’t really mess around with rum too much but not to worry, you can substitute just about any alcohol in this recipe. Alcohol such as sweet, delicious bourbon.
The most common truffle issue people face is a shell that cracks. This seems to be one of those pastry issues that receives a whole mess of attention and a slew of “fixes” and answers that are mostly false and at worst total bullsh*t. Here’s the thing, chocolate truffle shells will crack only if the center shifts in volume after the shell is set. It’s that simple. Chocolate contracts when it is cooled and then expands once it warms, so coating your truffle centers when they are cold is a bad idea because the outer shell will quickly set, only to split when the center warms and expands.
The answer to avoiding cracked truffle shells is two fold. First, make sure your truffles are room temperature before applying tempered chocolate to them. Second, dip your truffles twice. The first coating of chocolate will be thin and ensure that the shell is set and not moving which will mean you’re safe to add more tempered chocolate without fear of cracking.
232g heavy cream
337g chocolate, 61%
93g butter unsalted
Bring the heavy cream to a simmer and pour it over the chocolate.
Let the mixture stand for 2-3min. and hand blend until emulsified.
Add the butter and bourbon and hand blend once more until emulsified.
Pour the ganache onto a sheet pan lined with plastic wrap and add a second layer of plastic wrap to touch.
Let the ganache cool and set until stiff enough to pipe.
Using a 12mm round piping tip and a flat tray (I’m using a half sheet sized piece of plexi glass) pipe ganache into drops approx. ¾”/1.9cm wide and tall. Piping drops this size will give a final truffle close to an inch wide.
Lightly cover the piped ganache with plastic wrap and let it set overnight in the fridge.
After 12-24hr of setting time, allow the piped ganache to come back to room temperature (2-3hrs). Once warmed to room temperature, take each drop of piped ganache and start by lightly pressing and shaping it into a sphere with your fingertips. Then, lightly roll the piped ganache in your hands to create smooth spheres.
Temper some chocolate and lightly coat the balls of ganache. Add a small amount of tempered chocolate to the palm of one hand and then roll the balls in and around the chocolate to give it a thin, even coat.
Let the coated truffles-to-be set fully before the second and final dip in tempered chocolate.
Have a tray of cocoa powder (or whatever you plan to roll your truffles in) ready before giving them the final coat of chocolate.
Temper your chocolate and have it ready in a deep bowl.
Drop the truffles into the chocolate 1-2 at a time and coat them completely by “spooning” tempered chocolate over them.
Using a dipping fork if you have one and a regular fork if you don’t, lift the truffles up out of the chocolate. Rapidly lower the truffle to just touch the surface of the chocolate several times. This is known as “pomming” and will create suction that will pull some excess chocolate off of the truffle.
Gently scrape the bottom of the fork along the rim of the bowl to further remove chocolate and immediately place the truffle into the cocoa powder and let it sit for a minute or two, or until you see the chocolate just start to set, then roll it around in the cocoa powder until fully covered. If you use your fork to roll the truffle, wipe it clean before dipping the next truffle. I’ll also keep a spoon handy for coating and rolling the truffles in cocoa powder.
Let the truffles set in the cocoa powder and then sift off excess cocoa powder before storing or serving.