I first learned how to make chocolate truffles in pastry school on the first day of chocolate class. Almost every pastry student at my school dreaded chocolate class.
Some students described it as the gauntlet of desserts. Others described it as the opposite of Disney World. Okay, I may be embellishing, but this class was no joke.
Up until chocolate class, pastry school was fairly tame. Creaming butter and sugar for cookies, decorating cakes with buttercream, proofing dough to make bread. Nothing too intimidating.
Chocolate class involved tempering chocolate, the delicate process of heating, cooling, and reheating chocolate to give it a glossy shine and crisp snap. It involved making enrobed chocolate candies like the ones Forrest Gump carried around. And most aggravatingly, it involved creating handmade garnishes and structures out of a material that melts when you touch it. Too intimidating.
After all this build up, I was delighted to find that chocolate truffles were a cinch to make yet impressive looking and, of course, irresistible to eat.
Pastry nerd alert! A chocolate truffle is a thick ganache, formed into a bite-size shape, and covered in some sort of coating. I know this is a vague description, but truffles are so wonderfully versatile that they can take many, many forms.
Your ganache can consist of just chocolate and cream, or you can play with the type of chocolate and flavor your cream. Dark chocolate and raspberry infused cream anyone? Your chocolate truffles can be perfectly round balls, or you can pipe them into a log shape. Then you could wrap them in wax paper and twist the ends for a nostalgic look. So cute! Your coating could be as simple as cocoa powder or as complicated as tempered dipping chocolate rolled in nuts. Like I said, chocolate truffles take many, many forms.
Today we’re going super simple. Dark chocolate ganache covered in powdered sugar. I love dark chocolate for its deep flavor*, and the powdered sugar brings some sweetness to keep the truffles from being too rich.
These truffles eased me into the daunting world of chocolate, and I hope they do the same for you.
*Personal Admission #31: I also like dark chocolate, because I can eat far too much of it in the name of heart health. This also applies to red wine.
- 4 oz. dark chocolate
- 2 oz. heavy whipping cream
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Coarsely chop chocolate. Place in medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
- Scald cream over medium heat on stove.
- Add the vanilla to the cream and immediately pour over chocolate. Allow to sit for 10 seconds.
- Add the butter to the chocolate and cream. Whisk until homogenous.
- Place ganache in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or until a pipeable consistency.
- While the ganache sets, line a sheet pan with parchment or a non-stick mat. Set aside.
- Fill a piping bag with the set ganache, no tip needed. Pipe bite-size balls onto prepared pan.
- Place the pan into the refrigerator for about 5 minutes to allow the truffles to firm up.
- Using the warmth of your fingers, smooth the tops of the truffles, removing any peaks left from piping.
- Return truffles to refrigerator for another 5 minutes.
- Set a sifter over a medium-sized bowl. Measure out powdered sugar and set aside.
- Remove truffles from fridge and place three or four at a time into sifter. Sprinkle a generous amount of powdered sugar over truffles. Shake sifter until evenly coated (see note). Return to pan. Repeat until all truffles are covered.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- You can also roll the truffles around in a bowl with powdered sugar, but I like using the sifter. I think it gives the truffles a more even coating.