Chocolate truffles are often closely associated with decadence and richness, because they have a characteristic dense, intense chocolate flavor which many people find quite appealing. Given the high cost of chocolate truffles found for sale, one might be forgiven for thinking that they are difficult to make.
In fact, chocolate truffles are quite simple to create, and they can be dressed up with a variety of flavors and outer coatings. They will take some time, primarily due to the cooling steps of the process, but once completed, the chocolate truffles are sure to be a hit. To make good truffles, you need high quality ingredients, so prepare to spend money on good bittersweet dark chocolate, high quality milk chocolate, or white chocolate.
The basis for chocolate truffles is ganache, a mixture of chocolate and heavy cream. The slow heating over a bain marie, or double boiler, allows the ingredients to mix slowly, creating a dense, creamy chocolate. There are two ways to make the ganache core at the heart of chocolate truffles. If you want to add flavoring such as orange, almond, or liqueur, to either, do so right after you remove it from the double boiler, stirring until combined.
To make a traditional ganache, start by breaking high quality chocolate into a pan and placing it into a double boiler, which can be easily made by pouring a shallow layer of water into the bottom of a pan and then placing a smaller pan inside. Next, bring cream to the boiling point, and pour it over the chocolate chunks. Stir together until fully blended, pour into a large bowl, and place in the fridge to cool. As a general rule, you want a two to one ratio of chocolate to cream.
The other technique for making ganache starts with 8 ounces (227 grams) of chocolate, melted in a double boiler with one cup (250 mL) of cream. The chocolate mixture should be allowed to cool completely to room temperature before being placed back in the double boiler and warmed again. When the chocolate is reheated, stir in two tablespoons (30 mL) of unsalted butter and stir until fully melted before putting the mixture into a bowl and cooling it in the fridge.
In six to eight hours, the core of your chocolate truffles will be ready to work with. Use a spoon and your hands to form small balls. You may find it helpful to wash your hands in ice water periodically and dry them off so that the chocolate does not melt as readily. You can roll the chocolate truffles in nuts, cocoa, cinnamon, coconut, or other ingredients, or you can dip the balls into a bath of tempered chocolate to create a hard shell.