Revised November 2021, for a slightly firmer ganache
For easy truffles, this recipe skips the dipping (which makes a hard chocolate outside) and simply rolls the truffle center, or ganache, in a coating, like cocoa powder. It’s less mess, less work, and you don’t have to worry about tempering (which makes the hard outside attractively shiny).
A classic truffle ganache is bittersweet or semisweet chocolate flavored with cognac. But you can vary the type of chocolate, the flavoring, and even the coating, to create infinite possibilities. There are a few variations, plus ideas for other flavorings and coatings, in the photo and at the end of the recipe. (For more about truffles, see this post.)
Makes about 24 truffles
- 8 ounces good-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate or 12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons cognac or liqueur or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or other coating
Place the chocolate and cream in a medium metal bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water and stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the cognac, liqueur, or vanilla.
Pour the mixture into an 8-by-8-inch baking pan and freeze until the ganache is the consistency of fudge, about 30 minutes. Use an ice cream scoop, melon baller, or small spoon to form the ganache into rough, tablespoon-sized rounds. Place the rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and refreeze for about 15 minutes. Remove from the freezer and, working quickly, form each round into a 1-inch ball.
Either sift the cocoa over the truffles, turning them for even dusting, or roll the truffles in a dish of the cocoa. Store the finished truffles covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Ideally, bring to room temperature before serving.
For Raspberry Truffles: Use Framboise or other raspberry liqueur in place of the cognac. Use crushed freeze-dried raspberries mixed with sparkling sugar in place of the cocoa powder.
For Orange Almond Truffles: Use Amaretto, Grand Marnier, other almond or orange liqueur in place of the cognac. Use chopped toasted almonds mixed with chopped dried oranges or orange zest in place of the cocoa powder.
For the Café Latte Truffles: Use Kahlua or other coffee liqueur in place of the cognac. Use powdered milk mixed with instant espresso or a little cinnamon in place of the cocoa powder.
For Lavender Truffles: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 2 tablespoons chopped lavender and 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream and heat to barely simmering. Remove from the heat and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes before straining through a fine-mesh strainer. Use in place of the cream.
Ideas for ganache flavorings:
Cognac, Framboise, Amaretto, Grand Marnier, Kahlua, or other liqueurs
Scotch, Whiskey, Rum, or other hard liquor
Extracts (vanilla, almond, rum, or others)
Herbs and spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, bay leaves, rosemary, or others)
Ideas for truffle coatings:
Dried or freeze-dried fruit
Chopped, toasted nuts
Colored or powdered sugar
Jimmies or sprinkles
Spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, allspice, or others)
Crushed cookies or Rice Krispies
Crushed dried flowers (rose petals, lavender, or others)