I haven’t done a lot of holiday baking in the past couple of years because whatever I bake, we eat. I know that’s the point but the combination of my tendency to go overboard (Go big or go home!) and our desire to not eat five hundred cookies and other sweets daily in December indicated that a cut-back was probably in order.
One of the recipes I use that has always been a huge hit is my chocolate truffle recipe. Actually, it’s not “my” recipe: it comes from a book that was published in 1970.
These truffles are so good that I didn’t even make them last year because see that first paragraph. (They don’t last long in this house!) It was hard to restrain myself, but I did it. (NEVER AGAIN.)
Over Thanksgiving break, J asked if we could make some over winter break and of course I obliged because
1. My eighteen-year-old son wanted to make truffles with me
2. Chocolate truffles!!!
The recipe is so simple, it’s ridiculous. It takes about fifteen minutes to mix up and there’s some refrigeration time, and then you just have to roll them up into one-inch balls and coat them in the topping of your choice.
We mixed up the ingredients last night and stuck them in the refrigerator so that we could start rolling the truffles at promptly nine o’clock this morning. (Yes, nine o’clock. What can I say? I like scheduling.)
Choosing the truffle coating is one of the fun parts.
We usually opt for the classic colored sugars (and Wilton makes some fabulous “chunky sugars” that I adore, and they’re pretty, too—see above!) and, when we can get them, cherry bits because there’s nothing like cherry-covered chocolates!
It took us a little more than an hour, working together, to roll and coat about 120 truffles. That number is a double recipe and includes the four or five that J ate (claiming they were “defective”) the two that I ate (for quality control), and the (probably) one or two that got washed off of our hands (ack! the waste!) because hand-rolling truffles is MESSY.
Our system? One of us (mostly J) used a mini scoop—for a while, and then a spoon—to dig the chocolate mixture out of the bowl and then place the lumps onto a parchment paper staging area.
The other one (mostly me, but not in this picture) would then take each chocolate lump and roll it into something that resembled a ball.
The beauty of hand-rolled truffles is that they are not beautiful in the traditional, fine candy sense. There is nothing uniform about them, in size OR shape. As I mentioned above, it’s messy and the roller (usually me) washed his or mostly her hands after about every ten truffle rolls.
Anyway, the warmth created by using the palms of my hands to roll the chocolate lumps into shape made the outside of each ball a little melty, which is the perfect kind of surface for grabbing onto sugar or other toppings.
Naturally it helps a lot to have the little candy liners set up on a cookie sheet or two before you start rolling your chocolate. Once you get them all rolled and coated, it’s time to pop the cookie sheets into the refrigerator to harden everything up nicely. After that, you can package them up however you want! I have put them in clear bags with just a twist tie, on colorful plates, and in all kinds of glassware.
How you package them isn’t really important. What’s most important is that you’ll prove to your family once again that you totally rock. Sweet!
- 1 1/2 lbs. milk chocolate (3 c. shaved or finely cut and firmly packed)
- 1/3 c. heavy cream
- 1/3 c. dairy half-and-half
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- Assorted sugars, cherry bits, or chocolate for coating
- Melt chocolate in top of double boiler over hot (not boiling) water. When melted, beat until smooth.
- Meanwhile, combine heavy cream and half-and-half in a small saucepan; heat to scalding. Remove from heat and let stand until temperature is about 130 degrees.
- Add warm cream to melted chocolate all at once. Beat until smooth and well-blended. (It may get chunky for a minute. Don't panic! Keep blending!) Remove from heat; add vanilla and let cool.
- When cool, beat with electric mixer until candy is light and rather fluffy. Let stand in refrigerator until firm.
- When firm, roll a teaspoonful of candy into a ball in palms of hands. Roll each ball immediately in coating.
- Though the truffles are okay sitting out for a while, they should be refrigerated when possible so they don't get too soft.