Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Truth About Truffles

There's a dirty little secret about truffles.  A secret Lindt and Godiva don't want you to know.  Truffles, for all their rich decadence, are ridiculously easy to make.  There.  I said it.  I hope the chocolate mafia isn't reading.  (I do, however, hope there is a chocolate mafia somewhere out there.)

Anyway.  Truffles.  Chocolate, cream, flavored love.  That's it.  More specifically...

1 pound chocolate, chopped (bittersweet, semi-sweet, or milk)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons flavored love, including a splash of vanilla extract and any of the following: coffee, flavored syrups for coffee, booze (I am especially fond of amaretto or coffee liqueur)

Bring the cream to just below a boil over medium heat.  Remove from heat and add chocolate.  Stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth.  Add liquid love and stir to combine. 

Refrigerate until firm, at least two hours.  Using teaspoons or a very small ice cream scoop, drop onto waxed or parchment paper.  Roll each truffle into a rough ball and return to refrigerator.

Although perfectly tasty as is, truffles in this state can be rather messy to eat.  This can be rectified in a number of ways.  The easiest is to roll each ball in cocoa powder or confectioner's sugar.  While not especially glamorous, this method will give you the closest approximation to the truffle's fungal namesake.  Other low-maintenance options include rolling in finely chopped nuts, flaked coconut, or cookie/graham cracker crumbs. 

If you're looking for an extended shelf life or are feeling fancy, you can dip your truffles in melted chocolate.  Chop up eight ounces of the chocolate of your choice.  Melt about two-thirds of it in a heat-proof bowl over simmering water.  Remove from heat, add remaining chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.  Dip truffles one at a time, using a teaspoon and a small fork.  Place on waxed or parchment paper to set.

So, there you have it.  Truffles are not rocket science.  Heck, they're not even perfectly-flaky-pie-crust science.  They are a thoughtful-gift-or-party-item-sure-to-leave-some-unsightly-rejects-that-you-get-to-keep-for-yourself way to...

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