Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and it’s inspired me to try my hand at making one of the most delectable desserts – chocolate truffles! I have made truffles before but it was quite a while ago. This book that I got for Christmas, “Baking with Less Sugar” had a great recipe in it for Chocolate-Orange Truffles, but I’m not a huge fan of that combination so I adapted it by skipping infusing the orange flavour and substituting with a Tbsp of Jamaican Rum! The flavour isn’t terribly intense, it just a little something lurking in the background that makes the truffles that much more delicious. Don’t be intimidated by this at all – it’s super easy to make and quite fun to roll the little chocolate balls before refrigerating.
I also had fun playing around with Steve’s Canon Rebel. I’ve really missed having a proper camera – one that I can adjust manually and doesn’t completely distort the proportions of the food the way most handhelds or cellphone camera’s do. And because I didn’t plan on eating the truffles right away I had time to set up a little scene and adjust the lighting as well. The process combines two of my greatest loves – food and art! 🙂
Note: If made as directed, these truffles have only 4 grams of sugar per truffle.
2265g / 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 70% cocoa)
249g/ 1 cup heavy cream (35%)
1 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Finishing the truffles:
About 140g/ 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finally chopped (optional)
about 120g / 1 cup cocoa powder
1. To make the filling: Put the chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside. Heat the cream and orange zest in a small saucepan over medium heat until the cream is scalded – that is , there are small bubbles on the surface of the cream and it almost, but not quite, comes to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the cream sit for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours. After the cream has infused with the orange, reheat the cream over medium-high heat until it is piping hot again.
2. Rest a fine-mesh strainer on the bowl of chocolate. Pour the cream through the strainer over the chocolate. Using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon (not a whisk, which will introduce bubbles into your chocolate and make for a less-smooth truffle), slowly stir the chocolate and cream together using small circles in the middle of the bowl. You’ll want to stir all around the bowl to try to get everything to mix together. The more you stir, the more the chocolate will blend into the cream until finally all of the chocolate and cream will be one smooth mixture. When you take the time to stir the cream gently into the chocolate, you’ll get a smoother , silkier final product.
3. Once the chocolate and cream are well blended, stir in the butter and salt, again taking your time to stir-stir-stir until the butter is blended in. This is the base for the truffles, called ganache.
4. Refrigerate the ganache in a covered container overnight until it firms up. The next day, with a small spoon, scoop out rounded 1-Tbsp-size balls of ganache and roll them around in your hands until they are round balls. Place on a platter and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, to finish the truffles, if you want to coat your truffles in melted chocolate before you roll them around in cocoa, bring a saucepan filled partway with water to a very gentle simmer over medium-high heat. Place the bittersweet chocolate in a medium metal or glass bowl. Place the bowl over (not touching) the barely simmering water in the saucepan and heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Alternatively, microwave the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until melted and smooth. Remove the truffles from the refrigerator and, one by one, dip them carefully in the chocolate by resting the truffle on the tines of the fork, lowering it into the chocolate, and using the fork to gently roll them around to fully coat. With the fork, lift up and remove the truffle from the melted chocolate and place back on the platter. Continue with all of the truffles until they are coated with a think coating of chocolate. Place the cocoa powder in a bowl. When the chocolate on the truffles is no longer shiny (it takes about 30 seconds for the chocolate to start setting) and is matte, carefully pick up each truffle one by one with a fork, place in the cocoa powder, and roll it around until coated. Remove the truffle from the cocoa powder and place back on the platter. Let the chocolate and cocoa firm up and serve.
6. Alternatively, you can skip the outer chocolate layer and simply place the truffles as they are directly in the cocoa powder and roll them around until coated. This variation is by far simpler and neater, and the results are still impressive and delicious.
7. The truffles can be stored in an airtight container at cool room temperature for up to 3 days.