From French Classics Made Easy By Richard Grausman,
Founder & Chairman, C-CAP
Prepared by Mehdi Chellaoui
Chocolate formed to resemble truffles, as they emerge from the earth covered with “dirt,” have been a Christmas specialty in French candy shops for decades. Their worldwide popularity has spawned truffle shops and candy companies specializing only in truffles – although many of the confections carrying this name hardly resemble their namesake. It now seems that anything round and chocolate is called a truffle.
The original chocolate truffles were made of a sturdy, fudgelike mixture, concocted of chocolate, butter, and egg yolks, that can be formed by hand and stand at room temperature without melting. But the contemporary chocolate truffle is made with a combination of chocolate and fresh cream (called ganache) and must be handled carefully and refrigerated, for it melts at room temperature.
Because they melt easily when handled, the soft, creamy chocolates, when formed into balls, are dipped in chocolate to lightly coat and protect them. They are then rolled in cocoa powder, which tastes much better than the soil it represents. Biting into a finished chocolate truffle provides a wonderful combination of sensations. Bitter cocoa covers a thin layer of crunchy bittersweet chocolate, which surrounds a creamy, meltingly soft chocolate center. Only those with incredible willpower can refuse a second one.
Trying to make the truffles in one day can be difficult and frustrating, but doing a little work over a two- to three-day period makes truffle-making easy and enjoyable.
(Truffes au Chocolat à la Crème)
Makes 80 to 90 pieces (2 pounds)
12 ounces (340g) Guittard semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other liqueur
1 pound (450g) Guittard semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
2 ounces (60g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1. Make the truffle mixture: In a saucepan, heat the chocolate and heavy cream over low heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted.
2. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Stir in the Grand Marnier. Place the mixture in the refrigerator until it is firm, a minimum of 2 hours.
3. Cover a baking sheet with a piece of waxed paper. Using two spoons, scoop out and drop mounds of ½ to 1 teaspoonful, depending on the size you wish to make, onto the paper. Refrigerate overnight.
4. When cold, loosen the mounds from the paper and use your fingers to make them as round as you can, if not already so. Refrigerate until ready to coat.
5. Make the chocolate covering: In an ovenproof saucepan, melt the chocolate in a very low oven.
6. When the chocolate has melted, stir it well from time to time as it cools to body temperature. (This is determined when you notice no difference in temperature when you touch the chocolate with the knuckle of your smallest finger.)
7. Sift the cocoa powder evenly onto a chilled jelly-roll pan or plate.
8. Remove the truffles from the refrigerator and drop two at a time into the coating chocolate. Using two forks, turn the truffles, coating them well with chocolate. Lift a truffle with one fork, tapping that fork with the other to knock off excess chocolate, then drop the coated truffle onto the pan containing the cocoa powder. Using a spoon, quickly roll and coat with the powder, then push it to the side.
9. When the coating has cooled and the truffles are firm enough to handle, transfer them to a bowl and refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve. (They will keep well in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks and can be stored in the freezer for several months.)
10. To serve: Mound the truffles in a serving dish. They are delicious when served at room temperature or cold from the refrigerator.
When using melted chocolate as a coasting for candy or chocolate-dipped fruits, it’s important to stir it as it cools. Generally, when you melt chocolate the cocoa butter floats to the surface, as butter would in a sauce. When it cools and sets, it leaves a dull white film on the surface. By stirring the chocolate well as it cools, you keep the cocoa butter mixed in, and the chocolate remains smooth and even-colored.