Monday, November 30, 2015

12 Weeks of Christmas: Gifts from the Kitchen - Chocolate Truffles

Christmas is a time for indulgence and if you're like me,  chocolate is high on the treat list!  As promised after my Peanut Butter Truffle post, here is my go-to chocolate truffle recipe.  I prefer to use a mixture of dark and semi-sweet chocolate in my truffles for a rich but not-too-sweet result.  Any decent quality chocolate can be used, but I find that a good quality chocolate make for a good quality truffle, especially if you are enjoying them without adding any optional flavours.  You don't need to go overboard, but chocolate is the primary ingredient here so a quality chocolate makes for a quality truffle.  Don't worry, you can still get away with an everyday chocolate if needed, especially if you are flavouring the truffles or using a decadent coating.

Easy Homemade Chocolate Truffles
  • 2 cups of good quality chocolate (dark, semi, milk or mixed depending on your sweetness preference), chopped or broken into small pieces.  You can also use chocolate buttons or chips if you wish.
  • 1/3 cup full/heavy cream
  • Flavourings (optional - see below)
  • Cocoa, coconut, nuts or other coating of your choice for rolling.
Combine cream and chocolate in a saucepan and melt over medium-low heat, stirring often, until melted the chocolate is melted and smoothly combined with the cream.  Remove from heat and pour the chocolate ganache into a bowl.

Optional: At this stage, prior to chilling, you can add a little dash of flavouring essence, flavouring oil, or liquer - the possibilities are endless! You can also split the melted mixture and flavour several varieties in separate bowls for a mixture of truffles.  I find that added vanilla, even when great quality, gets lost in the rich chocolate flavour, but stronger complimentary flavours such as mint, orange, hazelnut, coconut, or rum all work nicely.  Coconut pairs nicely with a coconut coating (you can even add a little to the chocolate itself).  Rum soaked raisin are a lovely little add in to create your own rum-and-raisin treats. Your imagination is the limit!  Add just a little at a time and taste test incrementally as needed to adjust to your preferences.  The best part! :)

Chill in the refrigerator until firm (2+ hours).  Remove and shape spoonfuls into small balls by hand (this is a bit messy as they melt a little on your hands while you roll) and place on a plate/tray.  Refrigerate to ensure the balls are firm and then roll in your choice of coating.  The finished truffles are best stored in the fridge, although are best enjoyed after being allowed to warm to room temperature, and can also be frozen for longer storage. They are firm and solid little treats, and stand-up well to being wrapped, boxed, or bagged for gifting.

Fun tip: These are easy to dress up for different occasions by using coloured sprinkles, tinting the coconut, or simply with pretty gift wrap in special occasion colours!  So many options!

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