A chocolate truffle is a type of chocolate confectionery, traditionally made with a chocolate ganache. Truffles originated from France and were invented towards the end on the 19th Century. Some sources say they were created by French Pastry Chef Louis Dufour, others by famous chef Georges Auguste Escoffier. They were named after the famous mushroom that they resemble once covered in cocoa powder. They are often flavored with alcohol such as Grand Marnier, dark rum or Cognac (alcohol also extend shelf life). For the non-alcoholic version, heavy cream can be infused with vanilla, or orange zest or extract. Chocolate truffles can be finished straight rolled in cocoa, or best coated in tempered chocolate prior to roll in cacao. The thin chocolate shell improves mouthfeel and shelf life. Chocolate truffles can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for 3 months.
Yields 50 truffles (15g each). Make a day ahead.
Any dark chocolate can be used for ganache. However, it should not contain any other fat than cocoa butter. Chocolate couverture is the name given to a certain class of high-quality chocolate. Unlike regular chocolate, is ground to a finer texture during the production process and contains a greater percentage of cocoa butter relative to the other ingredients. These two differences produce a superior flavor and texture that makes couverture the preferred chocolate for tempering and enrobing truffles, bonbons, and other fine candies. When tempering chocolate, extra cocoa butter (≈2%) may be added to the chocolate during melting process.
As it goes for a mayonnaise, chocolate ganache itself is an emulsion. Its final texture depends on the making process. An overheated ganache will separate – In most cases though, it can be fixed using an immersion blender. Melt chocolate, and let sit on the countertop until it reaches ≈104ºF/40ºC. Meanwhile, bring to a boil heavy cream along with the honey (infuse vanilla in cream if used). Remove hot cream from the stove and let sit for 5 min until temperature is down to ≈176ºF/80ºC. Pour a third of heavy cream in the chocolate. Stir up until homogenized using a rubber spatula. Add remaining heavy cream gradually. When ganache temperature is at 113ºF/45ºC, add chilled butter mix using an immersion blender and then the alcohol. Mix without incorporating excessive air. When smooth, tap container against the countertop to remove any remaining air bubbles. Cover ganache with plastic wrap in contact. Let stand ganache at room temperature overnight prior to use.
Truffles can be scooped or piped out into ≈ 1/2 ounce/10/15g half spheres or piped into ≈1.2''/3.2 cm diameter logs. Refrigerate and shape into balls. Keep refrigerated until ready to coat in tempered chocolate.
For better handling, use a fair amount of chocolate when tempering. When finished, leftover melted chocolate shall be spread over a parchment paper or plastic acetate into a thin chocolate sheet. Once set, break into pieces and store in their original bag or container for later use.
Melt chocolate slowly over a water-bath. The simmering water should not touch the bottom of the pastry bowl. Stir up chocolate every so often using a rubber spatula. The chocolate temperature should not exceed 130ºF/55ºC. Remove bowl from simmering water, wipe off bottom and refrigerate for about 15 minutes stirring every so often. When chocolate temperature reaches 80ºF/26ºC, rewarm it for a few seconds until temperature gets to 92ºF/33ºC max.
Wear gloves. Dip half of the chilled truffle into the tempered chocolate and quickly rub it to coat; this creates a thin and delicate shell. Throw immediately in cocoa power. After a few, roll them in cocoa powder. Shake off excess cocoa and transfer finished truffles to a serving bowl. Continue until done. Quickly rewarm chocolate half way through if needed...
Store chocolate truffles in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Like the red wine, chocolate truffles are best eaten at 61ºF/16ºC. Enjoy!