Sunday, 1 January 2012

Let's get trufflin'!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great start to the new year and wishing all a healthy and successful year ahead.

A trial on truffle making

For Christmas this year, I really wanted to make some edible gifts for friends and family. They are just so much more personal, I think, and I usually enjoy baking something for an occasion or just taking a new bake into the office to test out on the hungry bunch. I miss working in an office now. Aside from the general enjoyment of being around people I like talking with, I really did like taking random bakes in whether it was for an occasion or not. We would often do the tea round, then eat cake and chat before meeting clients, staring at the computer and furiously tapping on our keyboards again.

That was four months ago as I was made redundant due to budget cuts. Since no longer being employed, I've very much enjoyed my time off. I have been baking and cooking more and set up this blog and Twitter account! I've also been sharing bakes with a few friends and family who I have been able to see more often.  

So, Christmas was an opportunity to share the baking love in mass. I knew there would be several gatherings with friends and family, and I would also be going for dinner with former colleagues.

I had a couple of months to get myself sorted. Having never made truffles before, I tried a few recipes and failed. Of course, of course… Well, you try and try again until you get it right. That’s what I did anyway and I came up with four great flavours of truffles:

  • Rich double chocolate truffles
    A rich ganache with a liquid centre, covered in milk chocolate
  • Hazelnut chocolate truffles
    A rich ganache with a whole hazelnut centre with a milk chocolate coating
  • Orange Cointreau White Chocolate Truffles
    A sweet white chocolate centre, mixed with Cointreau and orange peel, with a white chocolate coating
  • Coconut dark chocolate truffles
    A rich dark chocolate ganache mixed with coconut with a dark chocolate coating

The recipe below is for just one of these flavours, but I’d encourage you to play around with different centres and flavours to your taste. I’ve given some tips below from what I have learned.

Hazelnut chocolate truffles

Hazelnut chocolate truffles

200g dark chocolate (I used 55% cocoa solids)
200ml double cream
Hazelnuts – whole for centres, chopped for decoration
Milk chocolate

Firstly, make the ganache. Choose your dark chocolate based on the type of truffles you are making. I found 70% too rich for these hazelnut truffles, but they were perfect for the coconut chocolate truffles.

  1. Heat the double cream in a pan until it just starts to bubble (do not allow to boil).
  2. Turn off the heat and place broken pieces of the chocolate into the cream.
  3. Mix until melted and smooth.
  4. Pour into a storage container and place in the fridge until ready for use. If required sooner, place in the freezer for about 30-60 mins. It is ready when it’s set and velvety smooth.

Next we make the truffle centres. The fridge and freezer are your friends here.

Chocolate truffles presented in a gift bag
  1. Cut or spoon out a portion of the mixture, enough to place between two sheets of baking paper.
  2. Place the rest of the mix back in the fridge.
  3. Roll out the chocolate mixture between the two sheets of paper until about 3 or 4mm thick. Place this back in the freezer for 10 mins, or in the fridge if using later. Do the same for the rest of the mixture.

The reason why everything goes back into the fridge or freezer is so that it doesn’t all melt so much when you are making the truffles. It makes things a little less messy. Take out each rolled out sheet of ganache only when you are about to use it.

Rolling out the ganache makes it easier to form these truffles. Many recipes state to just spoon out a ball for each truffle and shape around the hazelnut or whatever centre you are using, but rolling out these sheets means that it's less messy and you get evenly sized truffles.

  1. With each sheet of ganache, cut rectangular strips with a knife approximately 4cm x 2cm.
  2. Take one strip, place a whole hazelnut in the middle and the shape the ganache around it with your fingertips. Place on a baking sheet on a flat transferable tray or surface.
  3. Keep doing this with the rest of the ganache and move to the freezer as soon as you can.

Moving the truffle balls to the freezer helps them to keep it shape and it makes it easier to take off when coating them in melted chocolate next. If they are left out too long, they will start melting and stick to the baking sheet.

Truffles in a box
  1. Melt some milk chocolate, however be careful not to make the mixture too warm. This is so that it can set as quickly as possible around the ganache for a more presentable and round truffle.
  2. Take some truffles out of the freezer and one by one, dip into the chocolate coating it all around and place onto a baking sheet on a flat surface.
  3. Quickly after placing the truffles down, top with some chopped hazelnuts for decoration.

I used two teaspoons to help with this. The frozen balls will help the milk chocolate to set quickly around it. You can move back to the fridge to help them set and store in a container until ready to eat or present in a nice gift box or bag.

I purchased some cellophane gift bags and tied some ribbon at the top, including a tag so the recipients knew what truffles they had received.

Here are a few of my tips for making these truffles and also other flavours.


  • It is usually recommended that 70% cocoa solids are used, but it was too rich for my taste. I found it better to use around 55% cocoa solids for the double chocolate and hazelnut truffles, but 70% for the coconut truffles.
  • This ganache can be pre-made and kept in the fridge until ready for use. This was really useful for me, as I made my truffles over a few days.
  • Work in batches and clear out fridge and freezer space. Keeping the mixtures cold is important or it could get very messy.
  • Try making a liquid centre with chocolate spread such as Nutella. Freeze small drops of the spread in the freezer and wrap the ganache around in the same way as the hazelnuts.
  • For coconut truffles use a higher cocoa solid content (70%) when making the ganache and mix with desiccated coconut for simpler, yet still tasty truffles. These can be made smaller as they do not have a centre filling. Coat in dark chocolate.
  • Coating the truffles in melted chocolate is optional. Many recipes suggest to roll it around in something like cocoa powder. But I find the truffles don't hold their shape well and it's nice to have the solid chocolate to bite into before reaching into the velvety smooth ganache inside.
Coconut dark chocolate truffles

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