Chocolate truffles

Chocolate truffles ready for gifting.

By Patti Diamond

‘Tis the season of gift-giving, and if you’re looking for maximum decadence with minimum cost and effort, you can’t beat chocolate truffles.

This top-secret recipe yields the perfect two-bite indulgence with scrumptiously sophisticated flavor. Everyone will think you secretly went to France to become a chocolatier.

Now, don’t tell anyone, but chocolate truffles are ridiculously easy to prepare! That part can be our little secret. These little beauties are made simply by melting chocolate with heavy cream, a technique that results in chocolate ganache. Then you chill the mixture, roll it into balls and coat with your choice of toppings. The variations are limited only by your creativity.

You can choose any kind of chocolate you desire (dark, milk or white) and add additional flavors and goodies as you wish. However, in a recipe with so few ingredients it’s important to purchase the best quality you can comfortably afford. The better the chocolate — the better the truffle. But it’s still luxurious when made with mainstream brand chocolate chips you get in any grocery stores. As for the cream, go full fat. The recipe doesn’t turn out as well if you don’t use heavy whipping cream.

Can we talk about ganache for a moment? This is a weapon everyone should have in their culinary arsenal. Ganache is so versatile, by varying the amount of cream to chocolate, it can be a filling for cakes or cookies, whipped into a fluffy frosting, a dip, sauce, glaze, or rolled into truffles. And when you eat it, in any of those forms, it literally melts in your mouth!

TOP-SECRET CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

Yield: about 40 pieces Time: 15 minutes, plus 1 hour cooling

1 (10 to 12 ounce) bag of dark, semi-sweet, white or milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/8 teaspoon salt

Cocoa powder for rolling

1. Place the chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. In a microwave-safe measuring cup, heat the cream in the microwave until just simmering but not boiling. You’ll want to see little bubbles just forming around the edges of your cup.

2. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips, and let it sit untouched and uncovered for 5 minutes. This will melt the chips.

3. Now, add the salt and stir by hand until smooth and glossy. If the chips aren’t softened enough, put the mixture in the microwave for 20 seconds and stir again.

4. Refrigerate the mixture for about 1 hour or until firm.

5. Line a baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper. Place your cocoa powder (or whatever you’re using to cover the truffles) in a small shallow bowl. Shape the chocolate into 1-inch balls and roll in the cocoa powder. Truffles can be refrigerated for up to 2 months, if they last that long!

Variations:

  • Substitute finely chopped nuts, decorating sugar, coconut or peppermint for the cocoa powder. For a real blast, use Pop Rocks.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract, or add 1 teaspoon instant coffee to make mocha.
  • Substitute 1 to 2 ounces of the cream with a flavored liqueur such as Irish cream, raspberry, orange, hazelnut or coffee liqueur to the warm ganache.

Candy Cane — Use white chocolate and add 1/4 cup crushed peppermint to the mixture and roll in crushed peppermint candies.

Chocolate Hazelnut — Use semi-sweet chocolate and add 3 tablespoons hazelnut spread (like Nutella), and roll in chopped hazelnuts.

Pack your truffles in sweet little boxes with tissue paper and tie with ribbons, or in little cellophane bags with a tag saying, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good bite.”

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website “Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com

© 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.

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