Christian Chefs International
Truffles

Hi everyone! My name is Shara. I am going to teach you the best I can, how to make truffles. I have made truffles for years. For some of you that do not know what they are, they are chocolates from heaven. They kind of look like a bon-bon. They are very rich with flavor and have a mousse-like center. I taught myself how to make them right before I started culinary school. Over the years I have learned tricks to make them better. So here goes...I hope I am helpful and you can understand my directions.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED
A small sauce pan about three inches deep
A crock pot or a large metal bowl with a water bath or a double boiler
Metal spoons
Lots of pairs of rubber gloves {like the ones doctors use, or the ones you use on dish-up lines, not the yellow dish gloves}
A bowl for the ganache when it is done
Measuring cups
Parchment paper or wax paper (you will need lots)
A fork
A light bulb that is plugged into an outlet {you don't have to have this but it will help you to smooth out the bottoms of the chocolates}
About two days to prepare from start to finish
Sheet pans
Paper candy cup holders

TRUFFLE MIX
1 pint heavy cream
16 to 24 oz of chocolate chips
Flavoring oils if you want flavors or liqueurs (like Grand Mariner, or Bailey's Irish cream or orange oil, hazelnut oil, coffee oil, etc.)
2 LB dipping chocolate (try to find a quality dipping chocolate because some set up gray or grainy)
White chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate for decoration if you wish

STEP 1. Heat your heavy cream in a small saucepan to just before boiling (about 180 degrees).

STEP 2. Add the chocolate chips a little at a time, stirring to melt. Add at least 16 oz to the mix. After that has melted, the mix should be thick, like pudding. It should not run off the spoon in a stream. It should be fairly thick. Also DO NOT USE A WOODEN SPOON TO STIR WITH. Make sure you use a metal spoon that is dry. Do not let any water come in contact with your chocolate. (The reason you do not use a wooden spoon is because wooden spoons sometimes do not dry fully and the water will cause your chocolate to lump up into a grainy mess.)

STEP 3. While your ganache is hot, add your flavor to it or you can leave it plain. I like to use flavoring oils. I add a few drops at a time until I can taste a nice flavor. With the liqueurs, you need to add about three tablespoons. You may need to adjust the chocolate also, to make it thick. The small bottles you see at the liqueur stores or the tiny one like the airlines serve are about the right size to add. You can add the whole bottle.

STEP 4. Place your ganache now in a bowl to cool. Let it cool at room temperature uncovered for about two hours. Then place it in the refrigerator to cool about 24 hours or so. Cover the ganache after it has been in the refrigerator for about two hours.

--THE NEXT DAY--

STEP 5. Place your dipping chocolate into a crock pot. I like to use this method due to the fact you can melt the chocolate to body temp and lower by turning on low and turning it off as you go. I have had less overheating of the chocolate this way. If your chocolate overheats, you will know it. It will lump up and become hard to stir and dipping is not an option at this point with that chocolate. The package will tell you to add shortening to the chocolate to smooth it out but this does not stick to the centers very well.

You may also use a double boiler but I also hate this because the water sometimes gets too hot too fast and ruins your chocolate or the little bit of steam that might rise out of it makes the chocolate ruin due to the water getting into it. That is why they have tempering machines, so that no water comes in contact with the chocolate. So my crock-pot is like a cheap tempering machine. Make sure to stir the dipping chocolate as you go because, again, it can get too hot.

STEP 6. Now you are ready to roll your centers. The cold ganache should feel like clay. If it does not feel like clay, then you need to reheat it and add more chocolate. If the chocolate is ready, get two sheet pans out and line them with parchment paper and/or wax paper. Now put on your gloves...this helps keep your hands clean and also helps keep your hands from melting the chocolate as you roll them into balls. You have to work fast but try to make them as round as you can. You want about an inch round ball or smaller if you need it to be. That is up to you. Or they can be a little over an inch but when dipped they are huge. I like to make mine about an inch or so. Mine still are bigger then some.

STEP 7. Take the chocolate into your hands and roll, placing them on the sheet pans. Do not let them touch each other. When you are finished with one sheet pan, place in the freezer. Same with the other. You can now freeze them for at least two hours and I freeze them sometimes longer. You want them to be fairly hard so they don't melt away.

STEP 8. Take one pan out of the freezer and let thaw just a little, about 10 minutes or so. Place parchment paper on the table and dip one at a time, using a metal fork. This is the tricky part. The chocolate wants to stick to the fork. All I can say is this part will take practice. Soon you will be able to set them down without tearing up the bottoms. You do not want them to drain too much on the fork because it will start to dry on it and stick. Also sometimes the chocolate cracks...just dip it again. It will be bigger, but the crack will be gone. Also, as you dip, you may need to add more dipping chocolate to the crock pot and also turn on the heat and turn it off. When you are done, you can clean up the edges with the light bulb. Make sure you wear the gloves so you do not leave fingerprints all over the chocolate. This also has to be done very fast, because the chocolate will melt on the sides.

STEP 9. Decorate by using melted pure chocolate, like white, milk, or dark chocolate. You can do spirals, squiggly lines, and stripes or whatever you feel like putting on them (coffee beans for the coffee ones, nuts, etc.) A fork can pull the chocolate out from the sides to make it have a tacky look. Then place them in paper candy cups. They are beautiful and people will love you for them. I make them as Christmas gifts and sometimes I sell them. They are well worth the energy and time spent making them.

Recipe yields 24 to 40 truffles depending on size.

I have some web pages of pictures that might interest some of you:
http://www.chocolategod.com/fantasy.htm - this is my favorite sight so far
http://www.chocolategod.com/truffles3.htm
http://www.vosgeschocolate.com/

FYI.
Dipping chocolate or dipping candy coating can be found at most grocery stores. Some craft stores have wedding supplies. (Michael's is one of them.) Wal-Mart sometimes will have it. Sam's Wholesale Club {part of Wal-Mart Co.} has the Ghirardelli chocolate. Some wedding specialty shops and party supply places have the dipping chocolates. Some caterers, bakeries, and candy shops may be able to order it for you. Also, you can always ask those who are in business for themselves where they get their supplies. Some wholesalers have cash and carry places that carry it. We have Sysco here that has cash and carry that sells to the public.

My favorite brands to use are Eagle Brand candy coating, and Ghirardelli dipping chocolate. Wilton also makes a product called candy melts that will work also. You can use melted down chocolate if you have to. I have done it, but you have to be careful with all of the dipping chocolate not to get it too hot. If it gets too hot, it will become grainy and or get gray-streaked. I do not temper my chocolate but some of you might. I like the consistency of non-tempered chocolate better. If you would like to temper your chocolate, most better cookbooks will have directions. Most chocolate out there I have found has been tempered anyway, and is pretty stable. You do have to make sure NO water gets near it or in it and it does not get much hotter than body temperature. If it burns your skin or seems hotter than your skin, it is too hot.

Also chocolate works best on clear, non-humid days. Do not make truffles when it is raining outside. The air can be too moist and cause the chocolate to lump up and be grainy. This causes a mess and the truffles will not look pretty. The chocolate will not evenly coat the truffles and you will lose your dipping chocolate, which costs money. Also, you can roll the ganache centers in crushed nuts, cocoa, powdered sugar, sprinkles, and other things that would stick to the ganache and make it easy to pick up. Some have even rolled them in black sesame seeds but that does not sound wonderful to me. You can see a picture of the sesame seed truffle on one of the web pages I have listed. That one also has wasabe in it-YUCK!-not my idea of a good mix with chocolate, if you ask me. Use your imagination. Some also use candy molds, painting the dipping chocolate on the inside of the molds and then putting the ganache in the middle and finally, sealing it with dipping chocolate to have different shapes. The truffles sell for about $2.00 to $3.00 apiece in most shops, so you could also make good money if you wanted to make them as a career. I have sold some. One batch I made, I sent 72 truffles and I made $118.00. This was the first batch I ever sold, so I will tell you I will go up on the price because my customer had well over 10 lb. of chocolate sent to her. Most places charge $24.00 to $35.00 per pound. Anyway, it was a wonderful learning experience for me. Have lots of fun with them and don't get frustrated too easily. It takes time and practice.

By Shara Lunn
SLL0902@aol.com
Feel free to e-mail me with any questions about this. If you do e-mail me, please include the word "Truffles" in the subject column of your e-mail.


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