Hank's Guide to Making Truffles



Important Note: This guide is over a year old, and I've updated a lot of the information in it in a new article called:

Truffle Making -- My New Approaches

which I highly recommend you read before proceeding. I recommend better tools in it, and many other insights that I've gained over the decades of making truffles.

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It is easy to be intimidated by the idea of making truffles, but in fact there are only a few steps, each taking less than 20 minutes:

Step One: Making the filling:

This is the easiest step of all.

All you have to do is:

Part one: mix the non-chocolate ingredients in one small bowl: e.g. cream or coconut cream or butter with fruit juice or purée, or liquor, or flavor extracts (like peppermint oil), or ground nuts, or other ingredients like sweetener and vanilla

And

Part two: Melt the chocolate(s) in a somewhat larger bowl, preferably for one minute in the microwave, then stir, then heat for additional 1/2 minute intervals and stir each time, until the chocolate is completely melted.

And

Part three: blend the non-chocolate mixture at a relatively fast pace into the melted chocolate. (If you are too slow in adding it to the chocolate, especially a the start, the chocolate can seize and become unusable.)

And

Part four: Then chill the blended filling (also called ganache) in the refrigerator for an hour or more, until it is fairly solid, and easily scoopable.

[Important notes: do check the firmness of the filling after an hour, and if it's getting quite solid or even hard, then proceed to the next step immediately. On the other hand, if it remains too soft -- possibly because of variations in the chocolate you're using and in the other ingredient's water content -- then melt a couple of more ounces of chocolate in another bowl and add it to the filling to make it firmer.]

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Step Two: Scooping the filling into hemispheres:

Take a large cookie sheet and cover it with waxed paper, and then scoop the filling onto the waxed paper to create hemispheres of filling.

The best scoop to use is available here.

the best scoop

Here's an image of scooped truffles on a cookie sheet:



After scooping the truffles, chill them in the refrigerator until they get pretty solid, about an hour or two (or more if you want, even overnight).

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Step Three: Dipping the truffles:

For this step, you will need a truffle dipping tool. And after working with many different types of ganache dippers, I've decided that my favorite is found on this web page, look for Spiral spit Item Number: 262020.

the best spiral dipper

The process of dipping the chocolate is actually a lot of fun:


Part One: Melt the dipping chocolate:

You will need a surprisingly large amount of chocolate to dip truffles in. I have found that my favorite dipping chocolate is Trader Joe's 72% Dark Chocolate (big bars in the red wrapper). If I am making a more delicate filling -- that would be overshadowed by dark chocolate -- I mix in enough milk chocolate and/or white chocolate to thin it.

[Because I make a lot of truffles, I have a bowl that I've set aside for melting chocolate and keep it in the refrigerator, and re-fill it when I need to.]

Fill a wide good-sized bowl with chocolate, and then melt the chocolate in a microwave (again, for one minute in the microwave, then stir, then heat for additional 1/2 minute intervals and stir each time) until the chocolate is completely melted.

[Since chocolate will seize if a little water drips in, keep it completely away from water.]


Part Two: Dipping the centers in the melted chocolate:

After the chocolate is melted, take the cookie sheet (on which you placed the hemispheres of filling) out of the refrigerator, and drop each hemisphere -- one at a time -- upside down into the melted chocolate, then scoop it out with the truffle dipping tool, and place it right side up on the waxed paper.


Part Three: Chilling and storing the truffles:

After all of the chocolates are dipped, refrigerate the cookie sheet (with the dipped chocolates on it) again and chill until firm.

To store the truffles, either keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer (in a freezer-grade plastic bag) until needed. They keep well in the freezer for a very long time.

Note: professional chocolatiers temper the dipping chocolate, which makes the shell very hard. I don't, so my truffles will melt a bit in your hand. But I don't want to temper my dipping chocolate because I actually prefer the softer shell.



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