Ask the Alchemist #17

“I have been wanting to make truffles for the holidays with my homemade chocolate. Do you have a good recipe you can share?”

Sure. For as fancy and awe inspiring as truffles can be, they are actually quite simple to make – with a few handy tips, pointers and techniques. First, a very standard recipe that will make 2-3 dozen 1 oz truffles:


1 lb chocolate

1 cup (0.5 lb) heavy cream


1 lb chocolate

50/50 Cocoa powder/sugar

Melt the chocolate to about 90-95 F. Warm the cream to 90-95 F.

Combine gently to form the filling. It will be a little thick (chocolate – water – seizing – ok this time). Let cool for a few hours, undisturbed, without stirring, until set up. Stirring may make some of the cocoa butter want to ‘break’ and you can end up with a layer on top. Also, if you don’t mind lecithin, this is a case where lecithin in your chocolate will greatly reduce the chance your chocolate filling will separate.

Once cool and firm, using a spoon, gently scoop out a bit of filling and using your (clean) hands, roll it into a nice golf ball sized ball. As this filling melts readily, your hands may well become quite messy. I like to form up all the truffle centers first, setting them aside to firm back up if they melted a touch.

Technique time.

Next, melt your coating chocolate. Pour a bit (a few ounces) on a warm plate (I just heat it in the oven). Take your truffle center, and roll it into the chocolate with ONE hand. After I’ve rolled a pair, I transfer the pair into a bowl I’ve placed my cocoa powder mixture into. Using your OTHER hand, dust the truffles (roll them around) with the powder and set them aside to harden.

Doing it this way will keep your hands neater – otherwise you will end up coating both hands in chocolate and powder and that’s just a pain as you contaminate both.

That’s it really. There are LOTS of variations of recipes. You can add in a tablespoon of butter and/or corn syrup into your filling (keeping the chocolate/cream ratio 2:1). You can add in flavored oils (orange, lemon, vanilla) to your filling. You can roll your truffles in cinnamon, cardamom, or whatever inspires you. A little rum or whiskey can go into your filling. If you have a tempering machine (I don’t advise it if you don’t) you can omit a powder coating (which hides bloom – hint, hint) and dip your filling right into tempered chocolate. Really, the options are endless.

But in the end, 2:1 chocolate to cream. Chocolate exterior. Powder coating.

Happy Holidays.

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