As someone who enjoys a dark chocolate truffle each evening I haven’t had dessert, paired with a cup of tea, I have never made my own. To be entirely honest, I assumed it was an arduous task and best to simply let the experts work their magic. How wrong I was. The good news is making chocolate truffles is one of the easiest sweet treats you can make for yourself and those you love. While you do need to set aside one night to let the ganache set, beyond that, the task is simple and reminds me a bit of making mud-pies when I was a kid but far more delicious.
Patricia Wells’ new cookbook, My Master Recipes: 165 Recipes to Inspire Confidence in the Kitchen did exactly as it promised. As I shared in episode #148 of the podcast, what I appreciate about her new cookbook is how it is organized: by skill. From blanching to rising to baking and of course how to work with chocolate. À la truffle au chocolat.
My first try was a success due to her simple instructions and quality ingredients. I took 20 minutes one evening to make the ganache, set it aside for the night and then the next day rolled the balls, covered them in cocoa powder and that was it. Truly, one of the simplest French sweet treats you will make. I do hope you enjoy.
Hazelnut Praline Dark Chocolate Truffles
- 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate at least 70% cacao, my go to brand is Scharffen Berger
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp Cognac optional (this is the flavor profile you prefer)
- 1 tablespoon honey optional (if not using liqueur)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature to ensure it melts quickly
- 3-5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder top quality, Scharffen Berger is my choice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2-1 cup roasted hazelnuts
- Prepare the roasted hazelnuts (see how to roast below at the bottom of the recipe or you can buy roasted nuts at the grocery store). Place 1/2 cup of hazelnuts on a parchment lined baking sheet. Make sure they are in one layer. Set aside and begin caramelizing the sugar.
- Caramelizing the sugar: Add the sugar (1/2-1 cup) to a saucepan that is over low-medium heat. The sugar is melting gradually, using a spatula, stir regularly and when it begins to liquify stir constantly. As soon as it turns a deep amber color, pour over the roasted hazelnuts in the baking sheet. Try to pour evenly over all of the nuts. If some of the nuts don't get covered or if some nuts receive more caramelized sugar, as soon as you stop pouring, using your spatula, try to evenly distribute the sugar so that all nuts are touched with the liquified sugar. Set aside to cool (15 minutes).
- When cool, using a food processor, roughly break up the praline and pulse until you reach a fine or nearly fine nut/praline texture (this is to your preference as they will be placed in the ganache).
A Minimum of 2-hours before (can be completed the day or 2 days before)
- In a saucepan, pour the heavy cream and drizzle the cognac or honey or other preferred liqueur. On a low heat, bring just to a bowl, and then immediately follow the next step.
- Pour one-third of the hot cream mixture over the chocolate in the metal bowl. Work quickly with a silicone spatula as the chocolate melts from the heat of the cream mixture. Mix until you obtain a smooth and glossy finish. Gradually add the remaining cream mixture ensuring the emulsion remains until the chocolate has completely melted and is smooth.
- Immediately as the butter and mix with the warm chocolate allow the butter to melt completely, incorporating itself with the chocolate. You've created ganache!
- Now, add the finely chopped praline to the ganache. Add as much or as little as you prefer. Mix with the ganache until all combined.
- Set the metal bowl with the ganache combined with praline to the side on the counter and allow to come to room temperature. When cool, cover with plastic wrap and let set at room temperature for at least two hours, ideally overnight, to harden, until it is firm enough to scoop. (See the image of my hardened ganache that sat overnight. (When the ganache has set, it can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, so don't be afraid to plan ahead!)
Making the truffle balls and preparing for serving
- Place the a wire mesh sieve on a small bowl (see image). Using a small ice cream scoop (with a lever preferably) or a melon baller, to create a 1-inch ball of ganache. After scooping the chocolate for each truffle, roll between the palms of your hands into smooth balls.
- Place the rolled ganache ball into the sieve and dust with cocoa powder or roll in the praline (baker's choice). An alternative is to place the ball in the bowl with the powder and then remove the ball, placing it in the sieve above the bowl to remove excess powder. Repeat to coat the remaining truffles.
- Serve at room temperature or place in a storage container (covered) and place in the refrigerator for up to one week. Be sure to remember to bring to room temperature before serving.
- Bon appétit!
To Roast your Hazelnuts
- Using a stovetop, use a dry skillet over low-medium heat for 7-10 minutes, tossing regularly as they toast. OR in the oven, at 300 degree for 10 minutes, place hazelnuts in one layer on a baking sheet.
View all TSLL Dessert recipes here.