Basic Dark Chocolate Truffles
Originally Posted February 3, 2009. Updated 12/23/2020
Dark Chocolate Truffles are SO good... but they can be pricy.
Did you know that they’re not only super easy to make at home, they’re also super customizable, AND cheap to make?
I’ve got a bunch of info for you in this post. Don’t be intimidated by the volume - there’s just a lot of options to consider, so I want you to be informed!
What is a Dark Chocolate Truffle?
Truffles consist of two main parts - the center (dark chocolate ganache), and the coating.
The ganache center is made from just a few very basic ingredients - dark chocolate, cream, flavoring, and butter.
The coating can be made from almost anything - your creativity is pretty much your only limit!
Typically, you’ll see store-bought truffles enrobed in chocolate. While that’s certainly a popular option, it does veer off into “intimidating” territory - tempering chocolate, etc.
Personally, I don’t bother - I find rolling truffles in various non-chocolate coatings is not only more fun and less work, I prefer the taste.
Tempering chocolate (required for chocolate enrobed truffles) is far too annoying to get into here, given the alternatives! If you’re interested in learning about tempering... there are resources out there. Try this "How to Temper Chocolate Like a Pro" tutorial on The Cupcake Project!
Just not here, LOL.
Making Dark Chocolate Ganache
Dark chocolate ganache is quite easy to make, but there are a few basic principles to keep in mind:
1. Too much liquid will prevent your ganache from setting up enough to roll properly.
Fairly straightforward rule, right? If this happens, try adding extra chocolate... or use your runny
ganache as a chocolate fondue or sauce for ice cream!
2. Not all chocolate varieties are created equally.
While this applies to flavor, texture, and overall quality, I’m actually talking about behavior.
Dark chocolate requires more liquid than milk chocolate, which requires more liquid than white chocolate.
Sugar free chocolate requires a smaller amount of liquid than other varieties of chocolate... Please be sure to follow the basic instructions for the variety of chocolate you are using, without swapping the type.
3. Water is chocolate’s enemy.
Be very careful to use a dry bowl, dry utensils, and to not allow any water to fall into your chocolate.
Water causes melted chocolate to “seize”. Seizing is when melted chocolate comes in contact with even the tiniest amount of water, and becomes grainy, clumpy, and unpleasant.
For this reason, you should never use a lid when melting chocolate (condensation will occur, and drip in!), and you should always be careful when using a double boiler.
4. Fat amount is important.
The fat content in the chocolate ganache contributes to the smoothness, and the ganache’s ability to hold together.
Using milk instead of heavy cream really isn’t an option. Additionally, if a high percentage of the liquid is coming from a non-fatty source (liqueur, rather than cream), it’s a good idea to add extra butter.
5. Liquid added to chocolate must be warm.
Pretty basic rule - cold liquid added to melted chocolate will cause it to seize.
Warm liquid will not - this is why it’s important to heat up the cream mixture before adding it to the chocolate. Do not skip this step!
6. Chocolate chips are just fine to use.
Yes, I’m sure the purists just had a heart attack over that phrase... deal with it!
Chocolate chips are a highly unusual medium for truffle making, consistently being eschewed for bars of pure chocolate.
The thing is, however, that not only are chocolate chips are easy to find, they lack the sticker shock that comes with the more traditional chocolate options.
I find that this makes chocolate chips a far more accessible option for those who are new to making truffles.
Not only that, but they can make a great product, too - only the most avid chocolate connoisseur can really tell the difference between truffles made with a high end bar of chocolate, and those made with a good brand of chocolate chips.
For that reason, I believe chocolate chips are a great way to get in to making truffles. I developed a series of recipes using chocolate chips!
Anyone can make these truffles at home, with common ingredients, for only about $4.00/30 truffles. Far less scary of a commitment than the traditional approach!
Flavouring Your Sugar-Free Ganache
You have a few options for flavouring your ganache:
You can use 1-2 teaspoon of flavour extract. Just add it to the cream after you remove it from heat, stir it in before adding the cream to the chocolate.
This stuff - Lorann Oil is the gold standard.
It’s a bit harder to come by, but can usually be found at your local cake or candy making supply store. It comes in a LOT more flavours than grocery store extracts do, so you can really have fun with it!
Note: Flavour oils are MUCH more concentrated than extracts. You’ll need a 2 teaspoon of extract in this recipe, but only a ½-1 teaspoon of flavour oil.
Swap 2-3 tablespoon liqueur in for the same amount of the heavy cream. I’ll usually measure the liqueur into the measuring up and top it up with heavy cream.
Heat it up before pouring into the chocolate.
You can add a bit of dried herbs or spices to the ganache, in one of two ways:
1. Steep larger items - cinnamon sticks, anise stars, fresh mint leaves, etc - in the cream.
Heat the cream up - I’ll usually use extra cream when steeping - with the items in it. Remove from heat and let it sit for 10-15 minutes, before straining out the additions.
Re-measure, and bring the cream back up to a simmer before adding it to the chocolate.
2. Adding dried herbs and spices: Season your cream directly with whatever herbs and spices you like.
Remember to go a bit strong on it, as you’ll be flavouring more than the cream - you’re flavouring the chocolate it will go into.
Cinnamon, dried lavender, dried rose petals, cayenne, smoked serrano, dried mint, etc are all options to consider.
Another option is to steep coffee beans in the cream when you heat it up – strain them out and re-measure the cream before stirring it into the chocolate chips -you may need to top it up a bit.
I’ll usually start with ½ cup of heavy cream, when doing this version.
“Stuff to Roll Them In”
Cocoa powder, coconut flakes, finely chopped nuts, and powdered sugar are all traditional options.. but feel free to go a bit crazy with it.
Just be sure that whatever you use is either powdered, or finely chopped.
A few ideas:
Finely chop or process very dry fruit - chewy varieties don’t work as well. Dried stone fruit or apples tend to process down more easily than, say, dried cranberries or apricots.
Additionally, chewy varieties of store-bought dehydrated fruit can usually be tossed into a food dehydrator for a day or two to achieve a more dried out texture.
If your local grocery store doesn’t have a large variety, try dehydrating fresh fruit yourself!
Freeze dried fruit is a great option that is readily available for order from online companies - pulverize them to a powder for a unique coating!
Additionally, you can always buy fruit powders made from freeze dried fruits.
Cocoa Powder and/or Powdered Sugar
Cocoa powder and powdered sugar can be used separately or mixed, as a “stuff to roll them in”.
Alternately, you can enhance cocoa powder or powdered sugar with the addition of various spices - cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, even cayenne pepper... whatever you like.
Try using finely powdered dried citrus peels, or a little dried botanicals - rose petals, lavender.
Matcha powder or the aforementioned powdered freeze dried fruit can be mixed with cocoa or powdered sugar, as well.
Experiment with amount of flavoring used in your cocoa powder or powdered sugar, have fun with it!
Finely chopped nuts are a fantastic coating for truffles!
Just whirl your favourite type in a food processor until they’re finely chopped. Alternately, you can use a nut flour for an easier - and usually finer - coating.
Finely ground cookies of any variety can add an interesting flavor and texture to your truffles.
Ginger snaps, Oreos, Nilla wafers, maple cookies.
More options to consider:
- Crystallized ginger
- Maple sugar
- Crushed coffee beans
- Finely chopped chocolate
- Instant hot chocolate powder
- Crushed pralines
- Finely crushed pretzels
- Crushed toffee.
- Crushed potato chips
As you can see, there are many, many options available for “stuff to roll your truffles in” - and yes, that’s a technical term. 🙂
Mix and match any of these ideas - or anything else you come up with - with the recipes and flavoring options for ganache centers... and the possibilities really are endless!
How to Make Dark Chocolate Truffles
1. Place chocolate chips into a glass mixing bowl, and put aside.
2. In a small saucepan, combine heavy whipping cream and butter. Heat to a boil, remove from heat.
3. Pour hot cream mixture into bowl of chocolate chips. Let sit for 3-5 minutes.
4. Starting in the middle of the bowl, slowly start stirring the chocolate and cream until all of the chocolate is
melted and the cream has disappeared into it – it should be smooth.
5. Cover with plastic wrap, preferably resting right on top of the surface – this prevents a skin from forming while it cools.
6. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour or two, until it’s pretty solid.
7. Once solid, scoop out small amounts (a teaspoon or two), and roll them into balls. Try to handle the chocolate as quickly as possible, or it will melt.
8. Once all of the ganache is rolled into balls: wash and dry hands, then roll ganache centers in whichever coating(s) you’d like.
Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
More Truffle Recipes!
Once you find out how easy it is to make tasty truffles at home, you may find yourself wanting to try MORE! Here are a few recipes to help you out!
Andes Mint Chip Truffles
Dark Chocolate Coffee Truffles
Hop Flavoured Dark Chocolate Truffles
Milk Chocolate Chai Truffles
Peanut Butter Chip Truffles
Tropical White Chocolate Truffles
White Chocolate Almond Amaretto Truffles
This recipe comes from my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker. It’s FULL of fun, tasty recipes using spirits and liqueurs for flavour – you should check it out:
Combining liqueurs with more traditional baking ingredients can yield spectacular results.Try Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake, Candy Apple Flan, Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle, Lynchburg Lemonade Cupcakes, Pina Colada Rum Cake, Strawberry Daiquiri Chiffon Pie, and so much more.
To further add to your creative possibilities, the first chapter teaches how to infuse spirits to make both basic and cream liqueurs, as well as home made flavor extracts! This book contains over 160 easy to make recipes, with variation suggestions to help create hundreds more! Order your hard copy here on my website, through Amazon, or through any major bookseller.
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Well, the published nonsense, anyway!
With all of that said... on to my Basic Dark Chocolate Truffles recipe!
Basic Dark Chocolate Truffles
- 12 oz Hershey Special Dark chips
- ¾ cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- Liqueur of Choice* Optional
- Extract of Choice* Optional
- 3 tablespoon Butter
- 2 tablespoon Granulated Sugar
- Stuff to roll them in**
- Place chocolate chips into a glass mixing bowl, and put aside.
- On stove top, bring heavy whipping cream, flavoring and butter to a boil. Remove from heat.
- Pour hot cream mixture into bowl of chocolate chips. Let sit for 3-5 minutes.
- Starting in the middle of the bowl, slowly start stirring the chocolate and cream until all of the chocolate is melted the cream disappeared into it – it should be smooth.
- Cover with plastic wrap, preferably resting right on top of the surface – this prevents a skin from forming while it cools. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour or two, until it’s pretty solid.
- Once solid, scoop out small balls (a teaspoon or so, and roll them into balls. Try to handle the chocolate as quickly as possible, or it will melt.
- Then, roll them in your choice of "stuff to roll them in", and eat them!