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Old 02-14-2005, 02:55 PM   #1
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Basic Chocolate Truffles

Basic Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients:

2/3 cup heavy (whipping) cream
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (such as Guittard) or finely chopped, high quality chocolate (such as Scharffen Berger)
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla or other flavoring
Cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts, toffee bits, raw (turbinado) sugar or your choice of ingredients for coating (see variations)

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the cream until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in chocolate and butter, whisking constantly until chocolate is melted. Whisk in vanilla.

Transfer to a container and cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

Using a melon baller, scoop out a small ball and roll it in cocoa powder, or your choice of coating. You may need to use a small spoon to help release the chocolate from the melon baller.

Place on a baking pan lined with parchment or wax paper and freeze 30 to 45 minutes or until firm. Transfer truffles to an airtight container. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. Makes about 4 dozen small truffles or 3 dozen large truffles.

To give as a gift: Deliver the truffles thoroughly chilled, with instructions to keep refrigerated. The truffles become too soft if left at room temperature.

Variations for coatings: Toasted coconut; finely chopped pistachios, walnuts or pecans; sugar mixed with cayenne pepper; finely chopped candied orange peel.

SOURCE: Adapted from epicurious.com

TRUFFLES FOR KIDS

Peppermint: Reduce vanilla to 1 teaspoon, and add 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Roll in crushed peppermint candies (tiny candy canes are best). For parties, roll some in red and some in green peppermints.

Milk chocolate: Use milk chocolate chips and roll in chocolate jimmies or Heath toffee bits (sold near the chocolate chips) or Ghirardelli's sweet cocoa or any other coating of your choice.

TRUFFLES FOR ADULTS

Kahlua: Substitute 2 tablespoons Kahlua for the vanilla, and add 1 teaspoon espresso powder to the mixture. Roll in espresso powder mixed with granulated or powdered sugar.

Chocolate orange: Substitute 2 tablespoons Cointreau for the vanilla, and add 11/2 tablespoons grated orange zest to the mixture. Roll in finely chopped almonds, raw sugar or cocoa powder.

TIPS

Fine-quality chocolate is available not only at specialty cooking and gourmet stores but also some supermarkets. The Scharffen Berger brand is a new item at select Tom Thumb stores and is also available at Central Market and Whole Foods Market.

If you buy chopped nuts or toffee pieces, chop them even finer for prettier, more evenly coated truffles.

Do not try to roll truffles until mixture is thoroughly chilled.

Keep truffles small; you'll have a higher ratio of coating to chocolate and a more interesting truffle. Besides, they're rich, and a little goes a long way.

If you're not quick at rolling truffles, divide the mixture among two containers. You can keep half of the chocolate chilled while you are rolling the first batch.

Use a melon baller. Too much contact with your hands is not only messy, but it also raises the temperature of the chocolate, making it difficult to work with.

Chill truffles in a single layer thoroughly before storing or packaging. Use parchment paper to separate layers of truffles.

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