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Making Amazing Chocolate Truffles

Making Amazing Chocolate Truffles

There are many wonderful sweet treats in the world. Many of these treats involve chocolate in one form or another. Everything from brownies and cake to candy bars and ice cream. Each one of these delectable desserts has their own level of difficulty to prepare. Some take hours and many ingredients to prepare while others take only a few minutes and two or three ingredients. Either way, the result is worth whatever time and effort that went into the process. One popular dessert is chocolate truffles. This is an incredibly delicious and easy dessert to create. There are a few nuances to perfecting the dish and there are many different recipe variants, but they all come down to a variation of the same thing. Many people believe that truffles are difficult to make, difficult to perfect; however, this could not be farther from the truth. Here, you will learn all about chocolate truffles, how to prepare them, different variations, and a bit about their history.

First, what are chocolate truffles? They are small rounded desserts that are primarily ganache with added garnishes and flavors of your choice. They can be sold individually or by the dozen. Truffles are often served as a "fancy" dessert and are often used for romantic dinners or gifts. Most bakeries and sweet shops sell them. This is an incredibly versatile dish to prepare because you have the option of added a myriad of different flavors as well as an endless list of possible toppings/garnishes. The possibilities are seemingly endless so long as you know how to prepare the base. The name "truffle" is derived from the edible fungi of the same name from the genus Tuber.

To begin making chocolate truffles, you will first need to gather all of your supplies. You will need a heat safe bowl, an electric mixer, two teaspoons, measuring cups, and a saucepan. As for ingredients, you will need heavy cream, vanilla extract, chocolate, and a garnish. The type of chocolate you use will depend on your preferred taste. If you like a bit of a bite to your chocolate, you will use have bittersweet and half semisweet. If you like a smoother taste, use all semisweet. As for the garnish, there are a multitude of options. Some popular choices include sprinkles, powdered sugar, chopped nuts, melted chocolate, mini chocolate chips, and cocoa powder. When making chocolate truffles, you also have the option of flavoring the chocolate with a companion flavor such as orange or strawberry. If you choose to do this, you will need to add the appropriate extract or liqueur. You can use any flavor extract or liqueur that you want; however, it is not advisable to attempt mixing flavors unless you have a great deal of experience.

There are many different recipes for truffles, but they are all incredibly similar. The first thing you will need to do is make your ganache. To do this you will begin with the chocolate. You can use blocks of chocolate or chocolate chips, either will work just fine. If you are using blocks, you will need to chop the block into small pieces. For chocolate chips, all you will need to do is measure them and put them into your heat safe bowl. For one batch of truffles, you will need approximately one to two pounds of chocolate. In terms of cups, you will need about three cups. If you are using both types of chocolate, be sure to keep the ratio as close to 50/50 as possible. After you put your chocolate into your bowl, heat your cream. for one batch, you will use one can of heavy cream. Heat the cream just until it starts to boil, then remove it from the heat and pour it through a meshed sieve over your chocolate. Whisk together until all of the chocolate is melted and blended with the cream. At this point add a half teaspoon of vanilla and stir well. If you are using an extract or liqueur, add it at the same time as the vanilla. For this size batch, add two tablespoons. Stir until blended. Place the finished mixture into the refrigerator for one to two hours or until firm.

After your ganache has firmed, remove it from the fridge and use two teaspoons to scoop out pieces of ganache. Then, use your hands to make a rounded ball. Each ball should be approximately one inch in diameter. Place each ball onto a piece of parchment paper. Now, you will roll the balls of ganache in your chosen garnish. If you are using a powder or chopped bits, place the garnish in a bowl. If you are using melted chocolate, there are a few ways to keep the process from being quite as messy. Place a small amount of the chocolate in a small bowl or an ice cream scoop. Put the ganache ball into the center of the bowl or scoop and swirl the ball around. This creates an even coating and keeps your hands clean at the same time. Once the ganache has been coated with the desired garnish, you are ready to serve.

Chocolate truffles can be served chilled or room temperature, though most people prefer them at room temperature. If you are not planning on serving the truffles right away, you will need to ensure that they are stored properly until you are ready to serve them. Chocolate truffles should be stored in an airtight container. They will last four, maybe five days on the counter, or two to three weeks if placed in the refrigerator. It is best to line your container in parchment paper. Also, if you are creating layers within the container, place a piece of parchment paper in between each layer to keep them from sticking to each other. If you are used more than one type of garnish, keep similar ones together so that the garnishes do not rub off on each other. For the best results, use the truffles within the first couple of days. They will keep for longer, but at some point, they will begin to lose some of their vitality.

This is a contribution from one of our contributing writers.

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