Chambord Dark Chocolate Truffles
These little confections…Chambord dark chocolate truffles… I. CAN’T. GET. ENOUGH. Nevermind that one of my absolute favoritest things in the whole world is dark chocolate. Put that into a silky smooth centered truffle and my life is complete. Everyone thinks that making a great truffle is difficult. Well, it’s not as challenging as you’d think. It is a bit time consuming but well worth it!!
Let’s start with ganache. Ganache at its simplest is an emulsion of chocolate and cream. Use a good quality couveture chocolate like E. Guittard or Barry Callebaut. Couveture is just a fancy name for high quality chocolates using cocoa fats and cocoa solids with very little other ingredients. I’ve found that Ghiradelli makes a baking bar and bittersweet chocolate chips that the ingredient list qualifies as good chocolate to use for ganache as well as the tempered chocolate shell if you don’t want to spend the extra on a true couveture chocolate. Just don’t use a regular chocolate chip like Nestle or Hershey’s. These types of chips may work in ganache but will not temper for the outershell as the composition is different and made for baking rather than candies. In this recipe, I use full fat coconut milk to be dairy free but feel free to use heavy cream. The key to a ganache that is smooth and doesn’t separate is to add the hot cream into chopped (not melted) chocolate and then combine slowly as the heat of the cream gradually melts the chocolate. Once combined you are free to add a touch of salted butter, coconut oil or other flavoring like Chambord in this case to get Chambord dark chocolate truffles! It’s important when combining ingredients in a ganache to stir slowly and not to over-stir or the ganache will separate.
Once you have your ganache, let it cool until it’s firm enough to be scooped or piped. You can either scoop it with a melon baller and place it on parchment or place it in a pastry bag (or a real fancy ziptop bag with the corner snipped off) and pipe it into roughly equal size blobs. Yes, I realize they look a little like dog turds when you do it this way …
Then I let them sit out typically overnight so they dry a bit and are less sticky. This makes them much easier to roll into balls. Pull them off the parchment and roll them between your palms into cute little ganache balls that will be ready for dipping.
Now you have a choice to make. Either you can do the easy way and just dip them in plain old melted chocolate and cool them in the fridge until they are set or you can temper the chocolate to make an amazing shell on the outside that has a lovely crack to it when you bite in. This is what chocolatiers do with their truffles and it’s definitely superior. A non-tempered chocolate shell will not have a nice luster, will melt more quickly and have a slightly cakey mouthfeel. The tempered chocolate will be shiny, brittle and have a smoother mouthfeel. This is what I’m going to do with this recipe and it starts with chopping your chocolate until it’s pretty fine. For the ganache, you’ll start with chopped chocolate too but it’s not as important to be this fine for the ganache. Small chocolate chip size pieces are fine for the ganache.
For a tempered chocolate shell, you’ll need a small thermometer. The process of tempering involves heating, then cooling, and lightly re-heating the chocolate again all in the name of getting the fats and solids in the right places at the molecular level to create and emulsion and therefore a perfect shell. Place 75% of the chopped chocolate into a glass bowl and either melt over a double boiler or melt in the microwave. I prefer to do chocolate in the microwave because if ANY amount of water from the steam gets into the chocolate, it will seize firmly solid and need to be tossed out. Using the microwave method, microwave for 60 seconds at half power and then stir with a rubber spatula. Do this again for 60 seconds at half power and stir. Now check the temperature. For dark chocolate, you want to reach a temperature between 115-120 degrees F. If it’s close to this temp but not quite there, microwave at 15-30 second intervals at half power until you reach this temp. Now let it sit for 10 minutes.
Next comes “seeding” the chocolate which is fancy for letting it cool down in a quicker way by adding the rest of the chopped chocolate to the warm melted chocolate. Add a handful of chopped chocolate at a time to the melted chocolate and stir gently. Keep an eye on the temperature and as soon as it reaches 86 degrees F, stop adding chopped chocolate even if you have extra. If the chocolate mixture has a few lumps in it, you can simply place an immersion stick blender into it and give it whirl. This should smooth it out.
The last step of tempering is to reheat it slightly. This is the tricky part. The temperature to reach is 89-91 degrees F. If you go higher than that or let it cool after tempering below 86, it will lose it’s temper…and you might too, when you have to re-temper the whole darn batch all over again. To reheat, place in microwave on 10 second intervals (stirring between) at half power until this temp is reached. Now that we have the right temp, we’re ready to dip!
In order to maintain the ideal temperature, you’ll want to dip quickly. If you notice the tempered chocolate temp is falling to close to 86, give it a quick zap in the microwave again to keep it’s temper. To dip the truffles, place them in the tempered chocolate and coat completely. You can use a fork or a dipping tool for this. Once coated, lift out of the chocolate and lightly tap to remove the excess. Then turn them onto a parchment lined baking sheet to cool. You will notice that tempered chocolate will set (harden) very quickly at room temperature so if you’re planning to add any toppings to your truffles (like chopped nuts or coconut), you’ll want to pause every 5 or so truffles to add toppings so they harden into the shell. You can add decorative touches like luster dust or powdered freeze dried strawberries after the truffles have completely set as well.
You deserve to treat yourself after all that work so go ahead, indulge in a truffle or two!
- 8 oz dark chocolate, 60-85 percent dark works well
- 5 oz full fat coconut milk (or heavy cream)
- 1 oz Chambord raspberry liquor
- ¼ oz butter or coconut oil, at room temperature (optional)
- 1 pound dark chocolate, 60-85 percent for tempering
- Chop 8 oz dark chocolate into small pieces and place in a glass bowl.
- Heat coconut milk (or heavy cream) just until it begins to simmer but do not let it boil.
- Pour hot coconut milk over the chocolate pieces and let it rest until it begins to melt. Once it begins to melt, stir SLOWLY to incorporate.
- Once coconut milk and chocolate are blended, add butter/oil and Chambord. Stir SLOWLY and do not over-stir. Stop once all ingredients are combined.
- Let ganache cool until it is scoopable and holds it shape. Either scoop with a melon baller into equal portions onto a parchment lined baking sheet or place in a pastry bag and pipe into equal size blobs.
- Let these blobs of goodness sit out overnight to dry so they are easier to roll.
- Roll each blob into a ball between the palm of your hands and place on parchment.
- Dip into tempered chocolate and place on parchment to set.
- DIRECTIONS FOR TEMPERING CHOCOLATE for the shell:
- Chop 1 pound chocolate into small bits.
- Place 75 percent of the chocolate into a glass bowl and melt in microwave at 60 second intervals at half power stirring between until temperature of chocolate reaches 115-120 degrees F.
- Once at this temperature, let sit 10 minutes.
- Chop the remaining 25% of the chocolate into really fine bits as fine as you can get them.
- After the melted chocolate has sit 10 minutes, add the finely chopped chocolate one handful at a time to the melted chocolate and incorporate. Take the temperature between each handful and stop adding chocolate when the temp reaches 86 degrees F.
- If there are a few lumps in the chocolate, blend with an immersion stick blender.
- Next, raise the temperature of the chocolate slightly to be 89-91 degrees F. Do this by microwaving at 10 second intervals at half power and stirring between until the temp is reached.
- Hold this temperature above 86 degrees while dipping truffles. Reheat to no more than 89-91 degrees if needed while dipping. If temp goes below 86 or above 91 the chocolate will lose its temper and you'll need to start the tempering process all over.
- Whew, indulge in a truffle to reward all that effort!