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Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Truffles
If the truffles are becoming soft and messy as you shape them, your hands are too warm. This is easy to fix. Just dip your hands into ice water, then dry them thoroughly. You can also refrigerate the truffles to firm them up before coating.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar or unsweetened
      cocoa powder

Directions:

Chop the ingredients
Before you start, be sure an adult is nearby to help.

Put the butter on a cutting board. Using a table knife, cut the butter into small chunks. Set aside.

Put the chocolate on the cutting board. Using a serrated knife, chop the chocolate into small, even bits. Set aside.

Warm the cream
Pour the cream into a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and warm until tiny bubbles appear in the cream around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat.

Melt the chocolate
Add the butter and chocolate to the saucepan and stir with a rubber spatula until everything is melted and the mixture is very smooth. If the chocolate does not seem to be melting, turn on the heat to medium and warm for about 20 seconds. Turn off the heat and stir again. Repeat the heating and stirring process, if necessary, until the mixture is smooth. Do not let the mixture get too hot.

Chill the mixture
Let the mixture cool to the touch, about 15 minutes. Using the rubber spatula, stir in the vanilla. Scrape the mixture into a shallow bowl. Cover the chocolate mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it is solid, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Scoop the truffles
Using a melon baller, scoop the chocolate mixture to make rough balls the size of a gumball. (The chocolate will be rather firm, so you may want to ask an adult to help with the scooping.) Place each scoop of truffle mixture onto a cool work surface.

Shape the truffles
Put the confectioners' sugar or the cocoa in another shallow bowl. (The confectioners' sugar will give the truffles an extra layer of sweetness. The cocoa will make the truffles intensely chocolaty.)

Working with 1 truffle scoop at a time, use the palms of your hands to roll it into a smooth, round ball. After rolling, put the balls in the bowl with the coating of your choice.

Coat the truffles
Roll each truffle in the confectioners' sugar or cocoa powder until it is completely coated, then put in a serving dish. Cover and store the truffles in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat them. (You can even freeze the truffles for up to 3 months.) Makes 25 truffles.

More Ideas: You can coat truffles with almost anything you like!

Nutty Truffles
Follow the recipe for Chocolate Truffles but leave out the confectioners' sugar or cocoa powder coating. Add 3/4 teaspoon almond extract along with the vanilla. Instead, roll the truffles in 1/4 cup natural almonds that have been toasted and finely chopped.

Sprinkle-Coated Truffles
Follow the recipe for Chocolate Truffles but leave out the confectioners' sugar or cocoa powder coating. Instead, roll the truffles in multicolored or chocolate sprinkles.

Flavored Truffles
It is simple to change the flavor of the truffles. Follow the recipe for Chocolate Truffles. For Zesty Orange Truffles, add 1 teaspoon orange oil along with the vanilla. For Mellow Mocha Truffles, add 1 tablespoon coffee powder dissolved in 1 teaspoon water along with the vanilla. For Cool Mint Truffles, add 1 teaspoon mint or peppermint extract along with the vanilla. Continue with the recipe as directed.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Sweet Treats, by Carolyn Beth Weil (Simon & Schuster, 2006).