Nothing says “I care about you” more than a box of homemade chocolate truffles. Unfortunately, those sweet little balls of yumminess can cost in the range of $20.00 per pound. You can show your affection, say “I’m sorry” or “congratulations” by making and gifting a tasty truffle at home. And it wouldn’t hurt to make yourself a batch as well.
Everyone can make truffles at home with a few common tools, ingredients, and time. The centers of the truffles are usually made with a mixture of melted chocolate and some cream or sweetened condensed milk. After chilling and firming, the centers are rolled into ball. Next, melt some chocolate, dip, and decorate your confections. Once completed, you can present them in several ways, including making a centerpiece or topiary with your truffles.
Read on to gain specific tips, including preparing your centers, coating, decorating and presenting your truffles. Additionally, information regarding suggested tools, ingredients, and equipment are presented.
I have probably made thousands of truffles for sale, celebratory events and gifts. I have taught this skill to hundreds of participants and there are a few things to keep in mind for a successful truffle outcome. The method described here is for a beginner as well as someone more experienced. Once mastered, there are endless variations and displays that are possible.
What Exactly Is a Truffle?
Truffles generally consist of a smooth soft, creamy chocolate center contained in a chocolate coating. They are round and come in a variety of flavors, fillings, and finishes. Truffles are found all over the world with a few variations. For instance, in Brazil they are called Brigadeiros and are made with cocoa powder, butter, and sweet and condensed milk and then rolled in chocolate sprinkles, chopped pistachios, or coconut. French truffles have a ganache, or heavy cream base and are often rolled in cocoa powder. Many Americans purchase truffles wrapped individually in vibrant colors from Lindt, a company based in Switzerland. Wherever they originate or land, the result is the same: a tasty chocolate ball exploding with flavor and smoothness.
Although there are some nifty little chocolate tools available for purchase through the internet and craft stores, most people have easy access to the necessary truffle making tools and equipment in their kitchen. Besides everyday assorted bowls and pans, supplies needed include toothpicks, a 2” thick piece of Styrofoam, some bonbon wrappers (looks like tiny cupcake liners), and a decorative box or storage container. Ingredients can be as simple as a can of sweet and condensed milk, chocolate chips, various flavorings or extracts, additional chocolate for dipping, and any embellishments you wish to use for decoration.
How Do I Make the Center of a Truffle?
The “guts” or center are the inside of the truffle which is fudge-like. A simple method to make a batch of fudge guts, is to place one can of sweet & condensed milk in a small saucepan with one package semi-sweet chocolate chips. Melt on LOW and stir until there are no streaks. Add 1 tsp. of flavoring or extract (vanilla, mint, raspberry, orange and pistachio are my favorites). Cover and refrigerate until cool and firm. This generally takes two or more hours. One batch makes about 40 medium-sized truffles that can be customized to your liking
How Do I Assemble Truffles?
Scoop a small amount of fudge from your bowl with a spoon and roll between your hands as if you were making a meatball. The standard size of a truffle center has a 1 ½” diameter. Continue with this process until all the mixture is used. Place on a plate and return to the fridge while you prepare your melted chocolate. The great thing about this method is you can make your centers to use right away, or you can come back several hours or days and pick up where you left off. If you do save them for later, be sure to cover them with plastic wrap.
What Type of Chocolate Do I Need to Coat truffles??
There are several types of chocolate you can use to dip your truffles. For most people, I would suggest using chocolate melts/wafers, or bark. These chocolate products do not have to be tempered and usually do not have to be thinned. The melts/wafers are available at craft stores while the bark is sold at many grocery stores and Walmart. There are various flavors and even colors of chocolate. Most people like the taste and they are easy to work with. (Read more about the different varieties in our “types of chocolate” article.)
If you are using bark, you will need to cut it into small pieces with a knife before melting. Place at least 1 cup of chopped chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl. Melt in microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring well after each burst until chocolate is melted but not hot. (You can read more about ways to melt chocolate (here). Your bowl should be cool to the touch.
How Do I Coat or Dip Truffles?
Meanwhile, place a toothpick in about ten of your truffle balls. Leave the rest in the fridge while you work. Dip your truffle ball into the melted chocolate all the way up to the toothpick. Quickly tap the truffle on the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Over a clean bowl, sprinkle jimmies, non pareils, cookie dust (finely crushed cookies), crushed nuts, etc. over the chocolate dipped truffle before it hardens. Then place the truffle into the Styrofoam piece to allow it to dry and harden (this will take about 3 minutes). Continue with the rest of the prepared centers. You can remove the toothpicks by gently twisting them and then reuse them for your next ten truffles. Place the completed truffles in bonbon wrappers. Repeat with the remaining chocolate balls, replenishing melted chocolate as needed.
How Should I Finish and Present Truffles?
You have probably heard the expression, “You eat with your eyes.” For this reason, truffles presented in a box or decorative tin will instantly increase the anticipation and value of your chocolate. There are many container choices to be found at your local dollar store, but you can also put aside packages that you come across during the year to fit your needs. Additionally, foam shapes cones, topiaries and wreaths are sold that can be used for centerpieces, gifts, or presentation. Use a toothpick to adhere your truffle and bonbon wrapper to the foam shape and after admiring, guests can help themselves to a truffle or two.
Just about everyone enjoys a decadent chocolate treat. Buying them may be convenient but making them at home is cost efficient and screams of love. And if you’re like me, several of the truffles will never make it into the box. Chomp, chomp.
About THE AUTHOR
Lori has been a Culinary Arts instructor for twenty years. She has taught in the public school setting, at the collegiate level and through adult continuing education as well as running several cooking and baking camps for children. She has participated in several cooking, cake & chocolate contests and has been well recognized. She has raised thousands of dollars for charities using the byline “Saving the World one Cupcake at a Time”. Additionally, she has had several articles regarding food published in various magazines.Read More About Lori Gilmore