I am going to give you my recipe for Coffee Chocolate Truffles, and also point you to two other chocolate truffle recipes that I have made, and about which I can comment. They are recipes on the Food Network site and are by Alex Guarnaschelli and Ina Garten.
Developing the chocolate “dough” from which the truffles are made is really quite simple. The hard part of making truffles is being patient while the chocolate dough sets enough so it keeps its shape and can be handled. I found that it can take an hour or so from the time I finish developing the chocolate dough until the fats have solidified enough so the dough can be handled – rolled round, dusted and picked up to be placed on the waiting parchment papered pan.
Having listened to many TV cooking shows, I know that two flavors that complement chocolate are coffee and salt. I have put the coffee right into the chocolate, and the salt goes into the dusting. I hope you find those flavors enhance your tasting of these truffles.
After you have made your Chocolate Truffles, store them in an air-tight container- probably in the refrigerator. Let them come to room temperature first before you serve them.
Here is how to make Coffee Chocolate Truffles, followed by my comments on the recipe, and then pointers to the two Food Network recipes and my comments.
Coffee Truffle Recipe
- 4 oz. Bittersweet chocolate, in small pieces*
- 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, in small pieces*
- 1/4 lb butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Instant Espresso Coffee
- 2 Tablespoons Kahlua
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chocolate sprinkles, ground for rolling
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt (e.g. sea salt).
Measure out into a couple dishes the sugar and the coffee powder, and the Kahlua and vanilla seasonings. When the time comes to put these into the bowl, you don’t want to be trying to measure them.
Put the chocolates and butter into a medium bowl. Melt the ingredients using either a bain marie, or the microwave technique**.
When the chocolate is all melted and smooth, take it off the heat and stir in the sugar, and the seasonings.
Now wait for the chocolate “dough” to come down in temperature so that it is workable. It will take about 1 hour or more***.
Combine the ground sprinkles and salt in a bowl. Using a small scoop****, roll the chocolate dough into small balls about 1 inch in diameter. Roll the balls in the sprinkles/salt mixture and place them on a sheet pan with parchment paper. When they have hardened a bit, store them in an air-tight container.
*Buying Chocolate: Note that both types of chocolate are available as chocolate chips; buy bags of the right type of chips and avoid having to chop a block of chocolate into pieces. Once, I tried to grate chocolate blocks in the food processor, and ended up with a piece of plastic in the chocolate; it is so hard that it broke the processor bowl cover.
I have seen along with the Semi-sweet chips we have known for so long, Milk-Chocolate, and Bittersweet chips. You still need to buy block chocolate for the Unsweetened kind.
**Melting Techniques: For a bain marie, place the bowl on top of a small pan of simmering water. It will take about 5-10 minutes to melt the chocolate and smooth the mixture.Obviously, I wasn’t really following the recipe directions at this point; I did not cut the butter into small pieces. But, it still worked; it just took longer to get all melted.
For the microwave technique, heat the bowl on HIGH for 15 seconds, then take it out and stir the mixture; repeat until the mixture is mostly melted, then keep stirring so the heat in the mixture can finish the melt. Be very careful since an additional 5 seconds at the wrong time can scorch the chocolate; it needs to stay under 140 degrees, and probably closer to 110 degrees.
While I have used the microwave technique on occasion, I find the bain marie method offers me more control and I worry less about scorching the chocolate and having to start over.
***Wait Time: The wait time is to allow the fats in the dough to set enough so the dough can be handled. Before the fats have solidified enough, the dough will not hold a ball when you try to roll it and handle it. You can also see a liquid sheen on the dough; when you turn the dough in the bowl, the sheen comes back to the top in a couple minutes. The last time I made these truffles, I waited a full hour for the fat to set, and finally got impatient and put the bowl in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. That was just about the right consistency; after I scooped the first 5-6 balls, I had no trouble with them keeping their round shape. Be careful not to use too much refrigeration; it can cause the chocolate to set to the point that it is very difficult to roll into balls.This dough is just about ready to scoop; you can see that it is fairly even in texture and doesn’t have much of a sheen on the surface.
****Forming Small Balls: I use a scoop to form the balls. My scoop is not labeled with its size, but I calculated that it is about a 128 size. That would make it about 1 1/2 teaspoons, or 1/2 Tablespoon in size. The last time I made this recipe, I got 3 5/6 dozen truffles. (The scoop size is converted to ounces by this calculation: 32/(scoop size) = ounces per scoop. Thus a 128 scoop size is 32/128 = .25 ounces. If 1/4 cup or 2 ounces is 4 Tablespoons, then a single Tablespoon is .5 ounces; this means my scoop is half a Tablespoon).
I know that not everyone has a scoop, or even the right one. I have read recipes where two teaspoons are used to capture the right amount of dough for rolling into a ball; I have not tried that myself.
Now, here are my comments about the other recipes from Food Network. Click on the chef’s name to be taken to the recipe.
I like the truffles that are made from this recipe. They are quite sweet, and that might be their downside. They contain caramelized honey, which was an interesting experience. I did have a problem with the wait time Alex prescribes – 5 minutes; it was not enough, and I would now go with the hour I prescribe above.
I do not like the chocolate sprinkles whole as Alex uses; they seem to be hard and distract from eating the soft truffle. I like the ground up version of sprinkles better, but try the whole sprinkles so you can make your own decision.
Ina uses a whole different method for melting the chocolate; she pours hot cream over the chocolate
Again, I think her wait times are wrong, but it is interesting that she does the making of the truffle as two steps- first to measure out the dough onto parchment in dollops and then going back to roll the dollops and dust them. I think the whole process could be done in one step by just waiting (and refrigerating) the dough until it is ready to be worked.This is how the dollops look before rolling them; they have “horns” sticking out of the future ball.
While Ina uses cocoa powder and powdered sugar to dust the truffles, I found that the moisture in the truffle quickly dissolved the dusting, and the truffle got my fingers smudged with chocolate. I would use the ground chocolate sprinkles and sea salt as a dusting.
In all of these recipes, the alcohol should be considered optional; if you don’t have it, or are against cooking with alcohol, then don’t use that ingredient in the recipe. All that happens is some of the taste is muted. I can understand not wanting to buy a full bottle of each suggested liquor to just use a couple tablespoons. The important part of Chocolate Truffles is the chocolate and the non-alcoholic flavorings.