Chocolate Truffles. That small, perfect, richly decadent piece of heaven. Truffles in their simplest form are made up of two ingredients: good quality couverture* chocolate and heavy cream. This version steps it up a bit by combining candied orange peel, ground hazelnuts and Grand Marnier with good quality bittersweet chocolate. It’s so important to buy good quality couverture chocolate since it’s the star of the show. My favorite brand of chocolate is Callebaut, which you can buy on-line but even grocery stores are selling good quality chocolate – Ghiradelli and Lindt chocolate for example, which would serve the purpose nicely.
So, if you want to keep this super simple, skip the hazelnuts and the candied orange peel and follow the simple version where the truffles are coated with cocoa powder instead of dipping in chocolate. You’ll still end up with a delicious confection to serve to your sweetheart. Oooh, oooh, oooh – and don’t forget the glass of red wine – I’m now hooked on Callaway Wineries out of Temecula – Mourvedre is my favorite, at the moment.
So, here are “all” the directions, and feel free to choose the simple version – either way works wonderfully!!!
*Couverture chocolate contains cocoa butter versus Compound Chocolates that get their fat from oils or other solid fats. And, I’ve been known to use Compound Chocolates in a pinch, and, even though it’s good, it’s just not as fabulous as it can be.
My beautiful 5kg block of Callebaut chocolate…Yum!!
Chopped chocolate, toasted, chopped hazelnuts and Grand Marnier!
Julienned orange zest. Be sure to remove as much of the white, bitter pith as possible. And after it’s been boiled in the sugar syrup.
If you’re going to coat these truffles with cocoa powder, place the truffles right into a pan with cocoa powder instead of the powdered sugar.
A chocolate dipping fork makes this easier, however, a regular fork works as well.!
- Candied Orange Peel
- 2 large oranges
- Water, as needed
- ¼ cup (2 ounces) Water
- ¾ cup (5 ounces) Granulated Sugar
- 1.5 Tablespoon (.5 ounce) Candied Orange Peel
- ¾ cup (4 ounces) Hazelnuts
- 3 Tablespoons (1.5 ounces) baking soda
- 18 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate, cut into evenly sized small pieces
- 1 cup (8 ounces) Heavy Cream
- ½ cup (4.25 ounces) Grand Marnier
- 24 ounces Bittersweet or Milk Chocolate
- 4 cups (1 pound) Confectioners Sugar
- Candied Orange Peel
- Remove the peel from the orange by scoring it into 6 sections and remove the white pith. You don’t need the fruit, so you can use that for something else. Square off ends and cut into thin julienne strips. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add peels and boil for 5 minutes or until tender. Depending on what type of bite you want the peel to have, you can repeat this process 1 to 2 more times. Have a bowl of ice water ready.
- Drain the peels and immediately plunge into the ice water to set the color. Drain.
- Place the ¼ cup of water in a medium saucepan along with ½ cup of the sugar.. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the orange peel without stirring. Gently move the pan around so they are covered by the liquid. Place back over medium heat and cook at a simmer until tender – about 3 minutes or until the syrup begins to turn a slightly caramel color around the edges of the pan.
- Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of sugar on a piece of parchment and lift each piece of orange peel from the syrup and place on the sugar. Toss the zest around in the sugar until it’s coated. They cool right away and can be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to several weeks.
- Finely chop the Candied Orange Zest and set aside.
- To blanch the hazelnuts, place 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the nuts and the baking soda and boil for about 3 minutes. Test a nut by running it under cold water. Skin should be easy to remove with slight pressure. If not, return to the heat for another minute or two. Then run the nuts under cold water and remove skins.
- In a preheated 350F oven, toast the hazelnuts for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely and process in food processor until finely chopped. Set aside.
- Chop the 18 ounces of chocolate into small, evenly sized pieces. Place in a medium sized microwave safe glass bowl.
- Place the heavy cream in a medium sized saucepan and heat until it just comes to a boil. Immediately pour over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute. To keep the heat in, cover with plastic wrap. Take a wire whisk and whisk the chocolate and heavy cream until it comes together.
- Add the Grand Marnier, hazelnuts and orange peel and stir until combined. Place in an 8″x8″ square pan (or something similar).
- Refrigerate for about 60 minutes or until the chocolate is firm.
- To form the truffles, set up a baking pan with powdered sugar in the bottom. Use a melon baller, dipped in powdered sugar and scoop out the balls and place in the powdered sugar.
- Place some powdered sugar in the palms of your hands and roll each ball into as round an orb as possible.
- Then it’s time to dip them. Melt the chocolate in a deep microwave-safe bowl – 15 seconds at a time – being careful that it doesn’t get too hot. Whisk to combine. (If you’re really ambitious, you’ll want to temper the chocolate. You’ll need an instant read thermometer. When melting the chocolate, keep 4 ounces of chocolate back. Melt the chocolate in the microwave and once it’s whisked together, add the 4 ounces of chocolate and stir until the temperature of the chocolate reaches 88 to 91F. Once the chocolate reaches this temperature, remove any unmelted chocolate. To keep the chocolate at this temperature, place the pan of chocolate on a heating pad set on low. You can keep it clean by wrapping with plastic wrap. This gives the chocolate a beautiful sheen and snap.)
- Using a dipping fork – or a regular fork if that’s what you have – dip the truffle in the chocolate. When you lift it out of the chocolate, tap off the excess and place on parchment to set.
- Top with diced orange zest or chopped hazelnuts.
- You can store these in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the container in the refrigerator overnight to prevent condensation.
- As an alternate to dipping in powdered sugar and milk chocolate, truffles could be coated with cocoa powder and you’re done.
- *Adapted from A Passion for Chocolate, Maurice and Jean-Jacques Bernachon, 1989
And, you can see I didn’t do so hot on the tempering. I was too busy stopping and taking photos to keep the chocolate in temper. And, of course, I couldn’t find the heating pad to help me out. So this is what it looks like when the chocolate ‘blooms.’ All that lovely crystallization separating out and looking like old Easter candy.
- 12 ounces (4×3 ounce bars) Bittersweet Chocolate
- 1 and ¼ cups (10 ounces) Heavy Cream
- Here are two Optional Variations:
- Add ½ teaspoon Cinnamon plus additional ¼ cup (2 ounces) heavy cream, OR
- 2 Tablespoons of Instant Espresso Powder dissolved in additional ¼ cup (2 ounces) heavy cream
- 4 cups (12.75 ounces) Unsweetened Cocoa
- Break up chocolate in small, evenly sized pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl – I like glass.
- Place heavy cream in a medium-sized saucepan and heat until it comes to a boil.
- Immediately pour heavy cream over chocolate and let sit 30 seconds.
- Whisk heavy cream and chocolate until it comes together to a beautiful smooth texture.
- Refrigerate for about 30 minutes until the chocolate is firm.
- To form the truffles, set up a baking pan with cocoa in the bottom. Use a melon baller, dipped in cocoa and scoop out the balls and place in the cocoa.
- Place some cocoa in the palms of your hands and roll each ball into as round an orb as possible.
- Place the truffles back in a pan with the cocoa and roll the truffles around in the cocoa again for a finishing coat.
- These can be stored in an airtight container for a couple of weeks and for longer storage, place the truffles in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw under refrigeration to avoid condensation.