My friend Dori gave me a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated for my birthday this year. While it might not be the flashiest of magazines, it has quickly become one of my best cooking resources. There are really great tips sent in by readers and home cooks, as well as tried and true recipes that have been executed multiple times in America’s Test Kitchen until perfect. So I decided if I was going to try making truffles for the first time, the Chocolate Truffles recipe featured in the January 2012 issue would be the one to start with. It’s a bit time consuming, mostly waiting around for the ganache to cool and chill, but the results are well worth the wait! I gave these to my coworkers for Christmas (along with yummy homemade cookies, which I’ll post about later!), and they were a HUGE hit!
(From Cook’s Illustrated, January 2012)
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (Mom Machine Note: I used Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate baking bars)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in to small pieces and softened
1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Mom Machine Note: I actually rolled my truffles in three different coatings: pistachios, coconut and cocoa. You could also do powdered sugar, crushed toffee bits, chopped hazelnuts, really anything you like. If you do alternate coatings, just lower the amount of the cocoa mixture, since you won’t be using it for all 64 truffles. Since I did three different coatings, I only used 1/2 cup of cocoa and 1/8 cup of powdered sugar.
1/2 cup roasted salted pistachios, chopped super fine
1/2 cup flaked coconut (I actually used shredded coconut, and I think flaked would work much better)
Make a parchment sling for an 8-inch square baking dish by folding 2 long sheets of parchment so that they are as wide as baking dish. Lay sheets of parchment in pan perpendicular to each other, with extra hanging over edges of pan. Push parchment into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing flush to pan.
Microwave chocolate in medium bowl at 50% power, stirring occasionally, until mostly melted and few small chocolate pieces remain, 3 to 4 minutes; set aside. Microwave heavy cream in measuring cup until warm to touch, about 30 seconds. Stir corn syrup, vanilla extract and salt into cream and pour mixture over chocolate.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap, set aside for 3 minutes, and then stir with wooden spoon to combine. Stir in butter, one piece at a time, until fully incorporated. Using rubber spatula, transfer ganache to prepared pan and set aside at room temperature for 2 hours. Cover pan and transfer to refrigerator; chill for at least 2 hours.
For the coating, sift cocoa and powdered sugar twice over a large cake pan using a fine mesh strainer and set aside.Gripping overhanging parchment, lift ganache from pan. Cut ganache into 64 1-inch squares (8 rows by 8 rows). (Mom Machine Note: From Cook’s Illustrated- run your knife under hot water and wipe dry before cutting to make it easier. I actually recommend doing this step before each cut. It helps keep the chocolate from cracking.)
Dust hands lightly with cocoa mixture to prevent ganache from sticking and roll each square into ball. Drop balls in cake pan with cocoa mixture and roll evenly to coat. Lightly shake truffles in hand over pan to remove excess coating. (Mom Machine Note: This works best if you do this assembly line style, so recruit help if you can. My hubby did the rolling while I handled the coating. It took about 15 minutes to do all 64 truffles.) Transfer coated truffles to airtight container and repeat until all ganache squares are rolled and coated. Cover container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week. Let truffles sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before serving.