Woohoo! It’s Day 7 of my 12 Days of Christmas Desserts. 7 is a lucky number and it just so happens to be YOUR lucky day, because I’m sharing my Mom’s Chocolate Truffle recipe with you! With her permission of course. These have always been a huge crowd pleaser at any holiday event we bring them to. It’s one of those treats that keeps people coming back for more and then, inevitably, asking for the recipe. They’re always shocked to find out that these truffles are actually super easy to make – as long as you’re willing to get your hands a little dirty.
Why is it called a Truffle?
Before we get started, I just want to clarify that we are talking about making Chocolate Truffles not Tuber melanosporum aka, the black truffle. Believe it or not, although so many chocolate truffles these days look like expensive gems or works of art, they were actually named after the fungus. Yes, both the sweet treat and the fungus tend to have a higher price tag, but that is not the reason one was named after the other. The reason was because traditional chocolate truffles were hand rolled and dipped in cocoa powder, giving them a bumpy misshapen look resembling the fungus. How’s that for a wacky story!
The History of the Truffle
Here’s another fun tidbit that I love. According to legend, truffles were actually invented by accident. Post-its were also an accident invention, so I hope you see a historical trend that mistakes lead to beautiful creations. Apparently, as the story goes, in 1920 Auguste Escoffier had a pastry apprentice. He instructed the apprentice to make pastry cream. So, the apprentice boiled some cream, but instead of pouring that cream over the sugar/egg mixture the apprentice poured it over the wrong bowl, a bowl of chocolate. Instead of pulling a Gordon Ramsay and throwing the boiling concoction in the apprentice’s face, Escoffier set the mixture off to the side. As it cooled, he realized the solid was malleable and rolled it into a ball. And that is how the truffle came to be!
The thing that gets me about this story is, who really gets the credit for the creation, Escoffier or the apprentice? I have a soft spot for the little guy so I’m going with the apprentice, what do you think? Regardless, I hope this story teaches you that mistakes are okay – encouraged even! Mistakes can create something so much better than what you had originally intended. So, even if you think there is no way you can make a truffle, I’m here telling you, you can and if you don’t you just might create something even better!
What’s in a Truffle
Beyond these being a chocolate lover’s delight, they’re a great addition to the cookie tray or treat boxes because they’re naturally gluten-free. It’s always nice to have an option for those avoiding gluten, that doesn’t need any unsavory substitutes. Depending on where you get your truffles, the ingredients may differ slightly. French Truffles are generally made with cream and chocolate and then dipped in cocoa powder. Belgian truffles can be differentiated by the use of dark chocolate and filled with smooth ganache or buttercream. And traditional American truffles are made with both milk and dark chocolate and then dipped in more chocolate ganache. My Mom’s recipe is sort of a melting pot of all of these versions. At it’s very base your truffle is basically a ganache, but it’s not like the ganache you see poured over a cake, it is similar but much thicker so that the truffles maintain their shape.
This I’m sure is going to seem obvious, but keep an eye on your cream, don’t let it burn. If when you pour your cream over your chocolate, it doesn’t melt, no worries, just stick it in the microwave at ten second increments. Do not get impatient and do more than 10 second increments – your chocolate will burn – I guarantee it. Another hack, which is more of a grocery hack, is to buy organic. My Mom found that organic heavy cream last way longer than non-organic heavy cream. If you buy organic, then you can buy the huge gallon size at Costco and it will last you the whole holiday season! We also think it makes a much better whipped cream.
You can really roll your truffles in anything. The most traditional way is rolling them in unsweetened cocoa powder, but I’m going to be honest, it’s not my personal favorite. In my video I also roll them in chopped pecans, candy canes/peppermint candies and holiday sprinkles. Another great option, like mentioned above is dipping it in another layer of thinner ganache. This is my Mom’s personal favorite because she is the ultimate chocolate lover, and she claims the extra layer keeps your hands from getting too messy.
Usually everyone has chocolate, butter and heavy cream on hand, which makes these Chocolate Truffles the perfect last-minute treat to make right before Christmas. I hope you try these out at home and I hope you learned something new!
Lauren & Patty
Just in case you want it...
Patty’s Chocolate Truffles (yields about 16 truffles)
- 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- ½ organic heavy whipping cream
- Place your chocolate chips into a medium bowl, set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter.
- Once the butter is melted, add the heavy cream and bring it to a rolling boil.
- Once boiling, remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips, stir until smooth.
- Transfer into an 8 x 8 pan and spread evenly.
- Refrigerate for one hour.
- Depending on your toppings, use this time to prep them. For example, we chopped pecans and crushed our peppermint candies.
- Remove truffle pan from the refrigerator, take a spoon and scrape from one end of your pan to the other in a straight line, digging to the bottom of the pan. Roll chocolate into a ball. Repeat with remaining chocolate.
- Roll your truffles in desired toppings
- Remove from refrigerator 20-30 minutes prior to serving!
These will keep in your refrigerator for three weeks and about 3 months in your freezer!