I made these chocolate truffles last month.
Inside that chocolate coating was a thick cocoa and beer – I used some of my brown ale homebrew – fondant.
Chocolate truffles are really quite easy to make.
You start with making a fondant filling – basically a really thick icing. A recipe idea will be at the bottom of this post. Once the filling is made, shape it into pieces – then, arrange the pieces on a tray.
The fondant pieces might be easier to handle for the next step – chocolate coating – if you store them in the fridge when not actually working with them.
Next, it’s chocolate melting time.
This is also time for me to repeat my statement in a previous post that you don’t NEED complicated or fancy equipment to bake awesome stuff. I used regular old semi-sweet chocolate chips and – as I do not have a double boiler – melted them in a small pot carefully suspended over a slightly larger pot with a bit of water in it.
Keys to success with the two pots or double boiler method of melting chocolate would be:
-don’t use too much water, you really only need an inch or two.
-bring the water in the pot to a gradual boil and then reduce heat – but keep the two pots on the stove burner.
-try not to splash water into the pot with the chocolate in it. Too much water added to chocolate will result in a weird, hard, extremely unappealing and hard to work with texture to the chocolate.
-stir frequently and carefully so that the chocolate melts evenly and stays well-blended once it’s melted.
You can also melt chocolate in the microwave, in any microwave safe bowl. Just be careful to check on the chocolate as you melt it so that it doesn’t get burnt.
Next, line a big, flat plate – or another tray, I used a cookie sheet – with tin foil.
Now, it’s chocolate dipping time.
Take fondant pieces individually, dip them into the pot of chocolate, and then transfer the dipped pieces onto the foil-lined plate or tray.
To handle the pieces as you dip them, you can use a chocolate fork – or you can do as I did and use bamboo kebab skewers, which are cheap and readily available at grocery stores. One of my bamboo skewers makes a special appearance in the melting pot picture above: I actually used a skewer to stir the chocolate as well.
I find it easiest to handle the pieces with two skewers – kind of a similar idea to using chopsticks, but with one skewer in each hand.
Now – while the chocolate is still melted – is the time to put on any decorations, sprinkles, topping, etc. that you want to use. I put alphabet-shape pretzels on some of the truffles in this particular batch. I sprinkled others with Celtic sea salt.
When all of the pieces are coated in chocolate, transfer the foil-lined tray to the fridge to cool. If you want your truffles faster, you can cool the tray in the freezer too.
For the fondant filling, the basic recipe is:
-1/2 cup margarine – I usually use Earth Balance brand, but any margarine that is firm like butter when it’s in the fridge will work. And the margarine is easier to work with if you bring it to room temperature before using it.
-4 tablespoons cocoa powder – if you want plain, non-chocolate, truffles, replace the cocoa powder with an equivalent quantity of icing sugar.
-2 tbsp liquid vanilla extract
-3 cups icing sugar
Start with mixing the margarine, cocoa powder, and vanilla together first. Then gradually add the icing sugar. The mixture will get VERY thick, but I found I could still mix it, with some effort, with a regular spoon. Add more icing sugar if you’d like a thicker fondant.
For the chocolate, regular semi-sweet chocolate chips will work. You could also use coating wafers, white chocolate, or coloured wafers. it’s really up to you. But you’ll need around two cups of whatever coating you use – more if you do a thick coating or if you make a larger number of pieces.
For this specific batch of truffles, I modified my recipe by:
-replacing the liquid vanilla extract with one packet of vanilla sugar.
-only using about 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder.
-adding about 3/4 of a teaspoon of salt – I find that chocolate often works well with salt.
-using about 1/4 cup of homebrewed brown ale beer as the liquid ingredient
-using about 3 1/2 to four cups of icing sugar – the extra icing sugar was to compensate for the extra liquid I added by using beer.
I liked the modification I used quite a lot.
I found that the beer flavour wasn’t very strong. But some of the other people who tried the truffles told me that they tasted beer right away – and liked it.
I’m thinking that I’d like to try another modified version where I replace some of the margarine with peanut butter.