Making Truffles

When trying to find the origins of things, often there are conflicting ideas and notions on how, or where, or who created them. For the most part, it is anyone’s guess, but it still fun to learn about all the different ideas and theories behind the tasty treats we all enjoy. The same is true for the origin of the truffles chocolates.

One theory that has a lot of popularity is truffles and ganache were created by a culinary student who was studying under the famous chef, Auguste Escoffier. Rumor has it he attempted to create pastry cream when the hot cream spilled into a bowl full of chocolate bits. The material solidified after a while, and the student discovered that he could form it into a ball.

Another legendary folk tale is that on Christmas Day, 1895, in Chambray, France, French patisserie Louis Dufour came up with the notion for chocolate truffles. When he ran out of Christmas treat ideas to sell to his clients, he decided to try something different. He created a quantity of ganache and rolled it into a round ball before dipping it in melted chocolate. The chocolate-covered ganache was then rolled in cocoa powder. Yet another theory is that the chocolate ganache was first created in Switzerland. So who really knows.

A chocolate ganache is essentially a blend of cream and solid chocolate melted together to form a smooth, velvety substance. This ganache has evolved into the inner core and heart of the chocolate truffle in the present age. The truffle itself was a beautiful entrée, very expensive, and only the royals and the very affluent of France ate it. Giving this moniker to the new chocolate dish automatically raised it to that tier. The chocolate truffle has long been associated with luxury and wealth. 

The word “truffle” comes from a Latin word that means “Lump.” Because of their striking likeness, truffles are called after mushrooms with the same name. The first chocolates were manufactured in a primitive manner to resemble the lumps; truffle lumps, initially known as Truffles Chocolate, referring to the appearance and chocolate they are made of. The key ingredient to chocolate truffles is the ganache filling. Chocolates that do not have the ganache filling are NOT true truffles.

The original chocolate truffles were just plain balls of chocolate ganache dusted with cocoa powder. They were simple yet elegant at the same time. Today, there are many possibilities and endless variations, with many different flavor infusions.

Our church is having a ladies’ tea party this Saturday, and of course, I making a lot of the goodies we will be enjoying. Surprise, surprise, I know. 🙂 I will be making a variety of traditional tea delicacies, including two different kinds of truffles. I have made both before, and liked them so much that I thought it was time to make them again. I have made both white chocolate-lime truffles and dark chocolate and lavender truffles for our tea party. Time for Truffles, White Chocolate Lemon-Thyme Truffles (well, instead of the lemon-thyme, I did lime). The techniques are the same for both the white and the dark chocolate, though I have to say, I prefer working with the dark chocolate slightly more. I found the white chocolate hardens a bit faster than the darker chocolate, meaning I had to keep re-melting it in order to dip my ganache centers. But as you can see, they all worked out nicely, and everything was dipped.

The procedures are the same, and the basic recipe, whether using dark, or milk or white chocolate are the same as well. The main differences are in the flavor infusions that are used.

To make the ganache fillings melt the heavy whipping cream and flavorings together until they just start to simmer, then added the butter, and mix it all in together. Cook over a medium-high flame, making sure to stir constantly, in a slow, gentle manner. Once everything is blended together, let it steep for 15 minutes, then strain and throw away the used flavorings.

Add 1/2 of the chocolate morsels and again, gently stir into the mixture. Cook until all the chocolate is completely melted and you have a smooth, creamy mixture.

Place parchment paper onto baking sheet then carefully pour the chocolate mixture onto parchment paper and evenly spread into a thin layer to fill the pan.

Refrigerate for an hour and let it set. You do not want it to harden. You want the chocolate to still be soft and pliable. Once it is ready, spoon up about 1/2-1 tsp of the mixture and roll in your hands to make a soft ball. Make sure you wear gloves so the heat of your hands does not melt this delicate mixture.

Once the chocolate balls are formed, refrigerate again for at least one more hour. You can also place them in the freezer too. I found this makes them easier to work with and they do not melt so quickly when dipped in the chocolate.

To finish the truffles, melt the rest of the chocolate. I used a double boiler. Make sure no water gets into the chocolate. I also found the chocolate melts better with a dash of milk added as well. Stir constantly until it is smooth and creamy and all the chocolate has melted. Dip the ganache ball into the melted chocolate and completely coat, then remove with a fork and shake off the excess chocolate and place on another sheet of parchment paper. If you want, you can add colored sprinkles. Do this immediately after removing from the melted chocolate, as it hardens fast.

Once the truffles are dipped and decorated, refrigerate them once again to harden.

When they are set, plate them up in a pretty presentation and share them with your friends and family. They will all be amazed at your artful creations.

Every day needs chocolate. Chocolate makes everyday a great day. Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.


Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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