Did ya’ miss me? I am still playing catch up after traveling for Thanksgiving since we stayed a few days after the holiday. It was wonderful to see our Boston based family and to spend time with old friends and to even meet some new ones! And yet there is no place like home and I wanted to kick off the holiday baking with my favorite: Chocolate Peppermint Truffles! These rarely last very long around here so I make a LOT of them.
Today I am thankful for my very own comfy bed. I am also very thankful for safe travels and I hope any of you or your families that were traveling for the holiday are also home safe and sound.
Now let’s talk
turkey truffles. Mmmm. Truffles. Oh how I do love truffles. We often cook up some delicious savory dishes using our (precious) little bottle of truffle oil.
In fact, for Christmas I want my own little pet French pig that can go root around in the dirt and give me a never ending supply of those expensive little things! (Reality check: A) I don’t think the City will allow that and B) Like I really need one more “piggy” to feed with three boys!?). A girl can dream.
Today, however, I am talking sweet truffles. Those decadent little ganache filled, chocolatey balls of to-die-for yumminess that are sure to bring sheer joy to anyone lucky enough to receive them (sorry. it’s the holidays. you have to share).
There are all kinds of sweet truffle recipes out there ranging from the most simple to the the extremely advanced. And these are pretty easy so don’t worry. You got this. The hardest part is melting the white chocolate, if using. Not to mention, these will keep refrigerated for 2-3 weeks so make them ahead of time and wow everyone at your next holiday gathering!
You will see some “optional” items on the ingredients list. I encourage you to read through the whole recipe and you can decide which style of truffle(s) you want to make. Some have chocolate coating (both white and dark) and I coated some with just cocoa powder or confectioner’s sugar. I like gifting a variety, but you can also just pick one style and go with that if you prefer.
- 1/2 pound (8 oz.) bittersweet chocolate (I like the depth of flavor that this adds but you can just use semi-sweet if that is what you have)
- 1/2 pound (8 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate (if you have a bag of chips, those are fine too – see how easy I am??)
- 1 cup heavy cream (sorry, you cannot substitute skim milk here)
- 1 tablespoon prepared coffee
- 1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp peppermint extract (or 2 tbsp. peppermint schnapps) (even this is optional – you can skip the peppermint if you want)
- 14 – 16 oz. chocolate or baking pieces for coating (I used 6-7 oz. white baking chocolate, finely chopped - and 6-7 oz, semi-sweet chips; Definitely use really good white chocolate bars like Lindt as opposed to chips OR use white melting pieces like Wilton; standard white chips do not melt very easily)
- 2 candy canes, crushed (I put mine in a ziploc bag and used a kitchen mallet)
- Confectioners’ sugar for coating, if desired
- Cocoa powder for coating, if desired
Chop both the bittersweet & semisweet chocolate finely (if you are using semi-sweet chips or baking pieces, you’re now ahead) and place into a heat-proof mixing bowl. Set aside.
Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just comes to a boil. Do not walk away for long. Do not pass go. (DO collect $100 if someone happens to be handing it out in your kitchen). Otherwise you will be cleaning up a frothy hot mess all over your stove top. Turn off the heat and allow the cream to sit for about 30 seconds. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Using a whisk, slowly stir the chocolate until it is completely melted.
Add in the coffee (which really enhances the richness of the chocolate) and the vanilla and combine. Congratulations, you just made chocolate ganache! Add in the peppermint extract, if using, and combine. You can even get crazy and split the mixture in half at this point and do half peppermint (half the peppermint extract) and half just chocolate. I present you with endless possibilities. Either way, set the mixture aside at room temperature for about 1 hour then refrigerate for 1-2 hours (or cover and leave overnight) until very firm.
Depending on how long you let the ganache chill, you might need to let it sit out a few minutes. Using a small scoop or melon baller (or even 2 teaspoons if that is what you have), spoon round balls of the cold chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Quickly work each scoop of chocolate in your hands to make a round ball. It’s like adult play-dough. I love it. If the ganache gets too soft to work with, return to the fridge to chill again. Place the tray back into the fridge while you melt the chocolate coating.
(FYI – I could probably stop right here and just eat all of the chocolate ganache balls “as-is” but, for the sake of posterity, I will carry on)
At this point, I work with one chocolate at a time for the coating. I started with the white.
The white chocolate factor is the only tricky part to this recipe. Place the chopped white chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a small to medium heat proof bowl over a pan with an inch or two of water. You don’t want the water to touch the bottom of the bowl, so that can be your guide as to how much water to add. Start to bring the water to a boil and stir the white chocolate until it is melted and glossy. White chocolate is temperamental – you do not want it to get too hot or it will seize up into a clump and there is no going back. Also, if you get just one drop of water in the white chocolate, it will most likely clump. If you are using white baking pieces (ie: Wilton – easier, for sure), you can microwave in 30 sec increments and just be sure to stir in between each time!!). The microwave can also be used for white chocolate but I am telling you in advance it takes some practice and a lot of stirring in between. Once the chocolate is slightly cooled for a few minutes, remove the ganache balls from the fridge and start dipping. You will want your candy cane pieces or sprinkles ready as well. Using a teaspoon, dip each ball into the white chocolate until coated. 8 oz. of chocolate will cover about 1/2 of the balls. (25-30 ish). Again, since I coated some with just cocoa powder or confectioner’s sugar, I used less of both the white and semi-sweet chocolate coating.
Here I have my candy cane, cocoa powder, powdered sugar and even some sprinkles all ready to go! And a paintbrush. Yes, I was going to stripe some of the white coated truffles but ran out of time. Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe next Christmas.
While the chocolate is still setting, place some peppermint pieces or sprinkles into the truffles for decoration. I even dusted a few of the white chocolate ones with a sprinkle of cocoa powder. Get creative! Place the tray back into the fridge to chill again.
Now, repeat the exact same process with the semi-sweet chocolate. Once all of the truffles were coated and chilled again, I placed them into mini holiday cupcake liners.
This normally yields approx. 60 truffles. This time I ended up with about 50. I think I made a handful or so larger than usual. Casualties. Guess I’ll just have to eat those… ;)
Won’t Martha Stewart be so proud of you??
Again, you can store these in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 weeks as needed. Enjoy!
Linking Up To Some Fabulous Parties…
Christmas Inspiration Party @ Top This, Top That