Last Christmas I made truffles for the friends I'd left back in Long Beach. I took particular care to make them and send them off in time for Christmas (this was just after I'd moved up here to Utah). My friends thoroughly enjoyed them, but alas there was only one leftover, so I split it with my mom, because she loves chocolate. That half of a truffle was so delicious, it kept me going until this Christmas season when I decided that I needed to make a lot more truffles this year so that I can have more than half of one. So this year I made three batches, and am considering another.
The center is a soft ganache, with a thin layer of (hopefully) crisp chocolate, and dusted with cocoa powder. The recipe I took from SmittenKitchen.com, who got it from Epicurious.com. They are called "La Maison du Chocolat" truffles, since Robert Linxe of said Maison originally came up with the recipe, so far as I can tell.
I made only a couple of very minor adjustments.
Love and Chocolate.
La Maison du Chocolat Truffles
via Smitten Kitchen and Epicurious
11 ounces Valrhona chocolate (56% cacao) Valrhona will probably cost you your firstborn child, and you might have a difficult time finding it anyway, so just use the best available to you. I used Ghiradelli 60% and they still tasted amazing.
2/3 cup heavy cream
Valrhona cocoa powder for dusting Again with the Valrhona. I used Hershey's because I already had it.
Finely chop 8 ounces of the chocolate and put in a bowl.
Bring heavy cream to a boil in a small heavy saucepan. Make sure your pan is small, so you’ll lose the least amount of cream to evaporation, and heavy, which will keep the cream from scorching. Linxe boils his cream three times — he believes that makes the ganache last longer. If you do this, compensate for the extra evaporation by starting with a little more cream. The cream should cool a little between boilings, but make sure you constantly run something (like a whisk) through it so it doesn't form a skin.
Pour the cream over the chocolate, mashing any big pieces with a wooden spoon. Or a whisk.
Then stir with a whisk in concentric circles (don’t beat or you’ll incorporate air), starting in the center and working your way to the edge, until the ganache is smooth.
Let stand at room temperature until thick enough to hold a shape, about 1 hour, then, using a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch opening or tip, pipe into mounds (about 3/4 inch high and 1 inch wide) on parchment-lined baking sheets. When piping, finish off each mound with a flick of the wrist to soften and angle the point tip. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt 3 more ounces of the same Valrhona and smear some on a gloved (latex) hand. Gently rub each chilled truffle to coat lightly with chocolate. (The secret to a delicate coating of chocolate is to roll each truffle in a smear of melted chocolate in your hand. Linxe always uses gloves.) Last year I used a glove and this year I just used a sandwich bag. The effect is the same, but I admit it's much easier with a glove.
Toss the truffles in unsweetened Valrhona cocoa powder so they look like their namesakes, freshly dug from the earth. A fork is the best tool for tossing truffles in cacao. Shake truffles in a sieve to eliminate excess cacao. Or skip the sieve and use the fork. Although I'm pretty sure a sieve would work a LOT better at getting excess off. I just don't have one.
Store truffles in the refrigerator. If they don't get eaten fast enough...