Since last Friday, I have been laboring over my gift to my family, consisting of my parents, brother, grandparents, and aunts. Every year, we all give each other one small, modest gift. I decided to make truffles for everyone because I’ve always wanted to, and I figured it would be easier than going out and buying individual gifts. Well, it may have been a little easier just to buy gifts in the end. By the fourth morning of working on the chocolates, I was sure it would be the first, and last, time I make truffles. But I’m not thinking that way anymore. They were so good, and such a big hit with my family, that I would gladly act as a pasticceria chef again. I was also not following any exact recipe (because I tend to make recipes my own), and it was my first time making small chocolates, so I imagine truffle baking will be much easier the second time around.
The trick is to use the best chocolate available. If you really want to wow someone with french-like chocolates, you need to forget any expenses and inconveniences, and get top-class chocolate. Being a Torinese, after living there last year, I became spoiled by the chocolate capital of Italy. The town of Alba, which is 15 minutes from my vineyard home in Piemonte, is home to the Ferrero factory, a brand famous for their Nutella, Ferrero-rocher, and Kinder. I was pretty spoiled living there too, smelling the aroma of Nutella during soccer practice every day. So I had high standards when deciding on which chocolates to use in my truffles. I’ll say this: Do NOT use cheap chocolate, or anything with “Hershey’s” on it.
I used two types of chocolate to make four types of truffles. I settled for a nice 73% cocoa dark chocolate, and a smooth, light white chocolate. These two choices could provide an endless list of possibilities.
The good part about truffles is that once you get a solid ganache center, you can garnish them with whatever you like! Two types of ganaches were made for the center of the truffles: a dark chocolate and white chocolate center.
The 4 Types of Truffles I made (all my own recipes):
Peppermint Bark Truffles– A fantastic twist on a classic holiday treat. I had to try making this because my Aunts and I enjoy making peppermint bark every year, so I knew they’d enjoy this creation.
White Chocolate Truffles with Nonna’s Cherry Jam– I took each white chocolate ganache ball, placed my Nonna’s cherry marmalade in the center, dipped the truffles in the liquid from the marmalade, and gave it a coating of pure white chocolate. I totally made this recipe up. It was daring, but very successful. This was my brother’s favorite.
Dark Chocolate Truffles coated in Toasted Hazelnuts– The dark chocolate ganache balls were given a coating of pure dark chocolate, and then rolled in toasted hazelnuts. A classic combination, which is my father’s all-time favorite. Very piemontese.
Dark Chocolate Truffles coated in Almonds– Just like the hazelnut truffles, but with almonds instead. I didn’t even toast the almonds. Simple and delicious. A soft dark chocolate center, with a crunchy nut outside.
I shall be posting the recipes for these delicious chocolates. If you are ever feeling ambitious, and your chocolate craving is stronger than usual, then I suggest you try these truffles out. I promise you will send me a grand letter of gratitude with a stamp of approval if you do.