This weekend I made a huge batch of truffles for my friend Himo, the designer behind Pearls and Swine. He held a special Valentine’s Day sale at his studio space, and I made some lavender-spiked truffles dusted with fleur de sel for him to give to customers while they sipped on espresso and tried on jewelry. (Doesn’t that sound like an amazing way to spend your Saturday afternoon?)
Truffles are tremendously easy to make — the most important thing to remember is that it requires equal amounts cream and chocolate, emulsified into a rich, silky, smooth ganache that is then chilled and scooped into tiny truffle-sized balls. I use heavy whipping cream (at least 35%) and extra-bitter chocolate (anything about 70%). Because there are so few ingredients, it’s important to buy the very best you can afford or find.
Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan (for about 30-40 truffles, try 8-10 oz cream), and then pour into a bowl filled with chopped chocolate. Whisk quickly; it should melt immediately into a shiny ganache. I like to pour my ganache into a shallow, flat baking dish, where it sits on the counter for 30-40 minutes. Then into the refrigerator it goes to set and chill for at least 2-3 hours, at which point it is ready to be scooped (with a teaspoon or melon baller) into tiny balls.
Sift 1/2 cup high-quality cocoa powder (again, something nice; anything you would be happy to eat raw) into a shallow dish; roll the truffles in the mixture and tap off any excess. Freeze for 20-30 minutes or eat right away (I find that these truffles are quite soft at room temperature).
The best part is inserting all of the fun extras; try infusing seeds in the cream as it comes to a boil (coffee beans, lavender seeds, cardamom pods, chili peppers, black peppercorns, your favorite tea) and then straining out the bits before stirring into chocolate. I also love mixing spices into your cocoa mixture (cayenne powder, dried tumeric, flaked + unsweetened coconut) and topping with a small pinch of fleur de sel. It’s just as easy to stir in a flavor into the cream itself, like a tablespoon of rose water, orange blossom water, citrus zest or the scraped seeds of a vanilla pod.
So easy and fun to customize, and a very sweet present for friends or loved ones for Valentine’s Day!