The confections known as chocolate truffles are a delicious treat which you can find at most candy shops. The reason these confections are called truffles is, once the small round balls are coated with traditional cocoa powder, they resemble the fungus. Although they seem really fancy, they’re relatively easy to make at home. All you need is some good quality chocolate and heavy cream to make a ganache center. You can add different ingredients, like spices, liquors or extracts to vary the flavor.
Many years ago, I used to frequent a confection shop in Los Angeles where the pastry chef made amazing truffles. One of my favorites was the malted milk chocolate truffle. They were creamy and smooth with just enough malt to perfectly complement the cocoa flavor. Here is my version of the truffles using dark chocolate and Fleur de Sel, which make great gifts for the holidays. Enjoy!
Malted Chocolate Truffles with Sea Salt
Yield: about 3 dozen
1 lb. of dark chocolate (52-54% cacao)
3/4 cup of heavy cream
2/3 cup of barley malt syrup*
1/2 scant teaspoon of sea salt (Fleur de Sel)
1/2 cup of finely chopped roasted hazelnuts or almonds
Pinch of Kosher salt
1/2 cup of cocoa powder (preferably Valrhona)
1. Chop the chocolate into 1/4″ pieces and place in a large glass bowl. Set aside.
2. Add the cream, milk, and malt syrup in a small sauce pan. Place the pan on the burner over medium-high heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil, immediately remove from the heat and pour the liquid over the chopped chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
3. After five minutes, take a rubber spatula and slowly stir the chocolate and cream mixture (ganache). Once the ganache just comes together, add the Fleur de Sel. Stir just until the salt is incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to cool for at least one hour.
4. To prepare your truffle station, place the chopped hazelnuts in a small bowl. Add a pinch of Kosher salt and stir. Set aside.
5. Add the cocoa powder in a bowl. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
6. Remove the ganache from the refrigerator. Using a truffle scoop (.5 ounce scoop), scoop the ganache and roll into a smooth ball. Place on the parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat the process until you have enough to star the coating process. (If the balls soften, place the baking sheet in the freezer for five minutes once done.)
7. Roll 1/2 of the ganache balls in the cocoa powder and the other 1/2 in the chopped hazelnuts. Make sure you coat one ball at a time.
8. Place each truffle in a mini baking cup. Arrange them then in a confection box. Refrigerate until ready to gift.
*Sold at most gourmet health food stores.