The holidays bring many opportunities to host and attend various potlucks, click dinners and parties. One of the eternal questions during the season becomes “What should I bring?” As it turns out, homemade chocolate truffles are a surprisingly easy, impressive and downright tasty option to have in your arsenal.
This particular truffle combines the complex, smokey and nutty flavors of a good dark chocolate with the bright herb profiles of basil. I know what you are thinking, but the combination of chocolate and basil is remarkably compelling.
Step by Step Recipe
Begin by finely chopping 12 ounces of 40 to 60 percent chocolate and 12 ounces of 70 percent or higher chocolate. You need the lower percentage chocolate to add some sweetness to the final truffle, and the darker richer chocolate for that deep smoky flavor. Put the chopped chocolate in a large bowl.
Roughly chop a large handful of basil. You do not want the basil chopped too fine, just enough to release the essential oils from the leaves. You could also use mint, tarragon or shiso depending on your mood and preferences, but chocolate and basil is an outstanding pairing, I promise!
Add 1 1/3 cup of heavy cream to a heavy-bottomed small pan. Add the basil and salt. Bring the cream up to a boil 2 times, cooling it between the first and second boiling.
When the cream comes to a boil the second time, strain the hot cream over the chopped chocolate, mashing any big pieces with a spoon.
Stir the mixture together in a circular pattern from the center and working your way to the edge with a wooden spoon. When you first start the stirring, the chocolate will look lumpy and almost curdled; do not freak out. The ganache will soon be smooth, glossy, and beautiful.
When the ganache is smooth and glossy, pour the mixture into a shallow 9×12 aluminum baking dish that you have lined with saran wrap. Cover the mixture with more saran wrap, making sure that the saran wrap touches the ganache as this will prevent a “skin” from developing as the ganache cools. Place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours until the mixture has completely chilled.
After the ganache has chilled, remove it from the fridge and pull it out of the baking dish. Unwrap the block of ganache and place on a cutting board.
Using a very sharp knife, cut the ganache into small, bite sized pieces. Place the pieces onto a plate with sugar and roll the pieces in the sugar until they are thinly and evenly coated. Shake off any excess sugar and place the truffle pieces on a serving plate. Depending on how big you cut your pieces, you can expect between 60 to 100 pieces when you are finished.
You can store the truffles in the refrigerator and they will keep for a week or two.
Makes about 60 to 100 truffles
This recipe can be tweaked with any number of other flavors to keep things interesting. Consider replacing the basil with any of the following:
- Curry powder
- Chipotle chiles
- Espresso powder
- 12 ounces milk or mild chocolate (40% – 60% cacao)
- 12 ounces dark chocolate (70% or higher cacao)
- 1 bunch of basil, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Sugar for dusting