How to Make Truffles

Learn how to make a chocolate lover's favorite treat: the classic truffle made from smooth chocolate ganache.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

©2012, Television Food NEtwork, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Â 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armedariz ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

The Secrets to a Classic Chocolate Truffle

These intensely fudgy little balls are just the right size for a holiday party bite. Truffles are made with a rich chocolate ganache and can be customized by spiking the filling with liqueur or coating the outside in various toppings, like in Alton's foolproof recipe below. 

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Truffles

The Ideal Chocolate Ratio

It's important to use a good-quality chocolate when making the ganache. For the most-balanced flavor, try a combination of bittersweet and semisweet chocolates so that the truffles are not too bitter or too sweet. Chop the chocolate very finely so that it melts quickly and evenly when mixed with hot cream.

Add Creamy Company

Heat a mixture of heavy cream and corn syrup over medium heat until it steams, just before the simmering point. Do not heat it above simmering or it will cause the chopped chocolate to seize up, resulting in a solid grainy mass rather than a shiny liquid. Corn syrup helps prevent the chocolate from seizing and adds an extra glossy sheen to the melted liquid.

The Method for Melting

Before combining the chocolate and hot cream, give the chocolate a head start with Alton's approach of microwaving it twice in a glass bowl for 30 seconds until slightly melted. Then, take the heavy cream off the heat and pour it over the chopped chocolate, allowing it to stand for two minutes undisturbed. Next, stir the two together until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Spiked and Spiced

Now's the time to gently stir in your favorite extract or liqueur. Choose flavors that complement chocolate like coffee, vanilla or hazelnut, or try adding caramel, fresh mint or citrus zest to the ganache base. Savory additions like cayenne or balsamic vinegar can lend a surprising zing that blends well with dark chocolate.

Get the Recipe: Balsamic Chocolate Truffles

Take Time to Chill

Pour the mixture into a glass dish and allow it to chill in the refrigerator for one to two hours until the ganache is set. At that point, it will feel firm to the touch and you can use a melon baller or small ice cream scoop to portion out evenly sized balls. Round out the scoops by rolling them in your hand (quickly so that they don't start to melt) and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet to chill again for another half-hour.

Create a Snappy Coating

If you prefer truffles with a hard candy coating on the outside, melt extra chocolate on top of a hot plate or heating pad until it reaches 92 degrees F. Do not allow the chocolate to go above 94 degrees F or it will not have that signature "snap" when you bite into it. Dip the chilled truffles into the melted chocolate using a fork, and allow any excess to drip off before setting the balls down to harden.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Rolling in Flavor

Or, simply roll your chilled truffles in the coating of your choice. Add texture with chopped toasted nuts or shredded coconut, or keep it simple by rolling the truffles in cocoa powder or coarse sugar. Bear in mind that they don't have to be perfectly circular, as they'll look more like homemade truffles if they're a little rustic.

Get the Recipe: Champagne Truffles

Edible Gifts Are Best

If you're storing the truffles, put them in an airtight container in the fridge, where they'll keep for up to a week. They're best when served at room temperature and make for a welcome hostess gift at any holiday bash. 

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Truffles