Chocolate Truffles Without the Kerfuffles

I have a confession to make. I am a serious chocoholic. I'm talking intervention-style serious. I know some of you are snickering, thinking about your own forays into the baker's semi-sweet blocks you hid deep in your pantry to keep them 'out of sight', but my addiction has led me to searching my floors, on my knees, late at night for rogue chocolate chips. There was also that time I dug through a recycling bag to retrieve a can of chocolate icing, hoping to scrape some dried out frosting off the sides. Yes, it's a terrible, terrible affliction.

So, to spare my friends and family this kind of humiliation, I decided to make homemade chocolate truffles! Not only are they incredibly decadent, but they look like you spent a fortune at a fancy-schmancy chocolatier. I won't tell you not to let them think that, especially when you see how easy these are to make.

First, let's talk about truffles. A true truffle is a highly prized fungus that grows symbiotically near the roots of trees. Truffles are rare, particularly since they must be 'rooted' out, usually by a pig or a dog. (Sounding delicious so far?) Truffles have been mentioned as far back as neo-Sumerian times, and even discussed within the Bible. When chocolate became fashionable to Western Europe in the 1700's, it wasn't long before the two were joined. This delicacy, the chocolate truffle, eventually came to be popular without any actual truffles as part of the confection. Lucky for us, this is what we'll be making today.

You'll need the following ingredients to get started:

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 pkg of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt

This is the base for the truffles, or if you really want to win friends and influence people, refer to it as 'ganache'. To make the ganache, heat the cream, salt and sugar in a sauce pan on low heat. You want to be gentle here, and look for small bubbles to form around the edge of the pan like so:

Let this mix sit a minute, take it off the heat, and add the chocolate. Stir it real good until it looks like chocolate melted in a pot. (Which is what it is.) The next part is easy - pour it into a shallow dish and let it sit for 2 hours in the fridge. Find something interesting to do for 2 hours. (Put away that dishcloth - I said interesting!)

Now that the ganache has firmed up, we're ready for the hardest funnest part - forming the truffles. If you have a melon baller, great, but a spoon will work. Make 1" balls by rolling the truffles on wax paper. Your hands will look and feel like you've just changed an infant's diaper, but they won't taste that way - I promise. You can also roll the balls in cocoa, coconut, icing sugar, crushed nuts or candy - whatever works to disguise the misshapen blob you just spent 5 minutes squishing.

Place them in a foil cup and voila - chocolate truffles that will have Lindor calling their lawyers. Well, maybe not. But, at the very least, your truffles won't contain soy lecithin or carnuba wax.

Happy Holidays! 


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