by Susan Hanna

Just two more weeks until Valentine’s Day – the biggest chocolate day of the year. To really impress your valentine this year, why not make chocolate truffles yourself? The secret to making the very best truffles is to use the very best chocolate you can find. I usually buy mine from a Belgian chocolate shop. Not only is the chocolate delicious, it is free of additives, preservatives and artificial flavour. Also buy the best cocoa powder available, as the cheaper ones may contain artificial ingredients.

 Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

 Use butter with a single ingredient: cream. Select a whipping cream with no additives and buy the best chocolate and cocoa powder you can to avoid artificial ingredients. I have been using Camino brand, which is organic and fair trade. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit www.eyeforarecipe.ca.

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup (250 mL) heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 4 tbsp (60 mL) unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) light corn syrup
  • 28 oz (875 g) finely chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup (250 mL) Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted

Preparation:

In a small saucepan, bring cream, butter and corn syrup to a full boil over medium heat. Turn off heat. Add 16 oz (500 g) chocolate; gently swirl pan to cover chocolate with cream, but do not stir. Let stand, undisturbed, 5 minutes.

Slowly whisk until combined. Transfer mixture to large bowl; refrigerate, stirring every 15 minutes.

After 45 minutes, mixture will thicken quickly, so stir every 3 to 5 minutes until thick enough to scoop, 10 to 20 minutes more. Using two spoons or a small ice-cream scoop, form into 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls; transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet.

Chill until firm, but not hard, about 10 minutes. Remove from refrigerator; roll in palms to form a ball, and press gently with fingers to create irregular shapes. Chill until ready to dip, up to 1 week.

Place remaining chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water; stir occasionally until chocolate melts. Remove from heat; cool slightly.

Place cocoa powder in small bowl. Remove centres from refrigerator. Using one hand, dip one centre into melted chocolate, then roll around in your hand to coat evenly, letting excess drip back into pan. Place truffle in cocoa. With your clean hand, cover truffle with cocoa. Let sit in bowl 20 seconds.

Lift out, and set on parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining truffles. If your kitchen is warm, refrigerate 5 minutes to set. You can store the truffles in an airtight container up to 1 week at a cool room temperature. Makes about 48 truffles.

 

From the December 2002 issue of Martha Stewart Living.