Last days have been particularly cold and all I crave are soups and chocolate treats. Truffles are among the easiest chocolate snacks I know. The possibilities are endless, the process is very easy, so it’s not difficult to invent at least one new version every year. My usual basis is ganache (a mixture of chocolate and cream, though some people add also butter) which, cooled, is already enough to form truffles, but I often also add nuts, puffed grains or dried fruits as the binding agents for a more filling, richer, more homely result.
These were particularly simple. Coffee was actually a very pleasant addition to hazelnuts and if I had coffee or hazelnut liqueur, I am sure it would make these truffles even better and more complex. I have made two batches: one with dark chocolate and one with milk chocolate. For the first time on this blog (and I think in my whole life) I must admit that milk chocolate was a better choice. Actually, it pairs better with hazelnuts (in fact it paired so well, I ate these truffles too quickly to take photographs… what you see above is obviously the dark chocolate batch).
These truffles are more filling and I would say rustic compared to the 100% ganache truffles (such as these Matcha and White Chocolate Truffles). They are however a bit easier to form and, like all the truffles, apart from being an excellent tea snack, they are also might be a good idea for a small present. Their taste improves with time (especially if you use alcohol), so it’s good to prepare them one day ahead.
In case you don’t like hazelnuts, but feel like playing with truffles, here are some other suggestions:
During the chocolate melting process, keep a very low heat, stir constantly and do not let it boil.
While forming the truffles, make sure your hands are not too warm, running cold water on them from time to time and rolling the truffles between your fingers and not on the palm of your hand (which is warmer).
The truffles should be kept in the fridge (it can be the warmest part of the fridge), so make sure you say it while offering a box.
Preparation: about 30 min + 3 hours in the fridge
Ingredients (yields about 16 walnut-sized truffles):
100 g/about 3,5 oz good quality chocolate (dark or milk chocolate)
100 ml/about 3/4 cup liquid cream (I have used 25% fat cream)
1 tablespoon instant coffee (or a small – 50 ml espresso; if using espresso, add 50 ml less cream)
100 g/about 1 cup chopped hazelnuts + several heaped tablespoons ground hazelnuts for coating
Bring the cream to a boil.
Break the chocolate into small pieces and add to the hot cream together with the coffee and liqueur, if using.
Stir constantly until you obtain a smooth texture.
Add the chopped hazelnuts and stir well.
Put the mixture to the fridge for about 3 hours until the mixture is dense enough to be handled.
Quickly form truffles (I have made walnut sized balls) with cold hands.
Put the ground hazelnuts into a deep bowl.
Dust the inside of your hands with some ground hazelnuts, quickly form a truffle (try using only the fingers because the palm of your hand is always much warmer), put it into a bowl with ground hazelnuts and, moving the bowl, coat the truffle thoroughly.
Repeat the same with each truffle.
Place the truffles on a plate or in paper cases and refrigerate a couple of hours before serving or before offering them.
The truffles should always be kept in the fridge (it can be the warmest part, but the fridge is obligatory).