Truffles are a little bite of luxury, and, because a lot of people are intimidated by the cooking process, they make for a real treat. Invest in a candy thermometer and practice, practice, practice (I’m sure you’ll find willing guinea pigs to gobble up your experimental concoctions), and you’ll be impressing your friends with these grown-up chocolates before you know it.
Servings: 12 dozen
24 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup bourbon
1 vanilla bean , scraped
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
TOPPINGS (Choose one, or try them all!)
2 cups cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
2 cups crushed pecans
2 cups crushed candy canes
2 cups chopped candied orange peel
1. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap and set aside.
2. Melt 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate and milk chocolate together in a heatproof bowl over (but not touching) simmering water, until the chocolate reaches 120 degrees.
3. While the chocolate is heating up, place the cream, vanilla bean, and scraped seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat the cream until it just reaches a simmer.
4. Remove the vanilla bean from the cream, and take the saucepan off the heat. Cool the cream mixture until it reaches 120 degrees.
5. Once the chocolate mixture reaches 120 degrees, remove it from the heat and add it to the cream mixture. Mix together with a spatula, starting from the center of the saucepan and working to the outer edges until the mixture is completely emulsified. Add the butter and mix with an immersion blender until well combined. Add the bourbon and blend until combined.
6. Pour mixture into the prepared baking sheet, evenly spreading mixture with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down gently on the chocolate mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to overnight.
7. Line the back of another large baking sheet with parchment paper. Uncover the chocolate and invert it onto the parchment paper. Remove the plastic wrap. Using a sharp knife, cut chocolate into 1-inch squares.
8. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Roll each square of chocolate between your hands to form a smooth ball. Transfer the chocolate balls to the baking sheet and refrigerate for 1 hour.
9. Place your choice of topping in a shallow dish.
10. Melt the remaining 16 ounces of bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water. Once it is melted, remove from the heat.
11. For each chocolate ball, dip into the melted chocolate. With a fork or a slotted spoon, remove the chocolate ball from the bowl, tapping against the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Roll the chocolate ball into your topping of choice, and repeat with the other chocolate balls.
12. Serve at room temperature, or store in an airtight container.