truffles are one of those luxury things that makes me think of furs, diamonds, and women lounging around in dresses that say "we don't have to clean anything ever and you can tell this because of this dress that would be completely ruined if it got near the slightest bit of sweat or dust." For years, I thought of truffles as being difficult to make.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered the suckers are easier than fantasy fudge. seriously. The toughest part of the whole thing is tempering the egg yolk and a bit of patience and judicious use of your microwave will get you through that easily.
Truffles are traditionally rolled in cocoa powder. Buy some good stuff for this. Go name brand and a name that makes you go "oooooh." Preferably dutched cocoa. No idea what this means, but it makes it better. You can also roll them in candy sprinkles and chopped nuts. Make sure you have a different coating for each of the flavors you plan on making so it's easy to tell them apart. Also, make the coating work with the flavor. Mint probably isn't going to work with sprinkles but would be lovely with crushed peppermint or the cocoa.
There are lots of different flavors you can use for truffles. If you drink alcohol, you can use liqueurs, rum, brandy, whiskey, etc. as the flavoring. I don't drink alcohol so I prefer not to make rum balls. ;) I use flavoring extracts. Use a good brand, the cheap stuff can leave a bitter aftertaste. Try orange, vanilla, mint, butter nut (a McCormick flavoring that is wonderful!) maple, anything you think would work with chocolate.
You can also dip your flavored truffles in chocolate. This is what I prefer to do, because more chocolate can only be better, right? For instructions on melting and tempering chocolate try this link: chocolatemold.net Once your chocolate is melted and tempered drop your truffles into it one at a time and carefully fish them out with either a fork or a dipping chocolate fork (it's a fancy schmancy fork with teeny round tines made for fishing little truffle balls out of chocolate.) Set the truffles on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet. The cookie sheet is so you can pick them up and move them if you need to. If you happen to have a kitchen that is exactly the opposite of mine (which is to say the opposite of the size of a closet) and won't need to move them, just lay the waxed paper out on the couner. Let them set at room temperature. when the chocolate is completely set, you can put them in your fridge for a bit to harden up the chocolate some more.
the recipe (from BHG)
6 oz semisweet chocolate
3 T whipping cream
1 beaten egg yolk, room temperature, or warmed slowly in a microwave set on LOW power (20 seconds at a time, stirring between each heating, until the yolk is just barely warm to the touch.)
3 T your choice of liqueur or other alcoholic beverage for flavor
1 t flavoring extract of your choice
12 oz chocolate for dipping
other coating stuff
in a heavy 2-quart saucepan combine semisweet chocolate, butter, and cream. Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate melts (about 10 minutes.) take pan off heat. Gradually stir half the hot mixture into the egg yolk, I mean gradually in a thin trickle, stirring constantly. This is what I meant by tempering the egg yolk, btw. return the egg mixture to the pan. Cook and stir over medium heat untill the mixture is slightly thickened. Remove the saucepan from heat. (if you are doing more than one flavor from one batch, pour the mixture into two to three seperate mixing bowls before you add the flavoring.) Stir in your flavoring (please adjust this if you are doing more than one batch! use half or a 1/3 of the amount the recipe calls for depending on how many flavors you are making.) Pour the mixture into a small mixing bowl, cover and chill till completely cool and smooth, stirring occasionally (about an hour and a half.)
beat chilled mixture with an electric mixer (hand mixer is fine) on medium speed till slightly fluffy (about 2 minutes.) Chill again untill mixture holds it's shape. (1o to 15 minutes) Drop by well rounded teaspoons onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Chill till firm. if you want you can gently shape these into balls.
dip in chocolate or roll in coating whichever you decided to do. Let sit until set. store tightly covered ni a cool dry place for up to two weeks.
this are so lovely! have fun with them! you can give them away and get your friends thinking that you own dresses that never get dirty. ;)