I made these truffles once before. While the cocoa powder coating was a disaster, my main complaint was the unbearable monotony of having 64 exactly-equal truffles. So this year for Valentine’s Day, I pulled out all the stops and made more than a dozen variations. They turned out beautiful, even if I sat home alone on Valentine’s Day (well, alone with my two sons). The variety started with two base fillings; (1) the chocolate ganache in the original recipe, and (2) a peanut butter filling. I formed both into round balls, and I describe below how I turned these two varieties into at least a dozen unique truffles. Overall, the truffles need to be made in two phases, (1) prepare the ganache/peanut butter balls (about 3 hours total), and (2) the final assembly (about 1-1/2 hours). The chocolate mixture needs at least 2 hours between the steps, and the peanut butter needs to freeze solid. Of course, they turned out to be a perfect 5-star.
It was important for me to try to make a lot of unique truffles. Here’s how I did it. For the chocolate ganache, I used to following techniques to make 10 different varieties.
- Cocoa powder coating.
- Rolled in chopped nuts.
- Dipped in Milk chocolate and placed on parchment paper to form round balls.
- Same at #3, but using Dark chocolate.
- Made cups, putting a dab of melted Milk and/or Dark Chocolate in the bottom of a cup, putting a small truffle, then another dab of chocolate.
- Same as #5, but top with some chopped nuts. Between #5 and #6 there were 4 difference variations.
- I used a toothpick to decorate some of the milk chocolate truffles with melted dark chocolate.
For the Peanut Butter, I used to following techniques to make 4 different varieties.
- Dipped in Milk chocolate and placed on parchment paper to form round balls.
- Same at #1, but using Dark chocolate.
- I made classic peanut butter cups, both with milk and dark chocolate.
Comments / Issues:
- Below there are three parts. I would recommend preparing the first three parts the night before you plan to do the finally assembly. The Peanut Butter balls especially need to be frozen solid of they will not slice. The next day, be sure to remove them from the freezer at the last minute, and only in batches of about 7 to 8.
- Microwaving at 50% power on my counter-top microwave was not enough. I needed 80% power.
- The recipe says to use an 8″x8″ pan, yielding 64 pieces. I used a 7″x7″ pan and got 49 slightly-larger pieces. If you are using 1-1/2″ cups, then I would suggest the slightly larger size.
How much work? Medium/High.
How big of a mess? Medium/High.
Start time 12:00 PM. Dinner time 4:00 PM.
Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared them today are given below:
Chocolate Ganache Ingredients:
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon espresso powder (optional)
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Lightly spray a 7″-to-8″ square baking dish with vegetable oil spray. Prepare a parchment sling by folding 2 sheets of parchment so that they are as wide as the inside of baking dish. Arrange to two sheets of parchment perpendicular to each other, with extra hanging over edges of pan. Firmly push into corners and up sides of pan to that the parchment is flush to baking dish.
- Roughly chop the chocolate and put in a medium microwave proof bowl. Microwave at 50% power (or 80% for a counter-top microwave) for 2 to 3 minutes; stirring once or twice. The chocolate should be mostly melted, but there should remain a few small pieces of chocolate. Set aside.
- In a Pyrex measuring cup, microwave cream for 30 seconds until it is warm to touch. Add corn syrup, vanilla and the pinch of salt; stirring to combine. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit, without stirring, for 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, microwave butter for 20 second to soften and cut into 8 pieces.
- After 3 minutes, use a wooden spoon to combine cream into chocolate, then add small butter cubes one at a time, until everything becomes fully incorporated and smooth.
- Empty ganache into the prepared baking dish, and use a rubber spatula to even out. Allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 2 days)
Peanut Butter Filling:
16-to-18 ounce jar of creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder for dusting your hands.
- Lightly spray a 4″x8″ loaf pan with vegetable oil spray. Prepare a parchment sling by folding 2 sheets of parchment so that they are as wide as the inside of loaf pan. Arrange to two sheets of parchment perpendicular to each other, with extra hanging over edges of pan. Firmly push into corners and up sides of pan to that the parchment is flush to the pan.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the peanut butter, dry milk, and sugar until combined; you should have a stiff mixture.
- Empty peanut butter mixture into the prepared loaf pan, and use a rubber spatula to even out. Freeze for at least 3 hours.
- Grip overhanging parchment and lift to remove from loaf pan. Cut into thirty-two 1″ squares (8 rows by 4 rows).
- Keeping remaining squares as frozen as possible, work in batches of 8. Dust your hands in cocoa powder to prevent the peanut butter from sticking to your hands. Roll into round balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Cover balls with plastic wrap and freeze again for at least 2 hours. (I’m talking about cooking! lol)
1 pound Milk Chocolate
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa (1-1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar (1/2 ounce)
1-1/2″ mini cup-cake liners
1 pound Bittersweet Chocolate
- Break milk chocolate into rough chunks, and melt in a bowl set over simmering water (later you will melt the dark chocolate in step 8).
- Prepare the coating by sifting the cocoa and sugar through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl. Sift again into a pie plate and set aside.
- Wipe out large bowl from previous step with paper towel, chop nuts, and place in the freshly wiped bowl. Set aside.
- Grip overhanging parchment and lift ganache. Cut into sixty-four 1″ squares (8 rows by 8 rows). If the ganache cracks while you are slicing, allow to sit at room temperature for about 5 to 10 minutes before proceeding.
- Use the dusting powder to cover your hands so that the ganache doesn’t stick to your hands. Use your hands to roll each square into a round ball, re-applying dusting powder as necessary to keep it from sticking to your hands. I would suggest rolling in big circles between your hands. If at first they don’t roll, eventually the warmth from your hands will allow you to succeed.
- For those truffles that you want to coat in powder, transfer to pie plate and evenly cover with powder, then lightly shake to remove excess powder.
- For those truffles that you want to cover in nuts, more them around bowl with chopped nuts, pressing the nuts firmly
- For those truffles that you want for milk chocolate balls, drop in melted chocolate and fish out using a fork. Tilt to allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the pan, then transfer to parchment lined backing sheet. After you get about 6 to 8 balls, put them into freezer for 1 minute to set the chocolate.
- If some of your squares of ganache are small, then make in mini cup cake wrapper. Put a dab of melted Chocolate in the bottom of a cup, putting a small ganache ball, then another dab of chocolate to top. Sprinkle some of them with left-over chopped nuts.
- Working in batches of 6 to 8 peanut butter balls, cut those that you want to make into peanut butter cups in half, and leave the remaining peanut butter balls un-sliced.
- For those truffles that you want for milk chocolate peanut butter balls, drop in melted chocolate and fish out using a fork. Tilt to allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the pan, then transfer to parchment lined backing sheet. After you get about 6 to 8 balls, put them into freezer for 1 minute to set the chocolate.
- For those truffles that you want peanut butter cups; Put a dab of melted chocolate in the bottom of a cup, putting a half-ball with the flat side upward. Add another dab of chocolate to top, and smooth so that the top is flat. I would suggest doing the peanut butter cups last, so that you know how much extra chocolate you have. That will dictate how full you fill the cups.
- Return all unused peanut butter balls to the freezer.
- Break dark chocolate into rough chunks, and melt in a same bowl containing the remaining milk chocolate. Continue to simmer pot of water, ensuring that the water doesn’t boil.
- As the dark chocolate melts, dip the tip of a toothpick into the melted dark chocolate and draw some designed some of the finished milk chocolate truffles; especially 5.3 and 5.4 (nut-less).
- Assemble the remaining truffles as you did in step 5 and 6, saving the peanut butter cups until last (and fill to a level based upon available chocolate).
- Cover container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week. Let truffles sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.