November 29, 2011

Chocolate Truffles

Do you ever go through those periods of time where you feel like you've been tipped off your centre of gravity and you need to regain your balance? I've been feeling overworked and tired for a while, and feeling the accumulated stress of spending way too many hours a day in front of a computer screen, going to bed late, not exercising enough, and most importantly, not having enough FUN! So last week when a friend decided to have some girlfriends over for a Saturday evening chill-out with cheese and wine by the fireplace, my whole week turned into one giant countdown to Saturday night. It turns out spending an evening with a group of smart, witty, inspiring women was exactly what I needed to get myself back on track with the important things in life. And not to get all geeky and schmaltzy about it but, hanging out with your girlfriends, it turns out, is scientifically proven to be good not only for for your emotional well being but also physically, since it actually lowers blood pressure, boosts immunity and promotes healing. And for that matter, so does chocolate!!! Of course that is the only reason why I brought chocolate truffles to our soiree... for the sake of our good health.

I've been making truffles every Christmas for years. I love making different flavours and packaging them up on a bed of pine needles. They make perfect presents. But as I discovered on Saturday, they are also just the thing to bring to a gathering. Make the chocolate mixture in advance (since it needs several hours to chill in the fridge before rolling into balls), and then bring it with you and have everyone roll them out together. The great thing about truffles is that they are dead easy to make AND heavenly to eat. And you get to whip out your creative flair when it comes to dreaming up various flavours. For Saturday's truffles, I divided my chocolate mixture into 3 batches and flavoured each one as follows:
  1. Rosemary Tangerine (rosemary & grated tangerine rind & a splash of lemon liqueur)
  2. Raspberry Lavender (dried lavender & raspberry vodka)
  3. Cardamom, Nutmeg, and Black Pepper (all freshly ground, this was my favorite, it tasted like chai)
On Sunday morning I woke up with a slight chocolate hangover I have to admit, but I got shit organized, went to zumba class, went to bed early, and generally felt like my life was magically back in balance. The combined miracle of friends & chocolate.

Chocolate Truffles from Kitchen Vignettes on Vimeo.

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (35%)
300 grams / 10.5 oz chocolate (use dark, organic & fair trade whenever possible)
2 tbsp butter (or omit the butter and add 2 extra tbsp cream)
2 Tbsp liqueur of choice (this is optional)
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp cocoa powder for rolling (or chopped nuts, crushed candy, whatever suits your fancy)

In a small saucepan, heat the cream and butter on medium heat. Remove from heat when the butter is melted and the cream is hot, just before it starts to boil. Chop the chocolate into pieces and add it to the cream and butter mixture. Add a pinch of salt (salt brings out the flavour of chocolate). Stir to melt all the chocolate. If the chocolate doesn't melt completely, you can place it on top of a saucepan filled with boiling water water, just until it melts. 

Add your flavours of choice (spices, mint extract, rum, amaretto, espresso, etc...). Mix well and then cover the saucepan and place it in the fridge for about 3 hours or overnight. Remove from fridge and shape into little balls. Roll the balls in cocoa powder, or chopped nuts, or crushed candy cane. (Keep in mind, the balls do not have to be perfect, truffles are after all named after these weird-looking but delicious fungi).

Enjoy, share & be merry!


  1. I definitely NEED to try this one… I think they are going to be perfect for filling my advents calendar, so that I can share one with my husband every night until Christmas***Thanks.

  2. Julia that sounds like a lovely idea... I love advent calendars, haven't made one in years but you've just inspired me! Let me know what flavours you come up with for your truffles :-)

  3. Mmmmm - they look so good. I didn't know they were so easy to make. <3

  4. Oooops. I just finished the last one cause it was calling to me from the kitchen. It was yelling actually. All morning. What was I to do? Yummmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. what a delicious sounding (and looking!) recipe! Im going to grab a coffee and read more, so glad i found your blog :) Belle

  6. Hi Belle, thanks for stopping by! :-)

  7. Ayoo I love everything you do! So beautiful!! xoxoxo

  8. Try rolling your truffles in slightly ground cacao nibs. It adds an anti oxcident to the already health benefactor of the truffles, and a crunchy bitterness that's a nice contrast to the smoothness of the truffles. I use cacao nibs to decorate cakes, on top of desserts and sometimes salads. It's a surprising layer to every recipe.
    Idit from Ca