A truffle reminds me of visiting my grandmother. Every single time I saw her she would have some homemade snacks for me and my sisters to enjoy. One of the occasional treats that I used to love was the variety ofChristmas truffles she would bring.
I remember my first one.
Biting into this tiny ball of ultimate flavor and wisdom. The young masons mind raced. This, among many others she brought, ultimately influenced my decision to become a chef. I remember how happy I was eating this food that she made, and I thought to myself, “ I want to make people this happy too”.
I could take a bite and instantly would start thinking of how this came to be. “Man, this must have taken forever to taste this dang good!”, I pondered. “Made with love”, she would say.
How do I get ahold of this love? Where do I begin?
A few years into my professional career, I cross paths with this tiny morsel once more. Honestly, I realized that these delectable bites are very simple to make. I can’t lie, I was a bit hurt. This memory was a fond one and my chef career ruined it for me. Little did I know, this would be a common occurrence throughout my career.
You learn to deal with it a little better each time.
History of Truffles
We owe the undying glory of the truffle to chocolatier Jean Neuhaus. A reliable source indicates that Jean invented this pastry by concocting a recipe for a hard outer shell made of chocolate, that was later filled with different delicacies, in 1912.
Jean Neuhaus, referred to his creation as pralines. It was no secret however, that most other chocolatiers called them “Truffles”. Since their conception, the truffle has expanded into new territories of the after- dinner world.
A more in depth exploration reveals another theory of an interesting legend of the truffle. A titan in the chocolate industry reveals another tale stating, French pâtissier Louis Dufour coined the idea for chocolate truffles on Christmas Day, 1895 in Chambray, France. The story depicts a frantic chef, exhausted of ideas, thinking of the next big thing to sell to eager customers during a time of indulgence. As you can imagine this treat was a hit in their community and was passed down through the family generations.
In 1902, this “family recipe” was brought to London, England to be sold in a newly acquired chocolate shop. Many will contest that this is where the truffle became a widely known commodity.
Now the term truffles is used, frivolously, to describe tiny candies that have never be cased in hard chocolate. These pastries may contain whipped cream, fruit purees, and other flavored creams. These types of treats are called truffles in a sense of “slang” in the culinary world, but they wouldn’t be considered truffles in the traditional sense.
Whichever legend you choose to be true, one thing is certain. Chocolate ganache should be the center of a traditional truffle.
Well good thing I’m a new age chef! Because I like to mix things up a bit!
Christmas Truffles Tricks and Tips
I recommend buying a decent chocolate if you are going to go with a basic chocolate truffle. You really need to showcase the flavors. I’ve found that the more cocoa solids in a chocolate the more intense the flavor. The less cocoa solids the sweeter.
A double boiler or “Bain Marie” is the best way to melt the chocolate for a ganache. This method will melt the chocolate evenly in a perfect world. There are ways to mess this up. You need to make sure you have a pot half full of water, then a mixing bowl that fits over the pot ( best practice is a bigger bowl). Also you need to be patient. You cannot rush this process, if you rush the chocolate will burn on the edges and then you have to start over. Patience is key.
One hack to ensure a safe melt, is to chop your chocolate prior. Yes that’s right. Chop the chocolate with a knife then put it in the Bain Marie to melt. This way you can keep your heat low, and the chocolate with still melt at an acceptable rate.
It is also a smart idea, to melt more chocolate than what you need. You can re-use this extra chocolate in the garnish section.
Chocolate is mixed with fat in the mixing bowl over the double boiler. The key is to let it do its thing . Yes, you do mix the chocolate inside the bowl to combine. With that being said, chocolate is easily over mixed. Chocolate has a personality, it doesn’t want to be messed with. Patience is key.
** You will begin to notice a theme when it comes to truffles
Once the ganache is happy, it needs to be cooled down. Once cool, the ganache gets scooped and then frozen. There is no way around this . The ganache must be completely frozen before dipped.
Dipping the frozen truffles can be difficult for some because of temperature control. Keeping the chocolate warm can be a pain. Dip a few at a time until you get a good feel for the temporal changes. Then you can get a little brave .
You can either invest in dipping tools for 20$, or you can use other methods. Some people have been able to get away with tooth picks others use the double fork method. So we got options.
Setting The Outer Shell
Once the frozen ganache is dipped. It must set at room temperature. If it goes in the fridge after it is dipped, the condensation will loosen the shell and it will not do what you want. It also loses flavor…
Patience is……. Oh you get it.
Its always a smart idea to garnish your truffles if you decide to do different flavors. This way you and your guests know which is which. You definitely don’t want to bite into a rum truffle when your expecting just chocolate. I know it doesn’t sound half bad, but for some that could really throw them off.
If you have any extra dipping chocolate left over. Spread it out over a sheet tray lined with parchment or a silicone mat. You can add crushed toppings like peppermint, pretzels, Reese’s, you name it. Cool it down and you got yourself a bark that if crushed up can be used as garnish. Or it can just be a delicious snack!
- 1 Medium Stock Pot
- 2 Mixing Bowls (stainless steel)
- 1 Rubber Spatula
- 1 Knife
- 1 Cutting Board
- 1 Sauce Pot
- 2 Forks or Toothpicks
- 1 Truffle Scoop or Two Spoons
- 2 Sheet Tray
- 2 Silicone Mat or Parchment Paper
- Plastic Wrap
I know that this may seem like a lot of work, but we are literally going to make a base batch of truffle ganache. Then we will have so many different options for different flavors without having to do much more work. Once we get our base, we are in the clear. This is definitely worth it. Lets get to the recipe.
Easy Vegan Chocolate Christmas Truffles ( Gluten-Free)
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Idle Time: 3 hours ( waiting for the chocolate to cool)
- 36 ounces Vegan Chocolate Chips, Chopped
- 1 cup Full-Fat coconut milk
- 1 ½ tbsp Coconut Oil
- In a mixing bowl, place 24 ounces of chocolates and set aside.
- In a sauce pot, place the full fat coconut milk over medium high heat and bring to a scalding temperature. Scalding is right before boiling.
- Once the coconut milk is up to temp, quickly pour over the chocolate and wrap with plastic wrap. Keep covered for 5 – 6 minutes.
- Remove cover and mix the chocolate with the rubber spatula until just combined. Don’t over mix, extra air in the ganache doesn’t not benefit. The ganache should be a thick sauce.
- Cool down in the fridge for at least two hours. You will be able to tell its cold all the way down by sticking a knife through it.
- Once the ganache is cool, use your truffle scoop and scoop balls until the everything is laid out on a lined sheet tray. Use your hands to round the balls into more perfect shapes if you are a perfectionist like me. Place the balls into the freezer until completely frozen.
** You can speed things up and avoid this step completely with these truffle molds!!
- Fill the medium stock pot half way with water and turn on medium heat. Meanwhile, place remaining chocolate and coconut oil in the stainless steel mixing bowl. Place the bowl on top of the stock pot. The water should not be touching the bowl. Gently melt the chocolate over low heat, you’re in no rush because we are still waiting on the ganache to freeze.
- Once frozen, we are ready to dip! I use the toothpick method be cause its easy to hide and I always have tooth picks. Use what you prefer though. Remember to maintain your chocolate temperature wisely. Not to hot and not too cold. This is why we filled the pot with a lot of water, now you can turn the eye off and leave the Bain Marie on the stove. They chocolate will stay hot and wont burn from the residual heat.
- Once dipped, use another tooth pick to push the truffle off onto a lined tray to set at room temp. Repeat this process until its everything is dipped.
- Now time to garnish!! This is where you can get creative!Have fun!!
**Have some dipping chocolate left over? Check out this cool way to re-use this chocolate for your garnishes or just a holiday snack!! This doesn’t require anything you don’t have in your house already!
Vegan Christmas Truffles Variations
I’m going to give a few different variations of these chocolate truffles you can use to diversify your treats. Once you read a few of these you will get the idea and be able to do this with virtually anything you want. Be sure to separate your chocolate into the beginning so you can have multiple flavors.
These variations are for 8 oz of chocolate. That is 1/3 of the chocolate set aside originally in theEasy Vegan Chocolate Christmas Truffles recipe above. Please note you will need more hot coconut cream due to the fact we are adding ingredients to these recipes.
½ tsp of peppermint oil added to chocolate in step 1. Garnish with crushed peppermint candy or peppermint bark.
½ tsp of espresso liqueur added to chocolate in step 1. Garnish with ground espresso or chocolate covered coffee beans.
I think I just really like flavor combination because I felt obligated to put these. These are a touch more difficult. Blend 6 ounces of raspberries in a food processor or blender then strain out the seeds. Then add liquid to chocolate in step 1. Garnish with a raspberry candy for crunch.
½ cup bourbon to chocolate in step 1. I like to garnish with nuts because the flavors tie well together. The easiest garnish is to use sprinkles, pick a color that will help you remember the flavor. For example, if I used crown royal, I would put purple sprinkles.
½ cup added to the chocolate in step 1. This is super boozy! Tone it back if you don’t like alcohol. I like to use toasted coconut with these, but you can always use the sprinkle method.
Toast pistachio in oven until fragrant and toasty. Toasting is super important because it crisps up the nuts and intensifies the flavor. Grind the pistachios in a food processor until you desired texture. I like to grind them into a powder, others like them chunky. Roll the dipped truffles in the pistachios after step 8. You can use this method for any nuts.
When it comes to cookie style truffles I like to have some chopped up bits on the inside and outside. For these particular truffles I chop 12 ounces of Oreos in a food processor until chopped fine, but not powder. I then fold 6 – 8 ounces into the chocolate in step 1. Then I garnish with the rest.
I also add a Vegan Icing to the tops of the truffles for a little color. I have a recipe, but it needs to thinned out for this application. You can use water or coconut cream.
This is just a way to have some fun. I took my basic vegan chocolate truffles and added some vegan icing on top. Then I toped I them with an M&M and a knock off Swedish fish. Again, I just had these laying around but they look great haha.
Now that you have see these different variations, you should be able to implement your own variations! Good job Chef!
Check out what to do with your left out chocolate. Read this awesome recipe below.
Vegan Chocolate Bark Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Idle Time: 30 minutes
- Your Leftover Dipping Chocolate, Melted
- Your Favorite Snacks
- Line a sheet tray or hotel pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Lightly spray the tray liner with pan spray.
- While the dipping chocolate is hot, pour onto a lined sheet tray or hotel pan. If the chocolate is not hot, re heat so the chocolate spreads easily. Be sure to scrape all the chocolate out of the bowl to maximize quantity. Make sure the chocolate is even so it sets properly.
- Now add your toppings! For some textural differences I like to chop half of my toppings and leave the rest whole. Hit the tray against the counter a few times to knock out any air bubbles, and set your toppings into the chocolate.
** Don’t be afraid to mix it up. You don’t have to do 1 flavor like I did. You can do sections of different toppings!
- Chill the chocolate in the fridge.
- Once chilled break up the chocolate bark and store in an airtight container. Depending on the toppings you may need to refrigerate.