Dark Chocolate and Grand Marnier Truffles

A spot of minor surgery left me confined, if not to the house itself, certainly to within the bounds of the parish. Some spare cream needed to be used up before it became putrescent, so I whiled away the hours by making these. It should be pointed out that there is no really clean way of doing this, and you will end up covering yourself in chocolate. I personally find this oddly pleasurable.

  • 400g dark cooking chocolate (I used Waitrose ‘cos it’s cheaper than certain better known brands and has a bit more cocoa butter and hence more malleable)
  • 200mL single cream
  • 50mL Grand Marnier
  • Cocoa powder or icing sugar for dusting

Break the chocolate up into small pieces and place in a glass bowl atop (and not touching) a pan of barely simmering water, so it will melt. Too much heat and the chocolate will curdle, which is not pleasant.

Heat the cream in a small saucepan. When it starts to boil turn off the heat and give it a bit of a stir to reduce the temperature. If you wanted an alcohol-free truffle you could add the liqueur to the cream before heating.

When the chocolate has mostly melted, pour in the hot cream, and stir vigorously. If the chocolate hasn’t all melted, then leave on the heat and keep stirring for a few moments.

Remove from the heat, stir in the liqueur, and put in the fridge. What we want to do here is get the mixture cool enough so that you can form it into balls, but not so cool it becomes solid. I reckon about an hour is needed. If you want a fluffy truffle, you will need to take the mixture out after half an hour and give it a good going over with the electric beaters, and then again at the end of the hour. If, after an hour, the mixture has become too solid, then just pop the bowl atop the simmering water again.

Cookbook authors then glibly tell you to form the mixture into small balls and dust with cocoa. Pffft. That instruction will not prepare you for the mess and the fiddling; nor the cleaning up afterwards. I use two long-handled teaspoons to get a grip on the mixture, and end up with lumps, rather than perfect spheres. The mixture won’t be too sticky, so I use my (scrupulously scrubbed) fingers to even them up, and then roll them in the cocoa powder or icing sugar.

Variations

  • You could use more cream if you like a lighter consistency; up to about 300mL should work
  • You could infuse the cream with spices (vanilla, chilli, cardamon, etc) as you heat it – just be sure to strain it afterwards
  • Any interesting liqueur or spirit should work: dark rum, brandy, amaretto, kirsch, frangelico, or even a cold ristretto
  • You could do this with white chocolate and limoncello
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