When you don’t know what to get somebody, an edible gift is usually a good way to go. Whereas a box of chocolates or macarons is pretty amazing to receive, I do enjoy going the extra mile, and making presents from scratch!
Today I was reading the Guardian article on making the Perfect Chocolate Truffle, and immediately had a strong desire to make some. Chocolate truffles always go down well as gifts, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to experiment with some new recipes instead of always sticking to my go-to formula.
I tested out four recipes in total:
- My recipe for milky chocolate truffles
- Paul A. Young‘s chocolate muscovado truffles
- Cocoa & Me classic chocolate ganache truffles
- Tartlette’s truffes au chocolat
For the truffles, I used a mixture of Lindt Cooking chocolate, Lindt 70% eating chocolate, and Valrhona Noir 68%. I dusted the results in Green & Black’s cocoa powder. All of the truffles tasted equally fabulous, it was quite actually hard to discern any difference between the chocolates I’d used, but my favourite was the Lindt cooking chocolate, which had the most round-bodied flavour.
My own recipe for truffles always turns out slightly soft, which makes it perfect for using as a topping for chocolate cakes, but slightly difficult when it comes to forming little spheres, rolling them in cocoa powder, and packaging them up neatly.
I melted down milk and dark chocolate together, and combined it with an equal quantity of double cream. This mixture I popped into the freezer to set. It is quite soft, so it was with speed, and some difficulty that I rolled them out into balls, covered with cocoa powder, and stuck into the fridge.
Next up was the Paul A Young truffles. They looked very straightforward, and in terms of method and ingredient volumes – very similar to my own go-to recipe. However, the cream and sugar formed a much thicker mixture in the pan, and it was much richer-tasting as well, the dark chocolate being unadulterated by any additional milk chocolate flavours. Very delicious. This also took quite a long time to set, so I resorted to chilling the ganache in the freezer, and similarly, was on the soft side when it came to rolling them out and coating the balls in ganache. Another one to keep in the fridge.
Cocoa & Me is one of the cutest blogs ever, written by a Japanese market stallhaller in London, she has some of the most beautifully crafted baked goods I’ve ever seen. Not surprisingly, I was keen to give her basic ganache truffles recipe a whirl.
The ganache split as I was making it, but it wasn’t too disastrous, so I gave it a good whisking, poured it into another bowl, and stuck it into the fridge, hoping it wouldn’t do any further separating whilst it was chilling.
The Cocoa & Me truffles set really well; a lot firmer than my usual go-to recipe, rich and dense. Whilst I do enjoy the convenience of not having to coat the truffles or leave them in the fridge permanently, these had a slightly crumbly texture which I wasn’t too fond of. The meltier texture of softer truffles somehow seems more luxurious, although it is more tricky to handle. This would be a good robust truffle if you were packaging them up and handing them out as gifts.
Finally, Tartlette’s recipe! It is unusual here in that it doesn’t require any double cream, but relies on dark chocolate, butter, icing sugar and egg yolks. This was handy as I’d just used all of the cream up!
I made a half batch as I didn’t have quite enough butter, reduced the quantity of icing sugar to 50g, and altered the method for greater simplicity by heating the chocolate and butter together in a bain-marie; whisking the egg and icing sugar together, and finally mixing the sugary eggy mixture into the melted chocolate and chilling the tempting chocolatey goo in the fridge.
I actually really loved the Tartlette truffles, and they went down very well with everyone (except the resident chocolate hater). They had a great texture and flavour, and like the Cocoa & Me truffles solidified nicely, which is always a plus in my book as it means I don’t have to roll them in an additional coating of chocolate. They had a slightly less smooth mouthfeel than my usual truffles and I’m not quite sure why. It wasn’t unpleasant at all, just noticeable.
These truffles are definitely one to make again, and possibly experiment further with by adding other flavourings e.g. adding a bit of jam, and rolling them in freeze-dried raspberry powder.
What wins the prize of Perfect Truffle?
Well, I still prefer my go-to recipe in terms of simplicity, and all-round pleasing flavour, especially when it comes to a younger, more sweet-toothed audience. Accolades for flavour and ease of packaging go towards the Tartlette ones. For the sophisticated palate, the Paul Young truffles are a winner. Pick and choose your chocolate vice 🙂