Homemade chocolate truffles

Surprise your Valentine with a box of homemade chocolate truffles. Be sure to make them a day ahead, so they can set in the refrigerator overnight.

The Pastry Chef's Baking
An easy version of chocolate truffles with a soft center. Top with nuts or sea salt.

I've started recording episodes of The Pioneer Woman to watch whenever I have time. I recently watched the chocolate episode where Ree makes up chocolate treats then Ladd and the kids deliver them to their friends in town. One of the treats she makes is these chocolate truffles. 

This isn't red velvet, heart-shaped or pink or red but chocolate is a big component of Valentine's Day so I had to make these for Valentine week. This is the easy cheater's version because it just involves melting two kinds of chocolate with a can of sweetened condensed milk and adding vanilla. None of that boiling cream and pouring over chopped chocolate to make the traditional truffle filling. I also knew the sweetened condensed milk would make for a smooth truffle center. Sold.

The other advantage to this recipe is you can make the truffle mixture, chill it overnight then finish it off the next day. Which is what I did because I didn't have a weeknight where I had time to do everything from start to finish in the same night. I got home late from work the night I made the filling but it took only a few minutes to melt the chocolates with the sweetened condensed milk, beat in the vanilla, cover and place in the fridge to chill. These were meant to be dark chocolate truffles but the bittersweet chocolate I was using was pretty high end and I knew that would be really dark so I added a little over 4 ounces of milk chocolate as part of the semisweet chocolate portion to lighten it up a little.

After chilling overnight, the mixture was solid rock so I did have to let it sit out a bit. I cheated and microwaved it for 10 seconds to soften it enough for me to scoop out the truffles. I would recommend chilling these initially only until the mixture is firm enough to scoop and hold its shape so you don't have to do the microwave thing. Then you can chill them further once they're scooped out.

I was originally going to enrobe them all in the milk chocolate and leave them as is but I wasn't happy with how the plain ones looked (not as smooth) so I enrobed them in a thin coating then rolled them in chopped toasted almonds while the coating was still soft so the nuts adhered easily. They turned out much better this way and I enjoyed the texture contrast with the almonds plus it cut the richness of the filling. The truffle center was more like fudge than a truly creamy ganache truffle center but it was still pretty good. For the easy version of truffles, I recommend going with this one.

Homemade chocolate truffles
From The Pioneer Woman

8 ounces high quality semisweet chocolate (I used a mix of milk chocolate and semisweet)

8 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

8 ounces milk chocolate candy melts

Sea salt for garnish or chopped toasted almonds, optional

1. Heat chocolates and sweetened condensed milk in a double boiler over medium low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla to combine.

2. Remove from heat, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours (I chilled mine overnight). Or, to make it easier, chill only for 15-20 minutes, just long enough for the mixture to become firm enough to hold its shape when scooped out. When they've been scooped, you can chill further if desired. 

3. Once chilled and rolled into small balls, dip in melted milk chocolate coating, enrobing completely. Lay on wax paper and sprinkle with sea salt or roll in chopped toasted nuts while chocolate coating is still soft. Let cool until chocolate coating has set.

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