Truffles are just about the easiest, hardest-to-screw-up candy there is, and this recipe from the chocolatier behind San Francisco’s Charles Chocolates is as simple as it gets. Just pour warm vanilla-infused cream over chopped bittersweet chocolate, whisk until smooth, and chill until set. Then scoop out small mounds of the hardened chocolate, roll them into balls with your hands (imperfections in the shapes give them extra charm), and dust with unsweetened cocoa powder. Serve these little treats as the elegant parting shot at a cocktail or dinner party, or package in ribbon-tied cellophane bags or tins to give as impressive holiday gifts.

What to buy: We love Guittard Chocolate Company’s 72% Cacao Quetzalcoatl Bittersweet Chocolate, but any quality chocolate containing around 70 percent cocoa solids will do.

For more, check out our Orange Marmalade TrufflesChèvre Truffles, and Hazelnut Truffle Fudge.

  • Yield: About 60 truffles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr, plus 5 hrs chilling time

Ingredients (4)

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped – or high quality bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (about 2 ounces)


  1. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
  2. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and use the back of a paring knife to scrape the vanilla seeds into the cream. Discard the pod or reserve it for another use. Let the cream and vanilla steep for 10 minutes.
  3. Return the cream to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Pour the hot cream over the reserved chocolate and let it sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. Whisk the chocolate and cream together until very smooth. !{display:block;margin-top:.5em;} Pour the chocolate mixture into an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Cover and refrigerate until hardened, at least 5 hours.
  4. Using a small melon baller or a small teaspoon, scoop a 1-inch-sized ball of the chocolate mixture into your hand and roll it between your palms until it’s somewhat smooth and round. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chocolate mixture.
  5. Place the cocoa powder in a shallow bowl or pan. Roll the truffles in the cocoa powder until evenly coated. Store the truffles at a cool room temperature (55°F to 65°F) for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container, but do not refrigerate or freeze them—this damages the texture of the creamy chocolate.