Truffles are traditionally made with ganache, a chocolate and cream mixture. In this case, it’s a chocolate and chèvre mixture, a bit of goaty indulgence, sweetened with maple syrup, then rolled into balls and coated in tempered chocolate, all before being sprinkled with a few grains of coarse salt.
Watch Mark Scarbrough make a modified version of these truffles in this CHOW Tip video.
- Yield: You’ll make about eighteen truffles, who knows how many will make it out of the kitchen?
- 1 pound plus 6 ounces (625 g) bittersweet chocolate (between 70% and 85% cocoa solids), chopped
- 6 ounces (170 g) fresh chèvre or soft goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt, such as coarse sea salt or kosher salt
- To make the goat cheese ganache, first melt 6 ounces (170 g) chopped chocolate. You can do this in several ways: • Bring about an inch (2.5 cm) of water to a boil in the bottom of a double boiler, then set the top half of the double boiler in place, add the chocolate, drop the heat to low so the water simmers slowly, and stir until about two-thirds of the chocolate has melted. Remove the top half of the double boiler from over the simmering water and stir off the heat until all the chocolate has melted. • If you don’t have a double boiler, do this same operation, but use a medium saucepan and a heat-safe bowl that fits securely in the pan without its bottom touching the simmering water. In this case, make sure no steam can escape from between the pan and the bowl. Any steam that condenses into the chocolate can cause it to seize—that is, turn into little, hard threads with the chocolate liqueur having fallen out of suspension. If this happens, you can remove the bowl from the heat and stir in a tablespoon or two of heavy cream to try to get the whole thing to re-emulsify. It may not and then you have to start the whole thing over. Good luck. • Or you can melt the chocolate in the microwave. Put it in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high in 6-second increments, stirring after each. Once about half the chocolate has melted, remove the bowl and continue stirring until it has all melted. In any case cool the melted chocolate for 5 minutes at room temperature.
- Crumble the fresh chèvre or soft goat cheese into the lukewarm chocolate, pour in the maple syrup, and stir until smooth. Set the bowl in the refrigerator and chill until the mixture is firm enough to form into balls, about 5 minutes.
- Now the second batch of melting chocolate, the remaining pound—except at this time, the whole operation has to be more precise because the chocolate has to be tempered to get the lovely shine of hardened chocolate on the truffles. Melt that remaining pound in any way you choose above, but choose a chocolate thermometer to make sure the melting chocolate never gets above 130°F (54°C), no matter what. (If you’re using a microwave, you’ll have to put the thermometer in and out of the chocolate as the bowl keeps coming out of the oven.) If the temperature goes above that mark, the chocolate will lose its sheen. So you may have to melt it partially; let it cool a bit, stirring all the while; then continue melting more in whichever fashion you choose. Tedious, to be sure. Once about half of the chocolate has melted, continue stirring away from the heat until it’s all melted. Put the chocolate thermometer back in the mixture and wait until its temperature falls to about 105°F (41°C). When you drizzle a little chocolate off the tines of a fork and back into the mixture, those drizzled bits should hold their shape on top for a moment or two before melting into the batch.
- Line a large baking sheet with wax paper. Roll the chilled goat cheese ganache into 1-inch balls. You’ll probably get about 18 from the batch. Stick a toothpick or thin, pointy bamboo skewer into one ball; then dip it into the chocolate, rolling it gently from side to side to coat. Lift it up to let some of the excess chocolate dribble back into the bowl or pan. Transfer the truffle to the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle a grain or two of coarse salt over it while the chocolate is still melty. Then continue to make more the same way. You’ll know that you’re coating them too heavily if the chocolate puddles around their bottoms. It’s a little bit of trial and error at first, but soon enough you’ll be a whiz. If you really want to go over the top, you can skip the jury-rigged toothpicks or skewers and buy chocolate dipping rings and forks that allow you to hold the truffles up out of the tempered chocolate to let some of it run off before you transfer them to the prepared baking sheet.
- Set the baking sheet with dipped truffles in the refrigerator and chill until firm, about 30 minutes. After that, you can put them in a smaller container between sheets of wax paper and store them in the fridge for up to 1 week. However, let them come back to room temperature, setting them out on the counter for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.