By Jessica Wilson
I’ve always thought of chocolate truffles as being a fancy-pants kind of chocolate. That is, until I decided to throw a truffle party just because, and it was a super smash hit! Considering how much research and planning that went into it, it’s a good thing. Phew! Since then I have been itching to throw another, but this time with a little less fuss. Stick with me here and I’ll walk you through how to throw a nifty wee truffle party with easy-to-find ingredients for your sweetie sweets along with a handful of easy-peasy tweaks and how-tos to create your own take-home containers.
Green Tea Chocolate Truffles
1 cup dark or milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tea bag of a favorite green tea
10 oz preferred chocolate chips, optional
Cocoa powder, optional
Sea salt, optional
Note: To make Green Tea White Chocolate Truffles instead, substitute 1 cup white chocolate chips and 4 tbsp melted butter for the dark/milk chocolate chips. (I used Nestle Morsels, which actually are not white chocolate at all.)
Melon baller or small cookie scoop
Wax or parchment paper
Directions for Making Truffles
Step 1: Pour 1 cup of chips into your glass bowl and place atop a heat-happy work surface. Set aside.
Note: This is for your ganache. The quality of the chocolate you use determines how much flavor your ganache will have. Ganache is just a fancy way of saying soft chocolate (my words). I used dark chocolate chips for my ganache and milk chocolate to coat. The higher the chocolate liqueur content, the better flavor your ganache will have. You can use your chips as they are, or if your chips are slightly larger than your basic chip (like mine), give them a bit of a chop with a large knife. This will help everything melt smoothly.
Step 2: Pour 1/2 cup of heavy cream into small saucepan and mix in the contents of your tea bag (include the 4 tbsp melted butter if you’re making the white chocolate ganache). Bring to simmer, remove from heat. I used the basics from this recipe to create my truffles. It’s an excellent website for candy making so hop on over when you get a chance. The comments especially are entertaining.
Step 3: Carefully add the hot cream to your bowl of chocolate and gently stir, stir, stir. It will start out a bit clumpy but don’t worry, it should all blend together smoothly and get all pretty and chocolatey. If for some reason your chocolate doesn’t seem to be melting, pop the bowl over a small saucepan of water (The white chocolate morsels did not melt as nicely as the chocolate chips and had to be melted via the bowl over the saucepan trick). Turn your burner to low and gently heat up your chocolate until it is smooth. Once your chocolate is all melty pretty, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and allow to sit for a half hour or so. Once it cools a bit, pop it into the fridge and congratulate yourself. You just made your first ganache!
Step 4: Once your ganache is a bit more solid and you are ready to roll, remove from your icebox and allow to warm up a smidge, for easier scooping. Prepare your cookie sheet with a sheet of wax paper and arm yourself with your melon baller or cookie scoop. The size of your scoop determines the size of your truffle. This gets messy, so make sure you are ready to roll.
Scoop out a bit with your scooper and plop it on top of the wax paper. Continue until you have nothing left to scoop. If you are like me then scoop away, lick the bowl, and be done. But if you prefer your truffles to be more uniform, take your time and roll each scoop into a ball after you scoop. Having a dish of water on hand may help keep your scooper sticky free. When you finish, pop the sheet into the fridge to set. If you are going to make your truffles right away, chill for fifteen minutes then allow to warm up a bit to prevent your hard coat from cracking. If you want to wait, chill your truffles until set, then freeze in a sealed container up to two weeks.
Step 5: To create your hard coat, you will want to temper your 10 oz of chocolate chips. This is done by creating a double boiler like you might have done in Step 3. Simply add the chocolate to the bowl and allow the heat from the steam underneath to melt it. When you do this, please make sure your hands are clean and dry – any water in the chocolate will mess with the chemistry, causing it to seize up and become undippable.
Step 6: It’s time to decorate! To decorate your truffles you have many options. First off, place your warm bowl of melty chocolate on a heat-friendly work surface such as a hotpad or potholder. Arrange your undecorated truffles on top of a wax lined cookie sheet for easy access. Fill small dishes with sprinkles, cocoa, and such, and have a handful of spoons along for the ride. Pick up a ball of ganache and gently place it into your warm, tempered chocolate. Work quickly to coat and return it to its place on the cookie sheet.
While the chocolate is still tacky, add a grind or two of sea salt, black pepper, or other happy spice. This is also a good time to add sprinkles or jimmies. When you are finished, return to the icebox for setting and get ready to taste your fancy-pants homemade chocolates!
If you are not a fan of the hard coat, gently drop your rolled ganache into a small bowl of cocoa powder and roll to cover. You can also roll in powder sugar, matcha tea, or other happy, powdery flavors. And that, my friends, is it! You are officially a candy maker!
Now it is time to throw a truffle party! The set-up is super easy. Send out some invitations asking your friends and family to bring along fun bits for rolling. Some good rolling bits are sprinkles, ground espresso, cocoa powder, or chopped almonds. Hit your favorite market for a couple of pounds of chocolate and cream, and get ready for some messy fun.
When throwing a truffle party, all you need to do is make the ganache and supply the papery bits for containers. You can make it as simple or complex as you like. A simple ganache like my green tea concoction up there is super easy and packs a punch. The green tea adds a bit of fragrance and a tea taste after all the chocolate fades away. If you want to make a fancier ganache, add a bit of flavor to your simmered cream via extracts or liqueurs. You won’t even have to pre-roll the truffles: Having your guests get their hands dirty is all a part of the fun. Simply create two different ganaches and keep them in the fridge until it is time to roll.
Other than the truffle centers, all you will need to do is gather up a collection of fun papers, pens, and stickers, and set up a station for your guests to create their own take-out containers. Follow along here and I’ll point you in the right direction.
Materials for Containers
Paper in various colors, the heavier the weight the better
Small hole punch
Ribbon, twine or yarn
Small truffle boxes, optional
Mini cupcake liners
Directions for Containers
Step 1: To create a tiny take-out style container, download a template online and print onto your cardstock or plain paper. Plain paper will work in a pinch, but cardstock is bit sturdier. To make a tissue-covered container, trim excess edges off your paper and flip over. Cover the blank side of your paper with glue stick and smooth your tissue on top.
Step 2: Use your scissors to cut out the outline of the container, which should still be visible on the back. Place your tissue-covered template on top of a softish surface and trace over the fold lines with a blunt object such as a capped pen. This scoring will make it easier for you to shape your box.
Step 3: Follow the scores and fold into its happy shape. Use a dab of glue stick to hold ends into place. Affix a handle to your container using the hole punch, brads, and ribbon. Decorate with stickers and markers if you wish. Make sure to add a square of wax paper to the inside to keep it from getting covered with chocolate. Ta-da!
Step 4: To make a flatter truffle box, create a template from a store-bought box by disassembling one and tracing its outline onto a happier sheet of paper. The wood-grain paper I used came from the Mom’s Diner set at Michael’s. Never underestimate the niftiness that can be found in the scrapbooking aisle. Use scissors to cut out the box shape.
Step 5: To assemble your box traced from a template, place original box underneath your cut shape and refold original box to create happy folds in your new box. Add a small piece of wax paper to the bottom to keep the truffles from sticking.
Step 6: Have your guests get truffle crazy by rolling to their hearts’ content. Place each rolled truffle into a mini cupcake liner or larger, depending on the size of the truffle. Place each cupped truffle back onto a cookie sheet lined with paper and write the truffle creator’s name alongside their assortment. Pop each sheet into the fridge to set while your guests get crafty making their own boxes.
Step 7: Your guests can decorate their containers with stickers, punched paper, markers and/or all sorts of other crafty goodness. If you think you do not want to go to the trouble of printing out a multitude of templates, hit up a restaurant supply store for a pack of take-out containers that can be decorated with markers, and other fun bits. You can also order a pack online from here. Have fun, and don’t forget to have loads and loads of towels and/or handiwipes on hand. Truffles may be super easy but there is a lot of stick to allow for!
About the Author:
Jessica Wilson is most happily known as ‘jek in the box’ and spends most of her time crafting it up and taking pictures. She can often be found standing on benches over on Flickr and creating all sorts of kiddie crafts on her blog scrumdilly-do! She lives a life of scrumdillydilly and loves to share.