Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

-choc·o·hol·ic -

- a person who is addicted to or excessively fond of chocolate -

That’s me…most of the time (ok all of the time) and really the only other thing that needs to be said is that it’s dark chocolate or that it is Italian. In a pinch I will eat milk chocolate or even white chocolate if it’s with peppermint or that one Lindt white chocolate bar with coconut… so heavenly! I don’t need an excuse to eat chocolate everyday (and I do) but sometimes I want an excuse to create something a little more indulgent or special with it and since it is nearly Valentines Day it seems the perfect time to do just that! And what better way to make something special for someone special than with the delicious, and oh so Italian, flavor combination of chocolate and hazelnuts. Italy has some pretty famous sweet treats made with this duo like Baci chocolates, Gianduia gelato…and of course Nutella.

The filling for these truffles (or any true truffle) starts with a chocolate ganache. Basic ganache is just a combination of chocolate and heavy cream….and it is undoubtedly a beautiful and delicious thing….to eat and to know how to make! It is something I prepare and have around all the time for my wedding cakes and so I’ve become a little spoiled with the fact that it is always on hand. Anytime I want I can add it to my coffee or drizzle it on ice cream….or just take a bite of it in my most favorite way, fresh and at room temperature. Seems like quite a dangerous thing for a chocolate lover such as me to have around but I am willing to take my chances :) The recipe for these truffles adds in some additional ingredients but I have included a simple ganache recipe below as well. Enjoy!

The chocolate Truffles

  • 8 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate.

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream.

  • 1/3 cup Nutella.

  • 1 cup ground hazelnuts.

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder.

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter.

  • Optional - 1 to 2 tablespoons Frangelico Liqueur.

  1. Break chocolate into chunks and place in a heatproof bowl, add the heavy cream.

  2. Heat the mixture in the microwave in 15 second increments, stirring after each time, until smooth.

  3. Add in the Nutella, butter and liqueur (if desired) and mix until smooth. Mixture can be reheated for 10 seconds if needed to smooth.

  4. Add in 1/2 cup of the ground hazelnuts to the ganache and mix until combined. Refrigerate until firm, approx 1-2 hours.

  5. When ganache is ready scoop out approx 1 tablespoon and roll into 1-1/4 inch balls - work as quickly as possible, placing the the balls on a parchment lined sheet pan. When all the ganache has been rolled into balls return them to the fridge for 30 min.

  6. Take the truffles out of the fridge and roll half of them in the cocoa powder. Roll the other half in the ground hazelnuts, pressing lightly if needed. If the hazelnuts are not sticking well, let the truffles sit out for 10 min and then roll again.

  7. Serve and enjoy…and remember that these truffle go so good with wine!

Truffles can be served right away but are even better when made ahead and served the next day. Store in a covered container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Makes 24 chocolate truffles.

Chocolate Ganache

Ganache is so elegant and decadent that you wouldn’t think it would be easy to make…but it is! For a ganache to use in cakes and a filling or to warm as a chocolate syrup for coffee, hot chocolate, ice cream or just to eat, I like to keep the ratio of chocolate to heavy cream the the same. For 1 lb of chocolate I would use 2 cups of heavy cream. 8 oz of chocolate would use 1 cup of heavy cream and so on. When I’m doing a larger batch I will heat it in a bowl over water on low heat...stirring often. If I’m doing a small amount like in the recipe above then the microwave works just fine.

Buon Appetito!