Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles
Makes a small batch, a dozen or so depending on size
1/2 cup chocolate or carob chips
2 1/2 Tablespoons hazelnut butter
2 to 4 Tbsp vanilla soymilk (see note)
optional: 1/4-1/2 tsp vanilla, a dash of cinnamon, other spices/extracts, 1/4-1/2 tsp instant coffee, additional sweetener)
Coatings: Dry coatings may include include cocoa or carob powder, powdered sugar, shredded coconut, finely chopped nuts, sprinkles or colored sugar, or some combination thereof. Another option: more melted chocolate for dipping, either the same kind or a contrasting color.
Melt the chocolate/carob chips according to your preferred method (microwave, double boiler, etc.). Heat the hazelnut butter as well to make it softer and more cooperative. Mix together the melted chocolate, warm hazelnut butter, and soymilk until smooth.
Taste it at this point and decide if you would like to add anything, such as a little sweetener if it is too strong for you. I added a little cinnamon and vanilla.
Chill your chocolate mixture (which at this point is called ganache) until it is firm enough to scoop and roll.
|The ganache with toppings|
Prepare your dry coatings by placing them in small shallow dishes that will work well for rolling.When it is firm, scoop up a few teaspoons worth of ganache with a spoon. Use a second spoon to scrape it off in one solid blob into one of your dishes of dry coating. Roll the blob in the coating until well covered. Gently adjust shape (should be mostly round) if necessary. Place finished truffles on wax paper or in little muffin cups. Store in fridge.
|Rolling the truffles|
If you would like to dip the truffles in melted chocolate instead of rolling, form the ganache into balls and then chill again. Make sure your truffles have chilled plenty hard so that the chocolate doesn't melt them--you may even want to freeze them. Melt your dipping chocolate (use more than you think you'll need or dipping will be difficult). Holding a truffle on a spoon, gently lower it into the melted chocolate. Use another spoon to help scoop more chocolate onto the top and sides. Pull the truffle out and shake or scrape off excess chocolate. Move somewhat quickly to prevent the center melting. Place dipped truffles on wax paper to harden.
You could also combine the two methods, by dipping the truffles in melted chocolate and then also rolling them in the dry coating while they're still wet. It's pretty messy though.
Incidentally, if you wait a long time between rolling the truffles and serving them, the more powdery coatings may dissolve and become invisible. You might want to allow some time to re-roll them. Don't worry, it'll go faster than the first time and be a little less sticky.
Note: The amount of soymilk depends on how soft you want the truffles. I used the higher amount this time, and they were very melt-in-the-mouth (and just a little bit melt-in the-hand, too ; ). However the lower amount will yield a firmer truffle that does holds its shape well and would probably travel better.
Other nuts: Any other nut butter may be substituted for the hazelnut. Strong flavored nuts would be high impact; mild ones such as cashews would impart mainly creaminess and let other ingredients shine.
German Chocolate Truffles: Inspired by the cake. Mix a generous amount of shredded coconut and chopped pecans or walnuts into ganache before chilling for the first time.
Various things, such as nuts, crumbs, cereal or dried fruit may be mixed into the ganache for flavor and texture.
You can also add very finely chopped nuts or crisped rice cereal to the melted chocolate outer coating for a nice crunch. This is especially nice if you leave the inner filling smooth for contrast.
|Truffles with their different coatings|