Chop chocolate*. Set aside. Heat heavy whipping cream in a double boiler or heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until steaming (do not boil). Add chocolate; stir to coat, then remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.Advertisement
Stir mixture until combined, scraping sides. (Sometimes the mixture will break and the fat starts to separate, Pete warns. But not to fear: If it looks lumpy or oily, an immersion blender quickly and easily makes it really smooth again. A whisk works, too.) If necessary, briefly return to low heat to melt fully. Add a mix-in**, if desired. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread mixture evenly on paper.
Let mixture stand for 2 hours to set, then chill at least 2 more hours in the fridge. Using a 1-inch scoop or 2 teaspoons, divide mixture into 1-inch pieces. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If necessary, chill 10 to 15 minutes, until just firm. (The mixture shouldn’t be rock-hard, but you’ll be rolling it with your hands, so you want it firm enough to avoid melting.)
Roll each piece between your palms until round, smooth and a bit tacky, but not gooey. Toss each ball immediately in coating of your choice. (Truffles coated with freeze-dried raspberries taste and look best the first day. Other coatings will hold fine for a few days.) Store truffles at a cool, dry room temp.
*How Much Chocolate Should I Use?
You can use bittersweet, milk or white chocolate--but the amount varies because each melts to a different consistency. For every 1/2 cup cream, use 150 grams bittersweet chocolate (yield: about 16 truffles), 300 grams milk chocolate (yield: 26) or 410 grams white chocolate (yield: 32). For shopping reference: Good-quality bars such as Lindt or Ghirardelli weigh about 100 grams, but an inexpensive digital scale makes precise measuring a breeze. (Pete says to avoid anything with artificial flavors or fillers like vegetable oil. Stick with Lindt or Ghirardelli and you'll be fine.)
A pure chocolate truffle is pretty perfect, but you can personalize them by mixing in an extra ingredient for texture or flavor. Some ideas: finely chopped toasted nuts; minced dried fruit or crystallized ginger; a liqueur, such as kahlua (1 tablespoon); a baking extract, such as peppermint (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon); a spice, such as cayenne, cinnamon, minced fresh rosemary or sea salt.