Recipe courtesy of Luscious Chocolate Desserts
by Lori Longbotham
Published by Chronicle Books
Luscious Hazelnut Truffles
It used to be much more difficult to find hazelnuts but now, thankfully, now they are packaged by Diamond and available in every supermarket. The longer they are toasted, the sweeter they will be, and the better foil for bittersweet chocolate. There’s nothing difficult about these truffles. They are supposed to be irregularly shaped, their roughness is part of their charm. And when you chop the hazelnuts, they will be different sizes, but that’s part of the charm of the truffles as well. If you’d like, coat only half of the truffles with the cocoa—the two types look beautiful together.
Makes 5 dozen truffles
- 1 1/4 cups heavy (whipping) cream
- Pinch of salt
- 12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup hazelnut pieces
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Note: This is a very flexible recipe. Use any nut you’d like instead of hazelnuts, or coat the truffles with something else entirely—large clear sugar crystals, finely crushed graham crackers, or crushed hard peppermint candies would all be terrific. Or just use the cocoa, without nuts. Add a tablespoon or so of your favorite liqueur to the chocolate ganache, or use Cognac or other brandy or rum. If it pleases you, add instant espresso powder or replace some of the cream with mascarpone. You could also add minced dried tart cherries, a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg, finely chopped fresh lemon or orange zest, or minced crystallized ginger. You can even steep Earl Gray tea, spices such as saffron or cardamom, or herbs (try rosemary or lemon verbena) in the cream to flavor it; strain and reheat gently before adding the chocolate.
- Bring the cream and salt just to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, for 2 to 3 hours, until firm.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes, or until dark golden brown. Let cool completely, then finely chop and place in a shallow bowl.
- Place the cocoa in a shallow bowl. Working quickly, roll a rounded measuring teaspoon of the chocolate mixture into a 1-inch ball in your hands, then roll in the hazelnuts, pressing them lightly into the truffle, lightly coat with the cocoa, and set on a tray. Repeat with the remaining truffle mixture, hazelnuts, and cocoa. Store between layers of wax paper in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve, or for up to 1 week. Let the truffles stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.