How to Make a Truffle from Scratch
It was hard, trying to figure out what to do for Sugar High Friday #25: Truffles. After all, we all know how to make truffles – either you throw together a ganache and roll it in something, then keep it in the fridge, or you take out your chocolate molds and create chocolate shells into which you place whatever filling you please. There is a lot of room for creativity with truffles, and for tastiness, but it all basically comes down to a filling and a coating.
I’ve made a lot of truffles over the years. I wanted to do something more interesting for Sugar High Friday.
So, I made a single truffle. Entirely from scratch.
When I met John Scharffenberger a few weeks ago, I told him about my interest in making chocolate, and also my lack of interest in buying all the complicated machinery.
He told me that I could make chocolate in an Indian spice grinder at home. Easy schmeasy, no?
So, I took some Venezuelan Ocumare cocoa nibs, sorted through them, and removed all (well, most) remaining bits of husk. I scattered them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, and roasted them at 220º for 18 minutes.
I put some of them into my spice grinder, which is really just a standard, cheap coffee grinder. I ground them into powder, and then added a dash of confectioner’s sugar.
I kept grinding them, stopping often to scrape down the sides of the grinder. Once, I took my proto-chocolate out and microwaved it for a few seconds in a small bowl to heat it up, then returned it to the grinder and kept going.
This is how to make chocolate at home. Easy schmeasy, and damned tasty.
To turn my tiny quantity of homemade chocolate into a truffle, I heated it up with a small splash of heavy cream and a tiny amount of butter, stirring it into the emulsion we call a ganache. I put the ganache in the fridge to chill, then rolled it into a sphere once it was solid enough to hold its shape.
I crushed a few more of the roasted cocoa nibs by placing them inside a sheet of parchment paper folded in half, and going over them with a rolling pin.
I rolled my sphere of ganache in the crushed cocoa nibs to coat it.
And that was that. One ocumare truffle, made from scratch.