... Perfect Chocolate Truffles

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These truffles are meant to look like the real thing--small, irregular mounds instead of perfectly spherical balls. If you decide to omit the liquor flavoring, reduce the chocolate from 9 to 8 ounces. Cooks who favor the microwave can melt the chocolate at 50 percent power for about 3 minutes. The ganache mixture is quite forgiving. If it cools too much in step 1, place the bowl in a larger pan of warm water and stir the mixture until it has softened and warmed up. If this overwarms the mixture, cool it again as directed. The same flexibility applies if you overwhip the ganache by mistake. Simply warm it over the hot water bath, cool it, and whip it again. One person alone can dip and coat the truffles, but the process is easier when there's a second person to roll the coated truffles in cocoa and lift them onto a clean pan.



9 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarse

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

2 tablespoons of one of the following: Cognac, dark rum, Grand Marnier,
Framboise, Kirsch, Frangelico, Amaretto, Kahlua, or port

Chocolate and Cocoa Coating

8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

2 cups sifted Dutch-process cocoa powder




1. For the ganache: Melt the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost simmering water, stirring once or twice, until smooth. Set the bowl aside. Bring the cream, butter, and corn syrup to a strong simmer (about 160 degrees) in a nonreactive pan over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat, cool for 5 minutes, then whisk into the chocolate. Whisk in the liquor. Refrigerate mixture until it cools to 80 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or using a handheld electric mixer, whip the mixture at medium speed until slightly lightened and thickened to a texture like that of store-bought canned chocolate frosting, 25 to 30 seconds. Spoon the ganache into a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tube. Hold the bag perpendicular to the pan and, with the tip about 3/4 inch above work surface, and pipe 3/4 -inch mounds (pulling the tube away to the side to avoid leaving points) onto a baking sheet covered with parchment or waxed paper sheet. Alternatively, scoop mounds with a tiny (1 tablespoon or less) ice cream scoop or melon baller. Refrigerate the mounds until hardened, at least an hour.
3. For coating: Following the directions in step 1, melt the coating chocolate, then cool to 90 degrees, making certain that no water comes into contact with the chocolate. Arrange the chilled truffle mounds, the bowl of melted chocolate, and cocoa-filled, high-sided roasting pan on the work surface. Working one mound at a time, dip the palm of one hand about 1/4-inch deep into the melted chocolate, pass one truffle mound with other hand to the chocolate-covered hand, and close that hand around the mound to coat, redipping hand into chocolate every third or fourth mound. Drop coated truffle into cocoa; roll to coat using fork held in now empty clean hand, leaving truffles in cocoa until chocolate coating has set, about 1 minute. Repeat process until all mounds are in pan of cocoa. Gently roll 5 to 6 truffles at a time in a medium strainer to remove excess cocoa, then transfer to them serving plate or tightly covered container. (Can be refrigerated for up to one week.)
Serve With:

Pedroncelli Winery ~ A Sonoma County Tradition Since 1927