August 05, 2011

Simple Chocolate Truffles (Cook's Illustrated Recipe Test)

We previously wrote about another recipe we tested out for Cook's Illustrated, Spaghetti al Vino Blanco.  That one turned out pretty well, so I was pleased when a couple weeks back we received two more recipes to test out.   We haven't gotten around to trying one of them out, but last weekend I made the other one:  Simple Chocolate Truffles

The goal for this recipe was "a truffle that was easy to make and had a deep, pure chocolate flavor."  The technique seemed straight-forward enough:  Melt some high-quality baking chocolate (I used Ghiardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bars), stir in some corn syrup, vanilla extract and cream until glossy and pudding-like, then stir in some butter, pour it into a pan lined with parchment paper, then refrigerate for awhile.  Afterward, you cut the chocolate into 1-inch pieces, roll them into balls, then roll the balls in a mix of Dutch process cocoa and confectioner's sugar to coat.  Shake off excess coating and refrigerate them in an airtight container to serve later.  The recipe directions were clear, but it was a bit of a pain trying to line a small baking dish with enough parchment paper to overlap the sides of the dish, and then to keep that flat while pouring the chocolate mixture into the dish atop the parchment paper.

The results were mixed.  I thought the truffles were good, but not what I'd call great.  We both loved the rich, chocolate flavor of the ganache filling, but Juli at first found the cocoa coating a bit too bitter, though she eventually grew to like it.   Still, while I can't say the directions or techniques were difficult, I found the process more work than warranted by the results.   Plus, honestly, the finished truffles don't really look very attractive.  

The finished Truffles
They'd probably look better with a different kind of coating, which may or may not impact my overall impression, but I think I'd still consider these truffles a bit more trouble than they're worth.  I'm planning to post about this on the Cook's Illustrated Facebook page, and I'll be interested in hearing what some of the other recipe testers had to say.


  1. Anonymous3:38 PM CDT

    I tried them too, and thought they were fine, I coated them with nuts and some graham cracker crumbs I had around. My major complaint was when it came to forming them into balls, after you cut the sheet into squares, forming them into balls was next to impossible. I think I would make these again, but after cooling the mixture for the hour on the counter, I would them pipe them into balls to chill the remainder of the time, so they would be easy to coat in nuts.

  2. I think your additions probably improved the taste and appearance considerably. Good ideas!


  3. My husband and I loved them, as well as their Hazelnut-Mocha Truffles (substitute 2 Tablespoons Frangelico and 1 Tablespoon espresso powder for the vanilla), and instead of the sugar/cocoa topping, you roll them in 1 1/2 cups finely chopped toasted hazelnuts. We thought these were SO good as well! I did get lazy and left them in the square shapes before I dusted or coated them with nuts - hey I was on my way to work in the morning :)

  4. We'll have to try again with the toasted hazelnut topping- sounds divine!