Some say February 14 is all about Valentine’s Day, but we at Agate know the truth: it’s also Cream-Filled Chocolates Day! Celebrate with a chocolate truffle recipe from Sarah Levy’s cookbook Sweetness. Whether you’re looking for a sweet romantic gift or a delicious treat to enjoy by yourself, these vanilla bean chocolate truffles are perfect. It may be a challenge, but it’s worth it!
Vanilla Bean Chocolate Truffles
Do not overmix the ganache, or it will “break” and will not be smooth and creamy.
The photograph shows the truffles I sell in my shop, which are tempered. Because you are coating the chocolate-dipped truffles with cocoa powder, you don’t have to go through the tempering process, but you should still melt the chocolate gradually so it remains as close to 98°F as possible. If the chocolate is too hot, it will be too thin and won’t form a thick enough layer on the truffles. If it’s too cold, it will be too thick and hard to work with.
1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons
Bittersweet chocolate (64%)
Milk chocolate (38%)
Heavy whipping cream
Light corn syrup
Unsalted butter, warmed to room temperature
Chocolate (I like 64%), melted
Using a paring knife, extract the seeds from the vanilla bean by splitting the seed pod in half; then, rake the back side of the knife down the inside of the pod to scrape out the seeds.
In a mixing bowl, melt the dark and milk chocolate for the ganache halfway by heating it in the microwave for about 2 minutes at 50% power. By halfway, I mean that half of the chocolate should be melted, and the other half will still be solid. I like using chocolate pistoles or coins, but you can also just chop solid chocolate into small pieces before melting it. You may also use the double boiler method if you prefer.
In a saucepan, combine the cream, vanilla bean seeds, and corn syrup, and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the mixture from the heat.
Pour the hot cream mixture over the partially melted chocolate. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 5 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, stir the cream–chocolate mixture in concentric circles, starting in the center of the bowl, only widening your stirring circle when the small area you are working through is thoroughly incorporated (it will look shiny and smooth). Always stir in the same direction to avoid “breaking” the ganache. Continue until the mixture is combined, creating a ganache.
Once the mixture cools to 100.4°F, mix in the room-temperature butter, stirring until thoroughly mixed.
Cool the mixture in the refrigerator overnight.
After the ganache has thoroughly cooled, use a 1-inch ice cream scoop (one with a spring release) to scoop out the ganache. After you create each scoop, roll it into a perfect ball in the palm of your hand. Place each ball at least 1 inch apart on one of your lined baking sheets.
Chop the coating chocolate into small chunks. Gradually warm the chocolate in the microwave at 50% power until it is completely melted (about 2 minutes). The chocolate is ready when it has reached 86°F.
Pour the cocoa powder into a small bowl.
Set up your mise en place (that’s chef-speak for getting everything in place) by setting your ganache ball tray on your left, the bowl of melted chocolate and the bowl containing the cocoa powder in the center, and the other baking sheet lined with parchment paper on your right.
Using your left hand, drop each ganache ball first into the bowl of melted chocolate. Then, shake off excess chocolate and drop into the bowl of cocoa powder. Use your clean right hand to cover the truffle with cocoa powder and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Repeat with each ganache ball, transferring the truffles onto the prepared baking sheet.
Before serving the truffles, allow them to gradually warm to room temperature (should take about 30 minutes). Ideally, truffles should be stored in a room that is approximately 65°F, but you can also store them at room temperature for 3 to 4 days or in the refrigerator for 1 week.
This recipe is a variation of the Rum Truffle recipe from my alma mater, the French Pastry School.