It’s hardly news that eating chocolate fires the same endorphins that kick in when we fall in love. Science has noted that a sneaky little alkaloid known as theobromine, found in cacao, flips the switch on our warm and fuzzies whenever we take a nibble. It’s no wonder we reach for the pint of double dark brownie chunk when our beau is a no-show – chocolate is nature’s way of saying I love you, or better yet, I love me.
Though the gift of chocolates on Valentine’s Day is a clichéd no-brainer, the extra endorphins that come with making the chocolates yourself take them into another dimension of sweet. There’s hard science to back this up – studies have tracked the feel-good effect on both giver and receiver, and the biggest endorphin spike appears in the one who hands over the gift. So why not tickle both yourself and your sweetie this Valentine’s Day and stir up a batch of these luscious truffles? The basic recipe has only three ingredients, and with the combination of chocolate, Kerrygold butter and cream, well, it’s almost as good as falling in love.
Easy Chocolate Truffles
- 8 ounces semi-sweet (60% cocoa) or bittersweet (70% cocoa, or higher %, if you like)
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
- Optional: 2 tablespoons alcohol of choice – Cognac, Bourbon, Grand Marnier, Frangelico, Kahlua, rum (coconut rum is delicious, as is spiced rum)
- Optional: 2 teaspoons grated orange zest (goes very well with Grand Marnier) – use a microplane to grate zest, for best results
Topping choices; roll finished truffles in any of the following:
- Crushed toasted coconut “chips” (Try Danielle’s or Trader Joe’s brand), or unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted
- Shaved chocolate, (white chocolate is also nice)
- Chopped, roasted pistachios (salted)
- Crushed toffee
- Roasted, chopped hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, or other nuts
- Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Sprinkle on a tiny bit of coarse sea salt
Dip one side in a bit of the following (optional):
- Turbinado sugar, with or without cinnamon
- Chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans
- Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside.
- Heat cream and butter until the cream comes to a gentle simmer and the butter is just melted.
- Pour cream over chocolate
- Stir the mixture with whisk until the chocolate is melted and mixture is quite smooth
- If using alcohol or orange zest, stir in now.
- Cover mixture with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for a minimum of four hours (you can leave it in overnight, and up to several days, if you’re not ready to form the truffles).
To Form Truffles:
- Remove truffle mixture from refrigerator, remove plastic wrap
- Place coating(s) on small plate(s)
- Using your hands or a small scoop, melon baller or small spoon, form the chocolate into small bite-sized balls (or, in the traditional French style, make them a bit misshapen so they look like real truffles, the precious fungi)
- Once you form a truffle, roll it immediately in the coating of your choice
- Set finished truffles on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic
- Return truffles to the refrigerator until firm
Suggestion: Before eating, let truffles come to near room temperature
Note: Truffles may be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container, or frozen for up to a month. But really, who can show that much restraint?