Chocolate Ganache Truffles Recipe

Cocoa-dusted spheres of chocolate, cream, and liquor. You really can't go wrong.

A pile of cocoa-dusted chocolate ganache truffles.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • A simple emulsion of quality chocolate and cream creates a silky texture that is full of luxurious chocolate flavor.
  • Customize the truffles by mixing in a variety of liqueurs, nuts, and spices to create endless flavor combinations.

Remember in Madonna's Material Girl video, she falls for the guy with the old pick-up truck who gives her a bunch of just-plucked daisies? It was the humble, salt-of-the-earth gesture that got her to eschew the jewels, right? That, or maybe she knew he was a big-time studio exec the whole time.

Chocolate ganache truffles get it right on both counts, making them the perfect DIY gift. In their simplest version, they are not at all hard to make. All you need to do is make the ganache from chocolate and cream, which is whisked into an emulsion. Once it sets, the ganache is balled up and rolled in cocoa powder to resemble the fungus they're named after. They have a big, luxurious chocolate flavor.

If you want, you can get a little fancy while still saying, "I made them myself—just for you." Mix in liqueurs, nuts, or spices. Form them into spheres. If you feel confident in your chocolate-working skills, gussy them up by dipping them in melted tempered chocolate and garnishing the outside.

Once you've made your truffles, wrap them up in a gift bag or serve them on a platter, placing each one in a mini-muffin liner. Or, wipe your hands on the back of your overalls and offer them straight up. Whoever gets them will feel very special.

Start With Quality Chocolate

Select a chocolate that you enjoy eating out of hand. To make truffles, you need a firm ganache. The classic formula is to use two parts chocolate to one part cream. Eight ounces of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 cup of cream will make about two dozen truffles. Chop the chocolate into fairly even, small pieces—a heavy serrated knife works well.

Chocolate with a cacao content of about 60% works best with this formula, though you should try out other kinds of chocolate and tweak the proportions slightly. For chocolate with 70% cacao, I’ve had to increase the cream by about a tablespoon or two. I decreased the cream when using milk or white chocolate.

Making the Ganache

Butter and liqueur are optional. Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to boil. Remove from heat.

Add the chopped chocolate to the cream. For an extra smooth truffle, add butter, about a tablespoon for every eight ounces of chocolate. The same amount of liqueur can be added at this point, as well. Make sure none of these additions is cold or it could break your ganache, turning your smooth pudding-like mixture into a greasy-looking mess.

Wait a minute or two until most of the chocolate and butter is melted.

Mixing Ganache

Whisk until smooth. Once the chocolate is mostly melted, quickly but gently transfer the mixture to a bowl so that you can form your emulsion in a cooler environment.

Whisk the mixture vigorously until it’s thick and smooth, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl and incorporating all the cream and chocolate. If you have one, an immersion blender helps make sure the emulsion is stable.

If the ganache shows signs of breaking at this point (if it looks curdled or oily), you can add a few drops of cream to help re-emulsify it.

Setting the Ganache

setting ganache at room temperature

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As soon as it looks like this, stop whisking. A well-emulsified ganache should look like chocolate pudding: thick, smooth, and glossy. Once it has cooled, gently fold in additions like chopped nuts and cover the ganache. Leave it in a cool, room temperature spot to firm up for at least four hours, ideally overnight.

You can speed things up by letting it set in the fridge, but the resulting ganache tends not to taste quite as silky.

How to Fix Broken Ganache

transferring broken ganache into a glass bowl

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This is a broken ganache. Note the grainy texture as it pours into the bowl. You might also see a greasy sheen on the surface of a broken ganache. It’s easy enough to fix. The most effective method is to little by little whisk the broken ganache into a tablespoon or so of cream that's ideally the same temperature as the ganache. This will work for even large amounts of ganache.

Forming Truffles

Once the ganache has set into a uniformly firm mass, scoop out small balls with a melon baller or spoon. Roll each one briefly in the palms of your very clean (or gloved) hands. It helps if you have cold hands or are in a cool room. Chill the truffles briefly, for about 15 minutes, while you prepare whatever you’d like to enrobe them in.

If your ganache isn’t firm enough to scoop into balls, you can chill it in the fridge to harden. Or, whip it very briefly until the color just begins to lighten—about 30 seconds on medium-low with a hand mixer. Let it set again and it will firm up. I’ve found this method especially helpful with white chocolate.

Coating the Truffles

The simplest way to finish the truffles is to roll them in a dry coating: cocoa powder, confectioners' sugar, finely chopped toasted nuts, crushed cookies, or shaved coconut, for instance.

lifting dipped truffle out of a bowl of tempered dark chocolate

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If you want to get fancy, you can dip the truffle in tempered chocolate and then either dredge it in cocoa powder or garnish it. Tempering chocolate involves carefully raising, lowering, and then slightly raising its temperature to stabilize the crystals in the chocolate and ensures a smooth, glossy sheen and a snappy bite. I love the result of tempered chocolate, but have never been much for the process (which deserves its own separate post).

Use two forks to roll the truffle around in the melted chocolate and coat it evenly. Let the excess chocolate drain through the tines of the fork and place on a smooth surface to harden at room temperature. If you want to coat the enrobed truffles in cocoa, roll them before the chocolate fully dries.

Chocolate Tempering Shortcut

bowl of finely chopped chocolate immersed in water bath

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Not a tempering expert? Here’s a simpler method that will keep your chocolate pretty stable, but make sure you use chocolate that has not previously been melted.

Very gently melt grated or very finely chopped chocolate in a bowl immersed in a warm water bath (around 90 to 95°F or 32 to 35°C), stirring it gently as it melts and adding hot water to the bath as necessary to maintain the temperature. Make sure that no water gets into the chocolate.

Rolling the chocolate shell in cocoa powder before it sets will help mask any tempering imperfections.

Finishing Touches

coated truffles garnished with candied petals

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As a final flourish, you can garnish your truffles with crystallized fruit or flowers, dehydrated citrus zest, or small bits of candy as the chocolate shell sets.

When you are finished decorating them, store them at room temperature for up to a week, in the refrigerator for two to three weeks, or in the freezer for two months. They taste best eaten at room temperature.

Recipe Facts

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 3 mins
Cool/Chill: 4 hrs 15 mins
Total: 4 hrs 43 mins
Serves: 24 servings

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Ingredients

  • 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (a cacao content of about 60% works best)

  • ½ cup cream (for chocolate with 70% cacao, increase the cream by about a tablespoon or two)

  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon rum, or other liquor (optional)

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder for coating the truffles (or use chopped nuts or melted and tempered chocolate)

Directions

  1. Chop the chocolate into fairly even, small pieces—a heavy serrated knife works well.

    chopping block dark chocolate into fine pieces

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  2. Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to boil. Remove from heat. Add the chopped chocolate to the cream. For an extra smooth truffle, add butter. Add any liquor here, too. Wait a minute or two until most of the chocolate and butter is melted.

    finely chopped chocolate in pot of hot cream

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  3. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth. Once the chocolate is mostly melted, quickly but gently transfer the mixture to a bowl so that you can form your emulsion in a cooler environment.

    whisking together chocolate and cream

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  4. Whisk the mixture vigorously until it’s thick and smooth, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl and incorporating all the cream and chocolate. If you have one, an immersion blender helps make sure the emulsion is stable.

  5. If the ganache shows signs of breaking at this point (if it looks curdled or oily), you can add a few drops of cream to help re-emulsify it. A well-emulsified ganache should look like chocolate pudding: thick, smooth, and glossy. Leave it in a cool spot to firm up for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.

  6. Once the ganache has set into a uniformly firm mass, scoop out small balls with a melon baller or spoon. Roll each one briefly in the palms of your very clean (or gloved) hands. It helps if you have cold hands or are in a cool room.

    scooping set ganache with melon baller

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  7. Chill the truffles briefly, for about 15 minutes, while you prepare whatever you’d like to roll or enrobe them in.

    If your ganache isn’t firm enough to scoop into balls, you can chill it in the fridge to harden. Or, whip it very briefly until the color just begins to lighten—about 30 seconds on medium-low with a hand mixer. Let it set again and it will firm up.

  8. Roll the truffles in cocoa powder, shaking off any excess cocoa. You can also roll them in chopped nuts or enrobe them in melted and tempered chocolate.

    rolling truffles in cocoa powder

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  9. Store them at room temperature for up to a week, in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks, or in the freezer for 2 months. They taste best eaten at room temperature.

Special Equipment

Immersion blender (optional), melon baller (optional)

Notes

For variety, consider these flavor combinations: 

rosewater-raspberry dark chocolate truffles on a plate

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Rosewater-Raspberry: Mix 2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam with 1 tablespoon rosewater. Add to 1/2 cup boiled cream along with 8 ounces chopped chocolate. Roll in cocoa powder or enrobe in tempered chocolate and garnish with crystallized rose petals.

cross section of milk chocolate sunflower seed truffle

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Milk Chocolate and Sunflower Seed: Use 3 parts milk chocolate to cream. Gently stir in 1/4 cup toasted and cooled sunflower seeds for every 8 ounces of chocolate into the cooled, but not yet set ganache. Once set, form the balls and roll in cocoa powder.

saffon-orange truffles on a plate

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Saffron-Orange: Add a pinch of saffron threads to 1/2 cup heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat and let mixture steep for 10 minutes. Strain and bring cream to a brief boil. Add 1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier to the cream along with 8 ounces of chopped chocolate. Once set and formed, roll the truffles in cocoa powder or enrobe with melted tempered chocolate and garnish with dehydrated orange zest.

chocolate truffles garnished with coarse sea salt and black pepper

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Salt and Pepper: Grind a few twists of black pepper into the 1/2 cup of hot cream, along with the 8 ounces chopped chocolate, 1 tablespoon room temperature butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. When the ganache is set, sprinkle in up to 1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt as you scoop and form the truffles.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
69 Calories
3g Fat
8g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 69
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 4mg 0%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 11mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)