We made it to Friday! If there’s ever a need for chocolate*, the time is now.
*A double dose of chocolate.
Let’s get back in touch with candy addiction today. I took a break from candy when my book tour ended earlier this year. My teeth hurt. But actually, my candy thermometer broke. Overuse perhaps? Or maybe because I dropped it into a sink full of water. Again. But we won’t be needing that thing today because all you need to make truffles is a spoon. And self control.
Oh and some awesomely delicious ingredients by the names of: hazelnuts, quality chocolate, Nutella, butter, and cream. Healthy little truffles, aren’t they?
(But seriously you only need 5 ingredients!)
Truffles are a delicious science!
These truffles are a deep dark chocolate hazelnut crunch experience and I’m thrilled for you to make them this holiday season. But first, I’m not sure if you remember this or not… I visited nerdville last year when I explained some science behind truffle making. I want to briefly touch on it again so you are familiar with what you’re doing when you make the chocolate hazelnut crunch truffles. Nerd glasses on in 3, 2, 1…
The combination of cream and pure chocolate, what makes up this truffle recipe, is an emulsion. An emulsion is a mixture of two incompatible liquids: oil (cocoa butter) and water (cream). Mixing them together requires some TLC. Stir it together softly and slowly. Rigorous stirring may introduce air bubbles to the finished ganache, creating an oil film on the surface after it sets. You definitely don’t want that.
When recipes have very few ingredients, it’s important to choose quality. You’ll need pure chocolate, not chocolate chips. Some brands I reach for: Baker’s, Ghirardelli, or Lindt “Excellence” chocolates. Toasted hazelnuts will go inside the ganache as well as sprinkled on top. That’s the whole crunch factor in these! Smooth ganache, crunchy toasted hazelnuts. It’s all so beautiful. Remember what I said about quality? Use Diamond of California, always has been and always will be my favorite.
Do you see the left picture above? That’s the start of the truffle recipe. You’ll begin melting the chopped chocolate in the microwave, but not melt it completely. Then we’ll pour warm cream on top and stir the two together. Remember, gentle stirring. Once smooth, you’ll stir in Nutella and softened butter.
Lastly, the chopped toasted hazelnuts:
Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on the ganache surface. You want it completely protected. Chill it in the refrigerator, then roll. Rolling is always a little messy. You’ll get chocolate on your hands, so have a kitchen towel or paper towels handy to wipe your palms clean as you roll. The reason the ganache is so sticky? We want a soft and smooth truffle. The trade off is a sticky situation.
Tip: If you find the ganache to be much too soft, roll it as best you can then let the balls sit out at room temperature to briefly dry for 20 minutes or so. Go back and roll them each out to smooth the surface. Much easier now!
It’s the return of the mighty spiral swirly dipping tool! Let me explain. I always use this dipping tool set when I dip truffles and candies. I shared a video of dipping truffles earlier this year. Basically, dunk the entire truffle into the melted or tempered chocolate then lift out with the spiral tool. Quickly flip it over onto a lined baking sheet then make a little swirl motion as you lift the tool off the truffle. I’m sure that made zero sense, but go to the 1 minute mark in this video and you can see!
Drizzle with any extra chocolate you have leftover then sprinkle with crushed hazelnuts. If you’ve never made truffles at home before, the time is now. There is truly nothing more satisfying than sinking your teeth into a homemade truffle, especially a truffle that’s smooth, soft, and hazelnutty crunchy. ♥
Think of them as nutella tart in candy form. With extra chocolate on top. 😉
PS: I’m super thorough in my instructions, don’t be nervous!
Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch Truffles
- 16 ounces (450g) semi-sweet or milk chocolate, coarsely chopped and divided1
- 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
- 1/3 cup (100g) Nutella
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (90g) toasted and finely chopped Diamond of California hazelnuts, divided2
- Place 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Microwave in four fifteen second increments, stirring after each, for a total of 60 seconds. Stir until almost completely melted. Set aside.
- Pour cream into a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisking occasionally, heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from the heat, then slowly pour over the chocolate. Gently begin stirring with a wooden spoon in one direction. Do not forcefully stir, always be gentle! Once the chocolate and cream are smooth, stir in the Nutella and butter until combined and smooth, then stir in 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts. Cover with plastic wrap pressed on the top of the mixture then allow to sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes. Then place in the refrigerator until it reaches "scoopable" consistency, about 4 hours.
- Line a lage baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
- Remove mixture from the refrigerator. Measure 1 teaspoon, roll mixture in your hands into a ball as best as you can, then place on the baking sheet. The mixture will be a little sticky. Coat your palms with a little cocoa powder, which I find helps you handle the mixture. Repeat rolling the rest of the mixture. (A rolling tip: If you can't roll into perfect balls, do the best you can and place on the baking sheet. The air will help "dry out" the truffles. After 15 minutes, you'll be able to roll them into neater balls.)
- Coat in chocolate: You can melt the remaining 8 ounces of chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave. (Alternatively, you can temper the chocolate.) If using the microwave: place the chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. I like to use a liquid measuring cup. Its depth makes it easier for dipping. Melt in 15 second increments in the microwave, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth.
- Dip each truffle completely into the chocolate using the spiral dipping tool or a fork.When lifting the ball out of the chocolate, remember to tap the dipping tool gently on the side of the bowl to allow excess chocolate to drip off. Place balls back onto the baking sheet after you dip each one. Drizzle with any leftover chocolate. Sprinkle with remaining hazelnuts. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chocolate has completely set before serving.
Make ahead tip: Layer truffles in a tupperware between parchment paper and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Freeze for up to 2 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Make sure you are using quality, pure chocolate. Not chocolate chips. Use milk chocolate for a sweeter truffle.
- Simply use chopped Diamond of California hazelnuts. These are found in the baking aisle. You can toast them for a deeper flavor; I suggest it! To toast them, spread them out on a lined baking sheet and bake for 7-8 minutes at 300°F (149°C). Let them slightly cool. Then, put them into a food processor and pulse a few times to really chop them up fine. You want small pieces of nuts.
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