Handmade / Recipes

How to Make Chocolate Truffles

Here’s what we’ve been cooking up for the holidays….chocolate truffles!  We wanted some homemade, edible gifts for family and friends, and although there is a bit of a learning curve to figuring out how to make these, they worked out perfectly.  For a moderate investment in time and money, we were able to deliver a lot of holiday gifts with a real “wow, for me?!” impact.  In an age of rushed holidays and excessive mall spending, more than one recipient commented on the lack of edible homemade gifts these days.

We had so much fun making these that we’re thinking of taking orders for Valentine’s Day.  Anybody interested?

I’d never made truffles before, so perused the internet and several cookbooks for recipes.  As usual, most of the info we needed was in the Joy of Cooking.  I’ll give you the basics and then the many variations that we tried.

First, you make the basic truffle filling.  We did a trial run and decided on this:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ stick butter
  • 2 packages dark chocolate chips (we used Ghiardelli’s 60%, the best.)

Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium to low heat.  Add the butter, cut in small pieces, and let it melt.  Be careful not to overheat it.   As soon as the butter is melted, add all of the chocolate and stir until the milk and chocolate combine, and the mixture becomes creamy.  As soon as this magic happens, take it off the heat. This is much like making ganache.

At this point, we divided the chocolate into two or four different bowls, and added different flavorings to each one, see recipes below.  Refrigerate for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the chocolate is firm enough to easily roll into balls, not too sticky and not too hard.  Joy suggests not using the freezer to expedite this process.

You could also add the flavoring when you heat the milk.  This may make the flavors stronger, and you’d need less flavoring.  We didn’t try this, we’re still experimenting.

We tried making ganache with dark, milk, and white chocolate.  The dark was by far the easiest to work with.  The white worked pretty well, although the balls were softer and therefore harder to coat, and the white chocolate burns the most easily, so be careful when heating it.  The milk chocolate didn’t work very well at all.  It turned more into caramel than ganache.  These were messier, but we still coated some of them and they turned out more like chocolate coated caramels.

When the chocolate is firm enough, roll into balls.  (If you refrigerate it too long, you’ll have to let it warm up a bit first.)


There are two ways to coat your truffles.  The easy way is to roll the balls in crushed nuts or cocoa powder.  The more difficult way is to coat them with chocolate.

To make the chocolate coating, we melted more chocolate chips.  Joy of Cooking suggests doing this in a double boiler, which I didn’t have, so made my own out of two pots.  For this to work, the filling and the coating need to be as close to the same temperature as possible.  The filling should be at room temperature.  Melt ¾ of your chocolate chips, remove from heat and put in a different, cool bowl. Then add the remaining chocolate chips, which will cool the mixture as they melt.  If your coating is too hot, it will melt the filling.  If the filling is too cold, the coating won’t stick.

I tried dipping the balls into the coating, which worked okay, but the Joy of Cooking method worked best.  Partially dip each chocolate ball, then roll with a small amount of chocolate in the palm of your hand to coat the rest.  Carefully move from your hand onto waxed paper to dry.  If you want to decorate them, do it while the chocolate coating is still wet.  You have to work pretty quickly.


Here are some of the flavors we tried.  I didn’t write down measurements, just tasted each one til it seemed good.  The flavors to tend to get stronger as they sit.

A lot of the recipes we saw included alcoholic elements like rum or different liquors, but since we’re not drinking these days and wanted to limit expense, we skipped that in favor of several extracts available at Freddy’s for $2.  If you already have a well-stocked liquor cabinet, the liquor option might be tasty.  Rum, Limoncello, Kahlua, and Orange Liquor were some suggestions.

Raspberry Truffles

  • Dark chocolate ganache
  • Raspberry extract
  • Chopped dried raspberries from City Gardens
  • Dark chocolate coating
  • Decorated with a dried raspberry

Mint truffles

  • Dark chocolate ganache
  • Peppermint extract
  • Milk chocolate coating
  • Decorated with crushed candy canes

Fig truffles

  • Dark Chocolate ganache
  • Chopped dried figs
  • Milk chocolate coating
  • Decorated with a dried fig piece

Orange truffles

  • Dark chocolate ganache
  • Orange extract
  • Orange zest
  • Rolled in crushed almonds
  • Plain chocolate truffles
  • Dark chocolate ganache
  • Rolled in cocoa powder

Lemon Coconut Truffles  (My favorite one)

  • White chocolate ganache
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Coconut extract
  • Lemon extract
  • Lemon zest
  • Coated in milk or dark chocolate
  • Sprinkled with dried coconut

You could also roll balls in coconut flakes, but our white chocolate balls were a little too soft.

Almond Truffles

  • White Chocolate Ganache
  • Almond extract
  • Coat in dark chocolate and sprinkle with crushed almonds.

Ancho pepper truffles (My other favorite one.)

  • 1 dried ancho pepper
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 3 cloves

Roast these in the oven until they smell fragrant.  Grind finely in a coffee grinder.  I got the spice mix recipe from this recipe and added it to our truffles.

Add to dark chocolate ganache a little at a time until you get the flavor you want.

Coat with milk or dark chocolate and sprinkle with cinnamon or a red pepper flake or two.

We used the remaining spice mix to coat a venison steak, yummy.

Maple truffles

  • Milk or dark chocolate ganache
  • Maple syrup
  • Coat in milk or dark chocolate

Ginger truffles

  • Milk or dark chocolate ganache
  • Ground ginger and/or finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • Coat in milk or dark chocolate
  • Decorate with a small piece of crystallized ginger

— Katie


9 thoughts on “How to Make Chocolate Truffles

  1. Awesome! We make these too, but not as fancy. It’s amazing how simple they are, huh? I had to pop one in my mouth as I read this! Thanks for the recipes on different flavors. Yum!

    • I believe it. We might make them again for Valentine’s Day. I’m out of town this week for work, til Thursday, but let’s make a date soon! I miss you and Juniper. (And Joe, but I saw him more recently.) Are you going to the refugee conference?

      • Ha. Just emailed you today and hadn’t checked to see if you got my post. YES. I will be there Monday and Tuesday. Can’t wait to see you then but you are going to have to come see this giant baby! She is talking up a storm and we can even understand about 1/3 of what she says.

  2. I did not use this recipe. I came across your blog because my ganache is too sticky and soft to roll and am trying to figure out how to harden it? I need help.

    • That happened to some of our ganache, too. We found that dark chocolate was easier to get to roll than white or milk. Maybe reduce the amount of cream or butter in your recipe, maybe you could re-melt what you already have and add more chocolate? Or try leaving it in the fridge a little longer before rolling. Or, try adding something else to it to give it a little firmer texture. We added flaked coconut to one of the white chocolate ones, and that helped it roll into balls much more easily. Ground nuts would probably also work. Good luck!

  3. Nice post which A lot of the recipes we saw included alcoholic elements like rum or different liquors, but since we’re not drinking these days and wanted to limit expense, we skipped that in favor of several extracts available at Freddy’s for $2. If you already have a well-stocked liquor cabinet, the liquor option might be tasty. Rum, Limoncello, Kahlua, and Orange Liquor were some suggestions. Thanks a lot for posting this article.

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