That most ubiquitous of Valentine's Day gifts ― chocolate ― takes on new significance when it comes from your own kitchen. These intense, cocoa-dusted truffles are actually simple to make ― so simple, in fact, that their flavor depends entirely on the ingredients you start with. A good-quality chocolate is worth the expense; choose one you would enjoy eating on its own.
PREP AND COOK TIME: About 45 minutes, plus at least 3 hours to chill
NOTES: Small paper candy cups are available in the baking section of some well-stocked supermarkets and at stores that sell candy-making supplies. The truffles can be rolled (step 3) up to 3 days ahead.
MAKES: About 2 dozen 1-inch truffles
3/4 cup whipping cream
12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon cognac or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
About 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1. In a 1- to 2-quart pan over high heat, bring cream to a boil. Meanwhile, place chopped chocolate in a bowl. Pour cream over chocolate and stir gently with a flexible spatula until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. (If chocolate does not melt completely, place bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and stir until melted and smooth.) Stir in cognac. Chill mixture until firm, at least 3 hours; if desired, cover and chill up to 1 week.
2. Line a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet with a piece of waxed paper. With a spoon, scoop out 1-tablespoon portions of chocolate mixture; place on waxed paper. If mixture is too firm to scoop, let stand at room temperature about 10 minutes.
3. Place 1/4 cup cocoa on a rimmed plate. Dust hands lightly with cocoa. With your hands, roll each scoop of chocolate mixture into a ball, then roll in cocoa to coat. Place each truffle in a small paper candy cup (see notes). To store, place truffles between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container and chill. Advise recipient to chill as well, then bring to room temperature just before serving.
Per truffle: 95 cal., 71% (67 cal.) from fat; 1.3 g protein; 7.4 g fat (4.1 g sat.); 8.6 g carbo (0.6 g fiber); 2.7 mg sodium; 8.3 mg chol.
TRY THESE FLAVORS
Candied Ginger Truffles
Follow recipe for Chocolate Truffles, but substitute 1 tablespoon rum for cognac and stir 1/4 cup minced candied ginger into chocolate mixture with rum.Chocolate-Raspberry Truffles
Follow recipe for Chocolate Truffles, but reduce whipping cream to 1/2 cup, substitute 1 tablespoon framboise or other raspberry liqueur for cognac, and stir 1/4 cup melted, strained raspberry jam into chocolate mixture with the framboise.Mocha Truffles
Follow recipe for Chocolate Truffles, but stir 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder into cream until dissolved and substitute 1 tablespoon Kahlua for cognac.