It’s the mooooooost wonderful time of the year! It’s also the busiest time of year, which can leave people feeling positively Grinch-like as they worry about getting gifts sent out on time and wrapping up end-of-year work projects and making it to every single holiday party without eventually collapsing in a glass of mulled wine.
But on the offhand chance that you’ve got a few hours, maybe while tree-trimming or watching your favorite holiday movies, make yourself a batch of these boozy dark chocolate truffles. I speak from experience: there is no better way to end a frantic, stressful day than to come home, put your feet up on the couch and bite into a homemade perfectly chocolatey, faintly red-winey truffle, and then maybe another one because life is hard and we all need self-care, amirite?
The process of making these is fairly easy. Truffles are a firmer ganache, which is a combination of melted cream and chocolate. I added a splash of red wine (because duh, red wine + chocolate are the real OTP in my life) but you could add a splash of bourbon or Grand Marnier or amaretto or even two drops of peppermint extract — whatever you prefer.
My truffles came out looking very um, homemade for a few reasons. One, I use my (and my sister’s) hands to roll them, rather than a cookie scoop or a piping bag, mostly because I don’t own either of those things. We made a huge mess and endless poop jokes, so if you’re hoping for something more elegant / classy, I’d try a cookie scoop or even a melon baller.
Two, rather than coating the truffles in cocoa powder (as is customary) or decorative sprinkles (as the original recipe did), I decided to get a little … ambitious and coat them in chocolate. This was easy at first — melt chocolate in a double-boiler, roll truffles in warm chocolate, let them cool. But as you can imagine, warm chocolate melts ganache and then both become a bit sludgy. So melt the chocolate in batches, work quickly to roll them (two hands really helps here!) and be prepared to get a bit frustrated.
We did 20 of them in chocolate and ended up just rolling the last 5 in sprinkling sugar, but I’ll be honest — they’re so much more delicious when coated in chocolate than when coated in sugar. In the debate between aesthetics and taste, I am always Team Taste, so I’d recommend trying the chocolate route, but I understand that most people possess a firmer grip on their sanity and like to keep it that way. I’ve included both instructions below.
One additional note: when I say these truffles are dark, I’m not kidding around. I used 70% chocolate for the ganache, which is fairly bitter. I believe in “the darker the better” when it comes to chocolate, so I appreciated this, but if you like your chocolate sweeter, I’d use a 50-60% chocolate. I coated them in 42% semisweet chocolate, which adds a nice touch of sweetness, and you could even use milk chocolate if you’d like. Also, I rarely say this, but this is one of those recipes where the quality of ingredients really matters. You’re making chocolate truffles, so use the best chocolate you can afford. If the really pricey stuff is out of your budget, use half — 5 ounces of great chocolate + 5 ounces of the more affordable stuff. It really will make a difference in the final product, I promise. (You can use the less expensive stuff for the chocolate coating, as I did.)
I had elaborate plans to ship these truffles to friends, but concerns about having to go to the post office and then them melting in transit and you know, me not having any to eat … well, moral of the story: I’ll probably bring them to a friend’s cookie decorating party next week. Or eat them all. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, indeed.
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 10 ounces dark chocolate (I used 70% chocolate)
- 3 tablespoons of your favorite red wine
- sprinkling sugar or sprinkles for decorating (optional)
- 1/2 cup semisweet (42%) chocolate chips
- Chop the dark chocolate into small pieces and transfer to a large bowl.
- In a small heavy saucepan, heat the heavy cream until it just starts to boil.
- Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate. Add the red wine. Let sit for 3 minutes.
- Whisk the cream, red wine and chocolate until it's smooth. Freeze for 20 minutes or until firm (or refrigerate for 2 hours, up to overnight).
- Roll the truffles into tablespoon-sized balls using a melon baller, a cookie scoop, a spoon or your hands. Transfer to a wax paper-lined baking sheet and freeze.
- Now, choose your decorating adventure: if you'd like to go the easier/prettier route, freeze your ganache for 15 minutes. Then pour your sprinkling sugar or sprinkles into a shallow bowl, and roll the truffles into the decorations, pressing slightly so that the decorations stick. Refreeze for an additional 15 minutes, then serve. (Or refrigerate until ready to serve.)
- If you'd like to go the (in my opinion) tastier but trickier route: Freeze the ganache balls for 1 hour. In a double-boiler (or make one yourself), melt the chocolate chips, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is thin enough to drizzle.
- Line a second baking sheet with wax paper. Working quickly, roll the truffle balls in the melted chocolate using two spoons, then transfer to the baking sheet. Sprinkle the sanding sugar on top. You may have to reheat the chocolate if it starts to cool, and you definitely want to work quickly so that the ganache doesn't melt in the warm chocolate. (It really helps to have two people working here.)
- Once they are all coated in chocolate, freeze the truffles for at least one hour before serving. (Or refrigerate until serving.)