Recipes for Chocolate Truffles

Enticingly imperfect, hand-rolled truffles are a one-bite affair.

Slightly uneven little spheres dusted in cocoa to simulate the soil on a freshly dug fungus — the black Tuber melanosporum — defines a chocolate truffle at its most basic. Inside is a firm yet velvety center, a confection called ganache. Truffles are never cheap, but before you take out the credit card consider the homemade variety; they could not be easier to produce and do not require special equipment. With supervision, an 8-year-old can shape and dip truffles for a nice afternoon activity.

In addition to the classic cocoa-coated version, chocolate truffles are often encased in a chocolate shell, sometimes embellished with nuts, icing and even gold leaf. Their flavor can also be varied according to whether you opt for dark, milk or white chocolate, add ,ingredients like raspberry purée, nuts and coffee, or spirits like port, brandy and even Champagne. Size matters, too. Chocolate truffles should be one-bite affairs, no more than an inch in diameter — three-quarters of an inch is ideal.

Liz Clayman for The New York Times (Photography and Styling)

Time: 4 hours, including chilling

Yield: About 40

6 ounces high-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, 70 percent cacao

½ cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons ruby port or grape juice

½ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa

1. Break chocolate into small pieces, place in a small, heavy saucepan and add cream. Place over low heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate has melted. Remove from heat, stir in the port or juice; transfer to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until mixture is firm, about 2 hours.

2. Spread a sheet of waxed or parchment paper on a baking sheet. Have a bowl of ice water handy. Use a spoon or spoons, or melon-baller, to scoop mounds of the mixture about ¾ inches in diameter. Roll lightly between your palms to make nice spheres and place them on the paper. Occasionally moisten the spoon and your hands with ice water to keep the chocolate from sticking. Chill until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.

3. Spread cocoa on a chilled plate. Remove truffles from the refrigerator, roll each in cocoa and return them to the baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm. Truffles can be frozen for up to one week.

Time: 6 hours, including chilling

Yield: About 40

6 ounces high-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, 70 percent cacao

½ cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons Prosecco

½ pound high-quality white chocolate for coating

1. Break dark chocolate into small pieces, place in a small, heavy saucepan and add cream. Place over low heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate has melted. Remove from heat, stir in the Prosecco and transfer to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until mixture is firm, about 2 hours.

2. Spread a sheet of waxed or parchment paper on a baking sheet. Have a bowl of ice water handy. Use a spoon or spoons, or melon-baller, to scoop mounds about ¾ inches in diameter. Roll lightly between your palms to make nice spheres and place them on paper. Occasionally moisten the spoon and your hands with ice water to keep the chocolate from sticking. Chill until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.

3. Break white chocolate in pieces and melt in the top of a double-boiler or place in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute at 50 percent power, stirring every 15 seconds. Allow chocolate to cool at room temperature to around 90 degrees, stirring from time to time. Drop chilled truffles one at a time into melted chocolate, quickly lifting them out with a small fork or a professional wire dipping loop, allowing excess to drip off. Arrange on baking sheet and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

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