People tend to think of holiday gift-giving in terms of broad strokes and grand ideas, but I’ve found over the years that it’s the small, heartfelt gestures that mean the most. Whipping something up in your kitchen has that hand-touched sentimentality that makes every recipient smile. It also doesn’t hurt that this is a gift that costs next to nothing, and doesn’t need to be tailor-made to the individual if you’re making a big batch for a group. I normally skew sweet with my home-cooked holiday gifts, but find that cookies tend to be everywhere during this season. I started making these simple chocolate truffles for friends and coworkers instead, which are not overly sweet and provide the perfect, single bite of chocolatey goodness. I rolled mine in classic, bitter cocoa powder, but you can get creative and customize the exterior trimmings. I think that chopped nuts, coconut flakes, or even matcha powder could be fantastic. Read on for the recipe I use (courtesy of Tyler Florence, original can be found here).
Dark Chocolate Truffles
Yield:15 to 20 candies, depending on size (I like making them smaller)
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces good-quality (70 percent) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup cocoa powder, for dusting
In a saucepan, bring the cream just to a simmer over medium-low to low heat. Pour the cream over the chocolate in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand about 10 minutes to melt the chocolate.
Add the vanilla and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Then beat the chocolate at medium speed, using an electric mixer, until it is thick and light colored. If the chocolate has cooled enough, it will be ready to form truffles right away. If the chocolate is still too soft to hold its shape when rolled in a ball, spread over the bottom of a baking dish and smooth the top. Refrigerate until firm, but still scoopable, up to 2 hours.
Pour the cocoa powder onto a deep plate or shallow bowl. Use a melon baller or small ice cream scoop to scoop out balls of chocolate and gently roll into a ball. Place them on the plate with the cocoa powder and roll between 2 forks to completely coat with the cocoa powder. Then use the forks to carefully transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper.
If making the truffles a day or two ahead of time, let them stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving.