2 cup Heavy cream
21 oz Bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 oz Grand Marnier or Stoli Razberi vodka (optional)
To Enrobe the Truffles
18 oz Bittersweet chocolate, tempered
18 oz White chocolate, tempered
2 cup Unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 ½ cup Unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 cup Toasted nuts, finely chopped
1. Heat the heavy cream in a 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Make sure you chopped the chocolate as finely as possible to allow it to melt quickly and easily. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-size mixing bowl. Make a ganache by pouring about half of the hot cream over the chocolate and letting it sit for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate. Then, slowly whisk until smooth and homogenous.
2. Do not add all of the hot cream to the cold chocolate at once. The shock of the temperature extremes will cause the fat in the chocolate to separate. As the chocolate melts, you will see some elasticity if there is no fat separation. This means the chocolate still has an emulsion; the fat molecules are still holding together. If the ganache separates, it loses its elasticity, collapses, and becomes very liquid. I use a hand-held immersion blender to ensure a smooth ganache and to keep the emulsion of the chocolate. Add the remaining cream gradually and mix until all of the hot cream is incorporated and the ganache is smooth and homogenous.
3. If the ganache separates, it is very easy to fix. Simply add a small amount of cold cream and whisk well. This will bring the ganache back together. The ganache should be thick, shiny, and smooth. Add the desired flavoring and mix until fully incorporated. Pour the ganache onto a plastic wrap-covered baking sheet and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Cover the ganache with plastic wrap and allow it to cool for at least 4 hours at room temperature. I usually make the ganache at the end of the day and let it cool overnight. As it cools, it will thicken and set.
4. When the ganache has cooled to the consistency of toothpaste, scrape it into a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch plain tip. Do not stir the ganache when you do this. Incorporating air by stirring will cause the ganache to harden. Pipe 1-inch-diameter mounds spaced 1 inch apart on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. To pipe the mounds, hold the pastry bag at a slight angle and allow the tip to touch the parchment as you begin to pipe. Once you have formed the mound, stop squeezing and lift the tip straight up, leaving a small tail on the top of each mound. You can also use a spoon and drop small mounds of ganache onto the baking sheet. Let the truffles harden at room temperature for a couple of hours (or in the refrigerator for 15 minutes) until they are hard enough to roll with your hands.
5. When I roll the truffles, I usually wear surgical gloves. The gloves are not mandatory but if you do not use them, be sure your hands are very clean. To roll the mound into a ball, place a truffle between both palms, squeeze slightly, and roll between your hands. The truffles will look nicer if they are as round as possible. When all the truffles are rolled into balls, they are ready to be coated. If they have become too soft, place them in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours until they are firm enough to dip.
To Enrobe the Truffles
1. You can use either a dipping fork or your hands to dip the truffles in chocolate. To use the fork, drop the truffle into the bowl of tempered chocolate and then retrieve it with the dipping fork. Hold the fork over the bowl for several seconds to allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Gently scrape the bottom of the fork against the side of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate and place the dipped truffle on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. If you use your hands, dab some chocolate in the palm of one hand. Roll the truffle in that palm to completely coat it with chocolate. Place the enrobed truffle on the baking sheet. Repeat for the remaining truffles. This method is very quick but it can also be extremely messy.
2. When all of the truffles have been coated once, repeat the enrobing procedure. This is more necessary when you enrobe the truffles by hand than with a fork. The truffles are usually more evenly coated when dipped with a fork.
1. As soon as each truffle gets a second coating, immediately roll it in the desired topping. You need to do this before the chocolate sets or the topping will not adhere. At this stage, it is good to have a friend help because it is hard to dip and roll at the same time. Place the truffles on a clean parchment paper-covered baking sheet and allow them to set, about 5 minutes.
1. The truffles will keep for up to 2 weeks at room temperature, when stored in an airtight container.
2. If you decide to roll the truffles by hand, it is important to make sure your hands are cold. A good trick is to dip your hands in ice water for a few seconds and then dry them. Do this immediately before rolling the truffles. If your hands are too warm and the truffles begin to melt while you are rolling them, re-dip your hands in the ice water, dry them, and proceed.