I do love the simplicity of a unfussed truffle. No gild or frill. Just quality chocolate, a bit of cream, a splash of cognac, a wisp of sea salt, and butter dipped and dusted.
The French Truffle
9 oz bittersweet chocolate (min 65%)
6 oz heavy cream
pinch sea salt
1 Tbs unsalted butter
2 Tbs cognac
*chocolate for coating and cocoa powder (or powdered sugar) for dusting
Bring heavy cream and sea salt to a simmer over low heat. Place chocolate bits in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and place in bowl with chocolate. Remove cream from heat and swirl in cognac until incorporated. pour over the chocolate bits and allow to sit 1 minute before stirring. Stir until the chocolate and butter is melted and fully incorporated into the cream. The mixture should be thick. Allow to sit at room temperature until it hardens enough to form into balls. Using a small ice cream scoop, or melon baller, form filling into balls. Roll them between your palms until they are perfectly round. Allow to sit out (or place in the refrigerator) until they harden up again. if you put in the fridge, allow to come to room temperature. At this point, you may roll them directly into the cocoa powder or powdered sugar. I like to enrobe mine in chocolate. It gives them the rough exterior as well as helps preserve the delicate filling.
It is not required to use tempered chocolate for this particular truffle because you will be rolling it immediately in cocoa powder. It is however, important that you do not heat your chocolate to too high a temperature otherwise it will not harden back up properly. Using a microwave safe bowl, cook about 8 oz of chocolate pieces 30 seconds at a time in the microwave. After the first 30 seconds, check the heat of the bowl. if it is really hot, you can melt the chocolate in its residual heat. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir the chocolate. If it melts completely, then you are done. If it doesn’t melt at all…cook for another 30 seconds…if it is almost melted, go down to 10 second increments and watch to make sure that it doesn’t get too hot. When you are ready, place a shallow bowl of cocoa powder next to your bowl of melted chocolate. Dip each truffle in the melted chocolate, then immediately drop into the cocoa powder. Coat it completely, then remove to a lined baking sheet to cool. I do not recommend putting the truffles in the refrigerator before or after dipping (to harden) because it can cause the filling to expand and contract, and break through the coating. They should do fine at room temperature to firm up. I do however, recommend refrigeration for longer term storage.
You can also freeze the filling (once you have them formed into balls) well sealed for up to a month. Remove them and allow them to defrost in the refrigerator, then come to room temperature before dipping, being careful to remove any condensation.