Holidays are a dream come true for those of us with a sweet tooth. Suddenly there are candies, cookies, and cakes everywhere, and it is somehow alright to have some of everything…….after all it’s the holidays. Tempting morsels magically appear in the office break room, and neighbors drop by with plates of goodies. But it’s the holidays…. or at least that is what we tell ourselves as we pop another peanut butter ball in our gob. We will starve ourselves in January, that’s what it is for, but right now………it’s the holidays!

 To prepare Nutella Frangelico Truffles:

  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup Nutella hazelnut spread
  • 3/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Frangelico (Optional)
  • 12 ounces dark chocolate candy melts

Finely chop the chocolate and place it in a medium size mixing bowl. Heat the cream until almost boiling. Pour over the chocolate and allow to stand for a few minutes to soften. Mix well until all the chocolate is dissolved. Add Nutella and mix until smooth and silky.

Stir in hazelnuts and mix well. Add Frangelico if desired and mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover Nutella mixture with plastic wrap, placing the wrap directly on the top of the mixture. Refrigerate for several hours to allow the Nutella ganache to set up.

Tip: When a recipe calls for cordials or liquor you don’t have, buy the “mini” or “airline” bottle, unless it is something you would normally purchase. Many of the cordials used in recipes are twenty-five to thirty dollars for the full-sized bottle. Purchasing the mini for a couple of dollars keeps it affordable. There might even be a little sample left over for the chef.

Line a sheet pan with wax paper. Using a melon baller or teaspoon, scoop enough ganache to roll into a 1″ ball ( a melon baller works really well and helps keep the truffles a uniform size). Roll the chocolate between the palms of your hands. If the chocolate gets to soft, place it back in the fridge for a few minutes to set up. Wash the chocolate off of your hands periodically to prevent sticking, making sure to completely dry your hands (water and chocolate do not mix). There are recipes that suggest dusting your hands with cocoa powder to prevent sticking, but I find that creates a build up (kind of like breading chicken). Once you have formed all the balls, place the pan in the fridge and allow the chocolate to set up, do not freeze.

Cooks note: I take the pan out of the fridge and allow it to warm up a bit while I temper the chocolate coating. The balls must be firm in order to dip in the coating, however if they are too cold it will cause the coating to crack as they warm up and expand. If they are too warm, they will fall apart in the coating. This is the hardest part of making the truffles, and is really a trial and error situation. I can describe what works well for me, however this is one of those things that you must experiment with. If the balls feel like they are getting to soft put them back in the fridge for a few. 

Temper the candy melts in the microwave or over a double boiler. Working quickly drop a ball into the coating, roll it to completely cover, remove, and place on wax paper to set up (I use a large two-pronged meat fork to lift the truffle out of the coating, you can also purchase a plastic dipping tool at most craft supply stores). If your coating begins to set up, you can reheat it a little, and you can place the balls back in the fridge if they feel too soft.

Two thirds of the way through dipping my truffles I noticed the coating was getting thick and lumpy, and the truffles were not smooth. One of the balls had gotten too soft or I had rolled it around too much trying to cover it and one had fallen apart in my coating.

The result was not what I was looking for, so I decide that instead of tempering more chocolate for the last six, that I would shift gears and coat the remaining ones in cocoa powder. I added a little CK disco dust to the powder to add some sparkle.

I poured the “contaminated” coating out onto a piece of wax paper, spread it with a spatula, added some sprinkles, and allowed it to set. I scored the chocolate with a knife after about a half of an hour. Another delicious candy was made today, and no one needs to know my little secret (I have learned to “go with the flow” when I work with chocolates and candies, and not to get stressed out or upset).

I finished my truffles by tempering a small amount of light chocolate and piping it on for a bit of decoration. I had not originally intended to do this, but thought it would work well next to the truffles coated in cocoa powder.

I hope you give making truffles a try if you have not done so before. After all, it’s the holidays and the worst thing that can happen is that you end up with fantastic ice cream topping. And unless you have witnesses, you can always claim that it was your plan in the first place! I know Santa may know, but you can always buy him off with a few treats on Christmas eve.

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