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Recipe Reveal: Quick and Dirty Truffles


Homemade Chocolate Truffles, clockwise from top, Ginger, Toasted Coconut, and Cherry. In the center, "Dirty" Chocolate Truffles.

Homemade Chocolate Truffles, clockwise from top, Ginger, Toasted Coconut, and Cherry. In the center, “Dirty” Chocolate Truffles.

Nobody knows the truffles I’ve seen. I found out at the last minute that it was a co-worker’s birthday. Someone was bringing a cake (whew!) but I wanted to make something special too. I had no time to shop or bake.

Hello, chocolate truffles! Easy to make, and a crowd pleaser. While there are many wonderful recipes for truffles, some involving heavy cream, butter, and coating them with melted chocolate, I had no time for that, nor the ingredients on hand.

In my pantry, I had a can of sweetened condensed milk, and a package of Ghirardelli chocolate chips. Done!

These are the easiest truffles ever, and the recipe is versatile. It can also be poured into a pan for fudge or used still warm as a (very rich) chocolate sauce.

I scoured the pantry to see what I had to put in the truffles. Crystallized ginger, good to chop and roll the truffles in. Angelflake coconut, that could be toasted. I also had some sour cherry jam and maraschino cherries in the fridge, good for makeshift cherry truffles. Also I made some plain ones covered in unsweetened cocoa for that “quick and dirty” effect.

To speed the cooling time for the truffle mixture, I separated it into smaller bowls, one for each flavor, and placed them in the freezer for a few minutes.

After they were rolled and coated, I popped them into some mini cupcake cups and off they went to the office. Judging from the smiling faces of my co-workers, the sum of this recipe was definitely equal to more than its parts.

Quick and Dirty Truffles

3 cups (18 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
Dash salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For rolling: Unsweetened cocoa powder

1. In a small saucepan over low heat or in a bowl in the microwave, melt chocolate chips and condensed milk and stir until smooth.
2. Stir in vanilla. Chill for 2 hours or until mixture is easy to handle. (You can speed things up by dividing the mixture into small bowls and setting them in the freezer for a few minutes.)
3. Scoop truffles with a melon ball scooper. With your hands shape and roll into 1-inch balls.
4. For plain “dirty” chocolate truffles, roll in unsweetened cocoa powder.

Yield: about 4 dozen.

Variations:
Cherry Truffles. Make an indention in the truffle. Fill with a small amount of sour cherry jam. Cover with more chocolate truffle mixture. Roll to seal in the jam. Roll in unsweetened cocoa powder. Garnish top with a small slice of a drained and patted-dried maraschino cherry.
Ginger Truffles.  Roll truffles in chopped crystallized ginger.
Coconut Truffles. Roll truffles in toasted coconut. To toast, in a small frying pan, cook angel flake coconut over medium heat, stirring frequently with a spatula until the majority of it is lightly brown (It won’t cook thoroughly brown, don’t worry about it).
Peanut Butter Truffles. Make an indention in the truffle. Fill with a small amount of peanut butter. Cover with more chocolate truffle mixture. Roll to seal in the peanut butter. Roll in chopped peanuts.
Mint Truffles. Mix in some crushed peppermint hard candies. Roll in crushed candy.
Mocha Truffles. Add a small amount of cooled coffee/espresso to taste to the truffle mixture before it cools. Roll in espresso powder.
Rocky Road Truffles. Cut a small mini marshmallow in half and stuff it into the center of the truffle. Roll in chopped walnuts.
Rainbow Truffles. Roll truffles in rainbow sprinkles.

Truffles with alcohol:
The easiest way to make these is to omit the vanilla in the recipe.  In separate bowls, spoon the amount of warm truffle mixture you want for each flavor. Add a teaspoon or two of the alcohol to the truffle mixture (or to taste), gently fold in the alcohol, do not intensely mix. When chilled, roll truffles in unsweetened cocoa or other garnish.
Almond Truffles. Amaretto liqueur. Roll in chopped almonds or crushed biscotti.
Hazelnut Truffles. Frangelico. Roll in chopped, toasted hazelnuts.
Brandy Truffles. Brandy. Roll in grated chocolate.
Rum Truffles. Rum. Roll in chocolate sprinkles.
Kentucky Bourbon Truffles. Kentucky Bourbon. Top with half a roasted pecan.
Orange Truffles. Grand Marnier or Cointreau. Fold in grated orange rind to taste. Top with a slice of glacé or candied orange peel if you have it, or roll in cocoa powder or chopped almonds.

Note: Dried fruit such as cranberries, blueberries, and cherries are good in both regular and alcoholic truffles.

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