Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles (Tartufi dolci del Piemonte)
This recipe was inspired by an Italian confection called Tartufi dolci del Piemonte. Roasted hazelnuts are combined with ganache - a cream and chocolate filling. The result is a rich, creamy and crunchy treat. Tartufi dolci del Piemonte are paired perfectly with coffee.
Truffles were invented in France and originally consisted of a walnut-size ball of ganache rolled in cocoa. It was called a "truffle" as it resembled the edible black fungus that grows in southern Europe which is also called truffle. Over time different truffle textures and flavors have been created.
300 grams (10.6 ounces or 1¾ cup) chocolate, broken into pieces or chopped [I used 60% cocoa content]
75 grams (5½ tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon liqueur [I used rum]
pinch of salt
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
Preheat oven to 175C (350F). Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. Line a very small baking dish with parchment and set aside. [Note: I used a rectangular, glass baking dish that measured 13cmx18cm / 5inx7in and 5cm/2in in height.]
Measure all the ingredients.
Combine the water and half the sugar in a saucepan and boil until the sugar completely dissolves. Add the chopped nuts to the water/sugar and spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in the oven for 10–15 minutes until the nuts are caramelized and golden brown, turning occasionally. Cool the baked nuts before using.
Combine the cream, coffee, and remaining sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Take the mixture off the heat and stir in the chocolate, butter, salt and liqueur until smooth and the chocolate is completely melted.
Fold in the cooled caramelized nuts into the chocolate mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Cool to room temperature and then cover and place the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours.
When the truffle mixture is set, take it out of the container and peel off the parchment. Place it on a cutting board, dust the top with cocoa powder and with a sharp knife, cut it into cubes which are about 2½cm or 1in in size.
Serve! Store leftovers in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.