chocolate truffles

OK. Next time I say I want to make bread pudding, taken from some random Web site I’ve never heard of before, just so I can use up my loaf of bread that hardened two days after I bought it?

Stop me.

If you do, I might be able to write a better post than this one, in which I will just tell you that, Yes, I did in fact spend a disproportionate amount of time tonight caramelizing sugar and softening bread cubes to layer with a creamy custard in a tube pan that would then, tragically, leak all over and around the oven liner, meaning not only that the bread pudding was a disaster but so was the kitchen and myself.

And, Yes, also, after I did all this, I would still head up to my computer, flicking on its glowing screen and gentle humming sound, just because, even at almost 11 PM, I’d know I’d planned to sit down and write something interesting about the dark chocolate truffles I made for Carrie’s and Alicia’s birthday presents, and, by gosh, that stupid bread pudding wasn’t going to stop me.

Tell me you’ve had nights like this?

making truffles

I really should be sleeping right now, and heaven knows I’ll regret my stubbornness in the morning, but, I figure, maybe you’re up, too? Just today alone, I heard more than one person tell me how frustrating life’s been and how they feel a little lost, confused, unsure of the future. I’ve never been very good at giving advice in situations like those, mostly because everything I could tell them I should be telling myself (and also because, in these cases, the people were talented, funny and good-hearted ones, and if either is reading: When I don’t seem worried about your future, it’s not because I don’t care but because I know you and have all the confidence in the world in you).

Anyway, I’m better with food.

So to make up for every bad day, every bad recipe, every agonizing hour spent washing dishes for meals you didn’t want to eat, I offer this: homemade chocolate truffles. These desserts are wonderfully decadent, everything a truffle should be. They are easy enough to do with children and impressive enough to give to adults.


The moment you bite into the rich, milky darkness of the base, with its flecks of hardened chocolate and dense, creamy texture, things will be looking better, I swear. You can roll them in anything you’d like—I chose alternating dusts of cocoa, bright chopped pistachios or bits of thin almonds—but you might like a blend of cinnamon and sugar or something else.

As gifts, I lined them in mini paper cups, set in ordered rows inside white paper boxes, wrapped with brown ribbon, and I brought them to dinner Monday night, to give as birthday gifts on a night when I tried sushi for the first time, with three people I work with and enjoy.


Dark Chocolate Truffles
Loosely adapted from

I read so many truffle recipes before adapting/creating this one, which has the same basic ingredients as the original but a totally different set of instructions that are easier and faster (if I do say so).

I’d recommend setting separate sets of spoons by each plate of topping–that way you won’t be mixing anything if you switch around. Oh, and don’t skip the latex gloves—they make the process a snap to get through and to clean up afterward.

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Suggested Toppings:
Sifted cocoa powder
Shelled and chopped pistachios
Shelled and chopped almonds

Place chocolate chips in medium-sized bowl and set aside.

Combine heavy cream and pinch of salt in saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until nearly simmering; add vanilla. Pour hot liquid over chocolate chips and stir mixture until totally smooth. Refrigerate, tightly covered, for about three hours or until firm.

After the mixture has chilled, remove from refrigerator and create plates of chosen toppings. Wearing latex gloves and using two spoons, scoop out rounded sections of the chocolate into palms and form into balls. Use spoons to roll each ball in the topping of your choice and place on a separate plate or in a container. Makes around three dozen truffles.

Chill until firm, about 1 hour. Do ahead: Can be made 1 week ahead. Store in airtight container and keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. Amrita

    Those truffles look gorgeous! Sorry ’bout the “torture” you went through….no wonder I’ve stopped visiting random food sites!

  2. postcollegecook

    These are beautiful and I’m sure they taste as good as they look! I am bookmarking this :)

  3. Jacqui

    the truffles look lovely. it’s nice that even after a failed night in the kitchen, you still found inspiration.

    and…and…how was the first-time SUSHI?! where’d ya go? what’d ya get? how’d ya like it? please tell me you’re writing a post on this very, very soon. :)

  4. Hooshna

    I love your blog! Fantastic stuff. Truly.

    And yes, I’ve totally had nights like that, one that even involved bread pudding. I’ll be making these truffles very soon. Thanks :)

  5. Lainey

    oh no i just laughed when something bad happened to you. that business with the bread pudding is funny, and yes that sort of thing has happened to me. i once started a sugar fire in the oven when i forgot to add the FLOUR to cookies and they melted off the pan. that, admittedly, was a long time ago. but very recently i started a dish towel on fire. however, usually when these things happen to me i don’t have beautiful and enticing photos of chocolates to make up for it. i am envious of your chocolate-making skills.

  6. Sarah L

    Beautiful! The pistachio ones look particularly lovely.

  7. kickpleat

    Truffles win every time! They look great.

  8. Adam

    What she doesn’t mention is that, while the bread pudding definitely did overflow and gross-up the first oven…she moved it to another clean oven and the gooey bits of the finished product I tasted (and then dipped in light cream–yowza) were soft and cinnamon-y and reminiscent of an apple pie french toast.

    And I like to think that I treat food just like Anton Ego from Disney’s Ratatouille: I don’t “like” food, I LOVE it. If I don’t love it, I don’t SWALLOW.

  9. Gemma

    I once ate a chocolate bread pudding, now I want to eat it again.

    Those truffles look gorgeous. I’ve only attempted to make truffles once and it was a messy business that resulted in very craggy truffles. I might give them a try again the next time I need a gift.

  10. Hillary

    Oh I’ve definitely had nights like that! :) I like all three flavors you chose – thanks for this recipe!

  11. The Duo Dishes

    You’ve put your boxes to good use. :) Makes the truffles look even better.

  12. Shannalee

    Amrita – Yeah, the random site was partially to blame for a hard-to-follow recipe, but, mostly, I blame that stupid pan, which should never, ever be used for a bread pudding.

    PostCollegeCook – Thank you! BTW, I hear we have a mutual friend in my coworker Alicia?

    Jacqui – I am a huge failure and only took flash photos at the restaurant, none of which were very good. Next time (there will be a next time – that’s how well the sushi went over!), I’ll have to prepare a real review. Oh and, you were right, you were right. I could get very, very used to sushi.

    Hooshna – THANK YOU for saying that! It’s so nice to know I’m not alone! It’s also nice to know you like this blog. Thanks for that, too!

    Lainey – HA! It’s OK, I laughed at myself – well, not right away, what with all the huffing and puffing, but eventually. Don’t envy any so-called skills, by the way – these chocolates are EASY. You gotta’ try them.

    Sarah L – Pistachios are so photogenic, I agree!

    Kickpleat – thank you!

    Adam – You are too funny, quoting cartoons here. Seriously, though, thanks for being the best taste tester. I’ll miss that!

    Gemma – Yeah, I could see how it could get very messy very fast. I swear by the latex gloves and the using spoons for the toppings. It made a big difference!

    Hillary – Thank you!! The toppings were very good, and I’m already brainstorming for new ones!

    DD – Yep! There are a couple hundred more to go… all my friends and family are going to love all the gifts, HA!

  13. postcollegecook

    yes – Alicia mentioned that! I’m sure she will enjoy those chocolates today :)

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  15. Leigh

    I just wanted to share this bread pudding recipe with you. It’s adapted from the one my grandmother gave my mother. Since it’s a hand me down recipe, there aren’t really amounts, but it’s easy and always works.

    Take your bread, slice it, butter both sides, break bread into smaller cubes and mix with chocolate chips. You can also add walnuts, pecans, M&Ms or anything else you want. Then in a separate bowl, mix eggs, milk (or cream) and vanilla and pour this mixture over the bread and mix through. Then transfer the whole shebang into a pan. I usually use a loaf pan but anything can work.

    A good rule of thumb to know if you have the bread to wet stuff ratio right is the bread should be moist to lightly wet all the way through. You can even mix it with your hands to change the consistency. You’ll just cook it longer if it’s on the wetter side and the final result will be more pudding-y than bready.

    Then bake at 350 for about 45 min or until you see that the liquid is more of a custardy consistency. It gets all puffy as it cooks.

    And yes, those truffles look amazing. But then, your photos here, from kale to cake, always make me hungry!

  16. Shannalee

    You are so great, Leigh. I’ll have to try this. Thank you so much!

  17. Memoria

    Where did you get the boxes and the wrappers? I plan to make truffles very soon for my students. Thanks!

  18. Shannalee

    Memoria – I ordered the boxes from a wholesale distributor online (it’s actually a long story, but the short version is that I have A LOT of boxes now). The little wrappers you can buy anywhere they sell regular-sized cupcake wrappers!

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  20. Laura

    Hi! I just found your blog – through a comment you left on Pete Bakes. Your site is wonderful! I never thought about rolling truffles in pistachios or almonds, that sounds marvelous. I will let you know when I try it out…thanks for sharing :)

  21. Shannalee

    So glad to have you reading, Laura – isn’t Pete’s site fantastic, by the way? If you try these truffles, I hope you’ll stop back to tell me what you think!

  22. Katie

    An important thing to know is that you actually have to simmer the chocolate mixture until it thickens and reaches the softball point (where you can drop it into cold water and it forms a ball).

  23. Shannalee

    Hey Katie, I think because the mixture the chocolate is being added to is already simmering, it just happened really quickly for me. Thanks for the feedback!

  24. Kelsey

    Thank you for this awesome recipe! I added toasted walnuts to the chocolate batter and they came out amazing. They taste kind of fudge-y, kind of brownie-y, and they were so simple to make! I’m definitely holding on to this one.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Glad to hear that, Kelsey!

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