After serving a delectable Thanksgiving Eve dinner of cedar-plank grilled arctic char and roasted Brussels sprouts, my mother and aunt poured coffee and passed around plates of these Grand Marnier chocolate truffles, a party trick they learned from their mother, something they always have on hand this time of year.
A cup of coffee, a boozy bite of chocolate — is there a better way to end (start?) the day? This time of year especially, when there never seems to be enough time, having a stash of truffles in the cupboard has been known, in our family at least, to save the day. Truffles make a simple dessert, an elegant homemade gift, a festive treat to break out at impromptu gatherings. One batch, which yields at least 3 dozen, can be made days in advance and stored in the fridge. Just be sure to bring them to room temperature before serving.
Easy to make and pretty to boot, what’s not to love? My gramma taught her daughters well.
I love this Lake Champlain Chocolates Fair Trade unsweetened cocoa powder, which is delicious in the best chocolate cake, my favorite brownies, and Mollie Katzen’s Chocolate Eclipse.
quarter sheet pans
- 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I love Scharffen Berger 62% cacao)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- a pinch of good salt
- unsweetened cocoa powder (I like LCC unsweetened Fair Trade), sifted, for rolling
- confectioners' sugar for rolling (optional)
- Line a jelly roll pan with parchment or a Silpat. I love my quarter sheet pans for this, but a 9x9-inch square baking pan or something like it, will work just fine. Also, you don't have to line it with anything, but it makes for an easier clean up.
- Bring cream to a boil, keeping an eye on it constantly. Break chocolate into small chunks and place in heat-safe bowl. Pour cream over chocolate, push chocolate chunks down with a spatula so they are submerged, and let sit for a minute. Unless you've chopped the pieces really finely, you'll probably need to place the bowl over simmering water (or use a double boiler) to melt the cream and chocolate together further.
- Add liqueur, vanilla and pinch of salt off the heat, and stir until smooth. Spread mixture into prepared pan, then refrigerate it for about 30 minutes or until almost hard.
- Drag a melon baller or #100 scoop across firm chocolate mixture to shape the truffles. Drop truffles onto clean baking sheet. Note: As you shape, if the chocolate gets too soft, stick the pan back in the fridge for a bit. If it seems too hard, let it sit at room temperature until it is manageable. Also, do not worry about misshapen truffles — they should look a bit irregular. Refrigerate truffles for 15 minutes once formed.
- Spread some cocoa into a shallow dish (don't forget to sift it!), preferably one with sides. If using confectioners' sugar, spread it in a separate dish. Spread truffles (maybe 10 at a time) into each vessel and shake the vessel to coat the truffles.
- Store truffles in fridge or a cool part of your house. Let come to room temperature (at least an hour) before serving.