When I run my chocolate making courses, I get often asked questions about chocolate truffles and working with ganache. So in this chocolate blog post I wanted to look at commonly asked questions and give you the answers with simple solutions.
But first of all, if you don't know how to make delicious chocolate truffles at home you can check out this recipe. Now that you have made your first batch of homemade chocolate truffles we can start with the questions!
Chocolate truffle making tips
How do you keep truffles from melting?
The best way to prevent your chocolate truffles from melting when you are working with them is to wear catering gloves and form your chocolate truffles first with your fingertips and then roll them gently in your palms to finish shaping them into a smooth ball. It’s also useful to chill your chocolate truffle mixture before you work with it (1-2 hrs is fine or overnight if you have the time).
When you finish making your chocolate truffles, chill them for a few hours and then store them in a room temperature (anything around 18 C is ideal).
How do you preserve chocolate truffles?
It’s best to store your chocolate truffles in a cool and dry place, but not in the fridge. The ideal temperature is around 18 C, so cool kitchen cupboard away from a source of any heat (like a radiator, washing machine, fridge, dishwasher or an oven) is best.
You don’t want to store your chocolate truffles in direct light, fridge, freezer or somewhere where the temperature is changing too much (like a hot glass conservatory, which at night becomes very cold). Chocolate doesn’t like a drastic change of temperature (as this can lead to chocolate bloom).
How long do homemade truffles last?
It depends on what you make them with, but fresh cream chocolate truffles should be eaten within 2-4 weeks if you roll your chocolate truffles in two to three layers of tempered chocolate. If you roll your chocolate truffle ganache in cocoa powder/ground almond, crushed biscuits or something similar, I would recommend to eat them within three days.
On the same note, if you swap fresh cream for plant-based cream or add a healthy dose of alcohol, you can easily add an extra 2-3 weeks on your shelf life. Saying that I’ve never had chocolate truffles in my house for so long that I had to worry about how long they are going to last!
Are chocolate truffles soft or hard?
Handmade chocolate truffle is usually made from cream based ganache that sets when you roll it to its final ball shape. It sets, but it stays soft enough so that when you bite into your chocolate truffle, the chocolate just starts to melt in your mouth.
How do I thicken my chocolate ganache?
Chocolate ganache will eventually set and thicken no matter what, but you can control how much thickness you want to have. If you change the proportions of cream to chocolate, you can get either thinner chocolate ganache (more cream, alcohol or other water-based flavours) or thicker chocolate ganache (more chocolate).
Once your chocolate ganache cools down, you can whip it (either by a wooden spoon or an electronic whisk) to a lighter mixture, which sets pretty much immediately.
Can you make chocolate ganache a day ahead?
Yes, absolutely! I often make my chocolate ganache the day before I need it as it has the time to set nicely, rest and develop its flavours. Just make sure you store your chocolate truffle ganache in airtight container and place in the fridge ready for the next day.
Is ganache always made with chocolate?
Yes, you always need chocolate to make your chocolate ganache, but you can swap the cream part for any other liquid.
How long does it take ganache to set?
Depends on where you place it, but in room temperature, it can take up to 3-4 hrs, whereas in the fridge about 60 minutes.
How do I fix a chocolate ganache that’s too thick?
Providing that you’ve followed your recipe correctly and your chocolate ganache is the right consistency, and it’s just set (but not too thick), warm up your ganache gently in the microwave or a hob. You’ll loosen up your chocolate ganache by simply warming it up a little.
But, if for some reason you’ve made your ganache too thick, because you’ve added too much chocolate or not enough cream or a liquid, first of all, warm up your chocolate ganache to loosen up the texture and then add cream or the other liquid of your choice.
The amount will depend on how thick your chocolate ganache is. Gently stir in. Check the taste, ensuring that you still have the right flavour consistency and add more flavour if needed.
How do you fix split ganache?
Split ganache doesn’t look very appetising, and it’s difficult to work with. Fortunately, there are several ways to correct your split ganache. First of all, you can just add a couple of tablespoons of cold cream (double or single) and gently stir it in. That usually corrects the problem.
But if you either don’t have more cream or don’t want to make your chocolate ganache watery, there is another way. Bring to the boil about tablespoon of corn syrup (honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, golden syrup or molasses syrup). This could be done in the microwave or on a hob, but bear in mind that as this is such a small amount, it will take next to no time to boil.
Add a large dollop (heaped tablespoon) of your split chocolate ganache and gently stir in. You’ll instantly notice that the chocolate ganache starts to reform back to its lovely smooth texture. Once mixed in, gently add the smaller mixture into the rest of your chocolate ganache and very slowly stir in. The chocolate ganache will change back to smooth texture, and then it’s ready to use!
Should I refrigerate chocolate truffles?
The simple answer is: ‘No!’
Chocolate truffles should only go into the fridge if you are making them, as they need to set. Once made take them from the fridge and keep them in an airtight container in a dry, cool place.
If you buy your chocolate truffles at a farmers market or a shop, keep them in their original packaging and store in a dry, cool place and eat the within the recommended ‘best before date’.
Can you freeze chocolate truffle mixture?
Yes, you can, but only before you make it into your chocolate truffles. This is useful if you, for example, make too much chocolate truffle ganache or can’t finish making all your chocolate truffles at once. Simply pour your chocolate ganache into an airtight container, freeze for up to 1-2 months, defrost and use as required.
Once you make your chocolate truffles, you shouldn’t freeze them or place them in the fridge. The moisture and the coldness of the fridge will cause your chocolate truffles to bloom and similarly when you defrost your chocolate truffles (if you freeze them) you’ll get a bloom on our chocolates, and they are likely to crack (the difference in temperature will make your chocolate truffle shell to crack).
What makes a chocolate truffle a truffle?
Good question! A chocolate truffle is a usually made from a cream-based filling, called ganache and it’s often flavoured. This chocolate truffle mixture is traditionally rolled into small balls and rolled into melted chocolate and then rolled in cocoa powder, ground almonds or similar ground nuts or fruit powders.
What can I make with leftover ganache?
Any leftover ganache can be easily kept frozen for up to 2 months in an airtight container. Once defrosted, you can make more chocolate truffles.
If you want to use up your leftover ganache straight away, you can use it to top up any pudding, for example, spoon it to a glass, top with yoghurt or cream, add colourful sprinkles, and you have an after dinner treat!
You can also use leftover ganache instead of buttercream to cover your cupcakes or a cake.
Why are chocolate truffles called ‘truffles’?
Chocolate truffles were first made in France around 1895. Because of their shape, size and look, they were named after truffle mushrooms. The traditional chocolate truffles were coated in cocoa powder, were fairly rough and bumpy and looked like the savoury truffle mushrooms.
These days, chocolate truffles are often made in variously shaped moulds and colourful appearance. Sometimes you might hear people referring to these chocolate truffles as ‘pralines’, but pralines are strictly speaking just truffles with nut-based filling.
I'm sure that this is not exhaustive list of all the questions, so if you think about another question about chocolate truffle making, by all means drop it to the comments below and I'll do my best to answer them!