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Chocolate Truffles

When I first made truffles, I asked a local bakery for their smallest box and lined it at home with parchment paper. Surprisingly, it made quite an elegant container. I use candy cups when I want to put the rinds and truffles in the same box. And don't skimp on the quality of the ingredients -- the finest chocolate and the freshest cream will make the best truffle.

11 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces (Valhrona 56% and Scharffen Berger 62% are good choices)

1 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (you can substitute 2 tablespoons of liqueur for 2 tablespoons of butter)

1/2 cup cocoa powder (again, the best you can find)

1. Place the chocolate in a stainless steel bowl. Bring cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Allow to stand for a minute and then stir gently until the chocolate melts completely, being careful not to create bubbles.

2. Add the butter in two stages, stirring steadily. Once the butter is fully incorporated, the ganache should be smooth and glossy with no oil slick on the surface.

3. The ganache needs to set until it is firm. It can cool at room temperature for an hour and then be refrigerated for 2-3 hours, or be refrigerated overnight.

3. When you are ready to make the truffles, line a baking sheet with parchment and put the cocoa in a bowl. Ensure your hands are clean and dry, then dust them with cocoa.

4. Take spoonfuls of the ganache (teaspoons or tablespoons depending on how large you want your truffles to be) and roll them into a ball. This will also warm the chocolate slightly so the cocoa will stick.

5. Drop each shaped truffle into the bowl of cocoa until completely covered. (You can also roll the truffles in coconut, chopped macadamia nuts or pistachios, or crushed chocolate cookie crumbs.)

6. The truffles can then be returned to the refrigerator and kept for up to 2 days stored in an airtight container. Let them come to room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving.

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