What Is a Chocolate Truffle?
Chocolate truffles are one of the most decadent desserts around. But what are they, where do they come from, and how do make them at home? Let's break this down.
What Is a Chocolate Truffle?
A truffle is a rich chocolate candy. The inside of a chocolate truffle consists of melted chocolate, butter, cream, nuts and different flavorings such as spirits or liqueurs, vanilla, coffee, and spices. The filling is then either rolled in unsweetened cocoa powder, chocolate sprinkles or shaved chocolate, or dipped in melted white or dark chocolate, which becomes a hard coating after it's cooled.
Chocolate Truffles vs. Truffle Mushrooms
Chocolate truffles got their name from their resemblance with fresh truffles, an expensive mushroom. To avoid confusion between the two, chocolate truffles are sometimes referred to as dessert truffles, and truffle mushrooms as natural truffles.
Truffle mushrooms are rare mushrooms that only grow in the wild near the roots of certain trees. Truffle hogs with their fine noses are specially trained to sniff out the mushrooms, which are then carefully dug up. Their rarity and labor-intensive harvesting are what makes truffle mushrooms so expensive.
Read more: What Is a Truffle Mushroom?
Chocolate Truffle History
According to legend, an apprentice of the famous French chef Auguste Escoffier invented truffles by mistake in the 1920s. The apprentice was attempting to make pastry cream, as the story goes, and accidentally poured hot cream into a bowl of chocolate chunks instead of a bowl of beaten eggs and sugar. Instead of throwing out the chocolate, he rolled with the punches and ended up with the very first French truffle.
French chocolatier Louis Dufour is at the center of another origin story for truffles. Legend has it that he invented truffles after running out of chocolates to sell to his customers on Christmas Day in the late 1800s.
Types of Chocolate Truffles
Chocolatiers around the world have adapted the truffle with different techniques, fillings, and ingredients. Here's what you need to know about the major types of chocolate truffles:
French truffles are made with fresh cream and chocolate. When the chocolate is set, the truffles are rolled in nut or cocoa powder.
To make Swiss truffles, melted chocolate is combined with a combination of boiling butter and cream. The truffles are poured into molds to set, then rolled in nut or cocoa powder.
Belgian truffles have a hard outer shell with a soft center. Common fillings include chocolate ganache, marzipan, buttercream, and nut pastes.
Unlike round European truffles, American truffles are oval-shaped. They're made with a mixture of dark and milk chocolates, butterfat, and sometimes coconut oil.
Spanish truffles, which often contain rum or another type of liqueur, are made with condensed milk and dark chocolate. They're often topped with chocolate sprinkles.
Canadian truffles (often called Harvey truffles) have a filling made with crushed graham crackers and peanut butter.
How to Make Truffles
Learn how to make chocolate truffles at home with one of our favorite recipes.
Easy Decadent Truffles
"Insanely easy, but oh so rich truffles!" raves reviewer Jenny Saunders. "This recipe makes a large amount but you can vary flavorings and coatings to make several different varieties."
Get the recipe: Easy Decadent Truffles
Salted Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Caramel Truffles
"Dark chocolate, hazelnut, and caramel were just made to be eaten together," says reviewer and Allrecipes Allstar MariaTheSoaper. "How can you resist the indulgent blend of sweet, nutty, with a dash of salt? It's perfect. They can be made up to a week before you want them, just cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving."
Get the recipe: Salted Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Caramel Truffles
"This is a great truffle recipe to use for holidays!" says Allrecipes community member thecookandbaker. "I give it out to friends and family at Christmas time."
Get the recipe: Coconut Truffles
For more inspiration, check out our collection of Truffle Recipes.