Champagne truffles—made with bittersweet chocolate, cream, brandy, and, natch, bubbly—are homemade orbs of dessert spectacularness gilded in ganache. A perfect food gift or cocktail party conversation starter.
- Quick Glance
- 2 H, 25 M
- 8 H, 15 M
- Makes 40 to 50
Special Equipment: Disposable piping or pastry bag or squeeze bottle
- For the ganache
- For the Champagne truffles
Toss the chopped chocolates in a bowl.
Dump the cream and salt in a small saucepan or pot over low heat and bring to a gentle boil when bubbles just start to appear. Immediately pour the warm cream over the chocolate, stir briefly, and then set aside for 3 minutes to let the chocolate melt. Stir again to ensure the chocolate is melted and smooth. (If the chocolate isn’t completely melted, it can be gently rewarmed in a microwave at 50% power in 5-second increments or in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.)
Add the Champagne and brandy to the melted chocolate and stir until you have a smooth, shiny ganache. Let cool at room temperature for 3 to 5 hours. (Alternately, you can cover and stash the ganache mixture overnight in the fridge.)
If using chocolate truffle spheres*, remove the protective lid on the chocolate spheres and leave them in their plastic holder ready to fill. Scoop the cooled ganache into a disposable piping or pastry bag or squeeze bottle. Pipe enough ganache into each sphere to fill it and use a metal spatula to scrape across the opening in order to achieve a perfectly flat surface that will become the truffle bottom. Return to the holder and let set in a cool, dark place. If the ganache becomes too stiff to pipe, it can be gently rewarmed in a microwave at 50% power in 5-second increments or in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. If you are hand rolling the truffles, gently form the ganache into 1- to 1 1/2-inch diameter spheres, place on a rimmed baking sheet or in a resealable container, and refrigerate until you’re ready to coat them in chocolate.
After you’ve tempered the dark or bittersweet chocolate, place it in a shallow bowl. Sift the confectioners sugar and cornstarch together in a bowl and spread half the mixture on a rimmed baking sheet or large plate. If using cocoa powder, sift it into a bowl and spread half the mixture on a rimmed baking sheet or large plate.
Line another rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip a truffle in the tempered chocolate to coat. Remove from the chocolate using a dipping fork, tapping the fork on the side of the bowl to allow any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Gently place each truffle on the baking sheet or plate with the confectioners sugar and sift the remaining mixture in the bowl over the top and sides so each truffle is evenly coated. Carefully transfer the coated truffles to the lined baking sheet to set before serving. Repeat with the remaining truffles, coating half with cocoa powder in place of confectioners sugar if desired. Place the truffles on a plate, loosely cover, and refrigerate for up to several days. For the most insanely creamy Champagne truffles experience, bring to room temperature prior to indulging.
*What Are Truffle Spheres?
Truffle spheres or shells are perfectly round, premade chocolate shells that can be filled with ganache to create impressive and professional-looking homemade truffles. You can buy them online and at some specialty stores. They’re really not essential unless you want truffles that are perfectly round.
Recipe Testers' Tips
Little bites of perfection! These Champagne truffles turned out beautifully—they were a simple and elegant end to dinner and the recipe makes a generous amount so I was able to send my guests home with little care packages—a necessary precaution otherwise I would have been tempted to eat them all myself! The finished product was beautiful—the crack of the tempered chocolate was a nice contrast to the creamy filling and the combination of the Champagne and Cognac gave a slightly boozy sophistication to the dark chocolate ganache.
I made the ganache a day ahead of time and refrigerated it overnight. The next day I formed the truffles by hand, chilled them again, and then dipped them in the tempered chocolate. They held their shape well throughout the dipping process and the chocolate hardened almost immediately on the chilled truffle mixture. I rolled some of the truffles in the confectioners sugar and some in sifted cocoa powder.
I recommend making these a day in advance to let the flavors develop and serving at room temperature to best appreciate the creamy filling. There wasn't enough heat in from the cream to fully melt the chocolate after waiting the 3 minutes, so I put the chocolate and cream mixture over simmering water to finish melting. At this point, the chocolate looked greasy and not as creamy as I would have expected; however, it came together nicely once I added the prosecco and brandy. I refrigerated the mixture overnight and it was quite stiff enough to shape by hand—no shells or molds required. I also used the tempering instructions from the site using good couverture and it worked well.
Rolling the truffles in the sugar was a little like gilding the lily—they didn't really need it—but I did some in cocoa and some in confectioners sugar. If the chocolate hadn't tempered (and my success rate with tempering chocolate is about 1 out of 3) that coating step would cover any errors or streaking. They would still taste delicious—but the tempered chocolate was shiny and beautiful on its own. Very professional looking. Very delicious.
Years ago, while exploring one of the neighborhoods in San Francisco, my husband and I stumbled upon this beautiful Swiss confectionery that made the most luscious Champagne truffles. They were reminiscent of nothing we had ever tasted before—a thin, crisp chocolate outer coat yielded to a silky smooth interior tasting noticeably of Champagne. A dusting of confectioners sugar on the outside of the truffles left signs of their consumption on our lips. While I haven’t thought about those truffles in years, this recipe transported me back in time to that little shop. A mix of milk and dark chocolate ganache makes a wonderful base on which the Champagne, that gets a flavor boost from the addition of a couple teaspoons of Cognac, can play.
The chocolate truffle spheres aren’t necessary if the ganache is cooled for 3 to 4 hours as it becomes firm enough to work with by hand. While these dipped truffles can be made free form by hand, the use of chocolate spheres allows one to produce a consistent and very professional-looking end product where every truffle looks exactly the same. Just pop these beauties into a candy box and your friends will ask, with disbelief in their voices, “Did you really make these yourself?”
I found that a squeeze bottle was much easier to manipulate than a piping bag when filling the truffle spheres. Also, I would increase the quantity of chocolate for the coating by 25% to 30%. It will create some waste, but ensures that each truffle will get an even coating.