Makes about 50 truffles
These truffles are beautiful to look at and make for a very special treat. Although I use hazelnuts here, don’t hesitate to use other nuts or even a variety of nuts. If you do use other nuts (macadamia nuts would make an interesting choice), replace the hazelnut extract with pure vanilla extract.
8 ounces bittersweet (at least 70% cacao) chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure hazelnut extract
½ cup sifted unsweetened dark cocoa powder
About 50 toasted hazelnuts
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of very hot water.
Place the cream in a small saucepan over low heat and cook just until bubbles appear around the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the melting chocolate. Let it sit for about 30 seconds. Add the extract and, using a wooden spoon, beat the cream into the chocolate. When completely blended, set aside to cool. When cool, cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper and set aside.
Place the cocoa powder in a large shallow bowl or plate and set aside.
Using a small melon- baller or your hands, scoop up a small amount (about 1 teaspoon) of the chilled chocolate. Push a toasted hazelnut into the chocolate ganache and then re-form the chocolate into a small, evenly shaped ball surrounding the nut. Drop the ball into the cocoa powder and lightly toss to coat. Transfer to the waxed paper– lined baking sheet and continue making truffles.
Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in layers separated by waxed paper in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Bring back to room temperature before serving.
NOTE: Instead of cocoa powder, you can roll the truffles in about 1 cup very finely chopped hazelnuts, but this will change the nutritional analysis substantially.
Nutritional Analysis per Serving (1 truffle): calories 44, carbohydrates 3 g, fiber 1 g, protein 1 g, fat 4 g, sodium 1 mg, sugar 2 g