Belgian Chocolate Truffles

by Eddy Van Damme on November 18, 2009

Belgian Chocolate truffles

How to make truffles

The food reputation of the Belgians is flawless. For a country with only 10.5 million people, they are known for producing a variety of foods with an impeccable standard. Delicate waffles, amazing Belgian endive, a tremendous variety of delicious and aromatic beers and certainly their chocolates. Belgian chocolates are distinctive, instead of being primarily based on ganache; they are made with an enormous variety of fillings, textures and flavors.

Creaming butter for truffles

While for example the French make most of their chocolates using a ganache filling, a mixture of cream, chocolate, invert sugar and flavorings. The Belgians stick with what they are famous for. Delicious and diverse chocolates made with nougatine, fruit fillings, crème fraiche, caramelized nuts, creams, liquors, nut pastes, multiple layered confections all in one and the list goes on. Oftentimes Belgian chocolates do not look like the rest. This is partly due to the fact that many of the interiors or the fillings are complex and to a great extent that Belgians are not afraid of expressing their own style.

truffle filling

Several Belgian chocolate fillings are based on butter instead of heavy cream. Butter has an advantage over heavy cream since it contains much less water and therefore will stay longer fresh. Fillings made with butter tend to be velvety and have a superb melt in the mouth quality, exactly what I adore. Oftentimes these types of filling can be whipped to a light consistency yet retaining all flavor aspects. These types of fillings also lend themselves to be shaped or piped into most any types of shapes.

pipping truffles

Growing up in Belgium we always had (and my parents still have to this day) a minimum of 2-3 pounds (1-1.5 kg) of chocolates in the house. It is just always there, a way of life. My home refrigerator does not really contain much less I must admit. My first formal training in chocolate started when I was only 19 in pastry school in Antwerp. How much I loved that class, being taught by Roger Geerts was a treat. Still to this day, working with chocolate is special to me. There is a certain respect I have for chocolate which is hard to put in words. It was in school where I first learned how desired Belgian chocolates were in the rest of the world. For some reason it sparked my interest in moving to America even further.

dipping truffles in tempered chocolate

If you decide to make chocolates, use the best quality butter. In America most butter contains about 80% butterfat, which is too low to make excellent chocolates. However, if you look around a bit you can easily find “European style butter” with about 82%-85% butterfat. These types of butter will allow you to cream the mixture just right and give you a perfect consistency and mouth feel.

truffles in couverture chocolate

tempered couverture chocolate

Getting it all together!

It goes without saying that only excellent quality chocolate can be used for making chocolates, poor quality is just that and will not give you the results you are after. The truffles are rolled in cocoa powder mixed with powdered sugar. An excellent ratio is 70% cocoa and 30% powdered sugar. The truffles will easily last 3 weeks in a well sealed container in the refrigerator but should be served at room temperature for the best flavor experience.

truffles in cocoa powder

Belgian Truffles

Yield: 50 truffles
2 Sticks (8 oz) Unsalted butter, best quality 240 g
5 Tablespoons (3 oz) Invert sugar (recipe on this site) 90 g
1 lb 2 oz (1 lb 2 oz) Milk chocolate (38-40% cocoa content) 500g
¼ Cup (2 oz) Cognac 60 g
1 lb 8 oz (1 lb 8 oz) Semi or bittersweet chocolate couverture 750 g
  1. Cream the room temperature butter until light and fluffy. Add the invert sugar and cream more.
  2. Melt the first listed chocolate to 95°F (34°C) and add the chocolate in this temperature to the creamed butter. Mix well and add the liquor, mix until combined.
  3. Let the mixture set for several minutes until it sets firm enough to pipe into even mounds. Do not place the truffles in a refrigerator. Let set in a cool area until firm.
  4. Temper the couverture chocolate as shown on this site and dip the truffles into the couverture chocolate.
  5. Immediately place on best quality cocoa powder. Cocoa powder can be mixed with 30% powdered sugar for flavor balance.
  6. Carefully roll the dipped truffles into the cocoa powder ensuring not to stick the fork into the truffle cream itself.
  7. When firm shake off extra cocoa powder and place in a refrigerator. Serve at room temperature for full flavor experience.

Belgian chocolate truffles

58 comments on “Belgian Chocolate Truffles

  1. This is exactly what I have been wanting to make for a long time. Thank you for posting this recipe. Since you are from Belgium I am sure that this is a true Belgian truffle recipe.
    Manuel.

  2. Jennifer on said:

    Right on time! Every recipe I have made from this site is excellent. I will make these for the holidays.

  3. oh my gosh I am so trying this thanks so much for sharing

  4. Chef Van Damme, Thank you for all the information, you’re the best!

    Toby.

  5. OMG, these are a must! Delicious!

  6. Wow. The photos! What a great post.

  7. WOW so impressive and your step by step photos are wonderful and so helpful!!

  8. I’m thinking of making these for Christmas and I would like to make them alcohol free.
    If I omit the alcohol will it affect the texture of the filling? Could I replace it with a very good extract instead?

    Thanks 😀

  9. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Pam!
    Yes you can make these alcohol free. You could for example crush some instant coffee and cream the coffee powder into the butter until dissolved or, like you mentioned, a good extract. Add the extracts to the butter and taste for strength.
    All the best Pam and thank you for your question,
    Eddy.

  10. Hilary Adams on said:

    Chef Eddy, I want to grow up and be just like you! Everything you post is so amazing and I just can’t wait to try it all! And it’s so hard to not want to try it all NOW! ;0)

    I have never tried any chocolates… I’ve kinda been scared to. LOVE the step by step pictures you always post. They make the project less daunting… make it look so do-able.

    Thanks for your commitment to sharing what you know. This is so neat! As always, I can’t wait to try these!

    Hilary

  11. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hilary,

    Thank you for your very kind comments. I would say it is time to make some truffles for the holidays!
    Cheers, Eddy.

  12. Kathryn Herod on said:

    Hi Chef Eddy,

    I tried these truffles tonight and they turned out fantastically! I substituted the cognac for some cherry kirsch. As far as the other traditionally Belgian fillings, would just omit the chocolate and replace it with creme fraiche (and would this need to be chilled/almost frozen first) or chopped nuts? You’re truly an inspiration to my growing passion for baking. Thanks!

    Kathryn

  13. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Kathryn,

    Thank you for your kind comments. Kirsch is delicious with chocolate and I bet the truffles were delicious. Replacing the chocolate with creme fraiche would in this particular recipe not work since chocolate is the “Setting or firming” agent in this filling. Pretty soon I will post more chocolates on the site. Thank you for visiting Kathryn!
    Eddy.

  14. Jen Towers on said:

    These look amazing. I want to make them but have always had trouble dipping the filling into the chocolate without it melting/getting dropped in. What is the tool that you use to dip them?
    Thanks
    Jen

  15. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Jen,
    The best tool to use are specific chocolate dipping forks. They are made of very thin steel sometimes coated with tin and make it easy to slide the chocolates off the fork. For truffles a plastic fork can work as well.
    Thank you for your question Jen,
    Eddy.

  16. I see you have already answered to the tool question, so i just came to say that the pics are really mouthwatering and thank you for all the information! :)

  17. these look like the perfect gift. my dipped truffles always look messy, but i think that little tool might be the solution. thanks!

  18. Diana Wallace on said:

    I can’t wait to make these for Christmas orders!

  19. Hi Chef Eddy,

    I was wondering, since American butter only has 80% butterfat, would ghee work in place of European style butter? Awesome blog, by the way!!!
    Thanks,
    Jeana

  20. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Jeana,
    It is important to cream the butter to incorporate air cells and thus make it light. I have not done this with ghee and therefore I am not sure if you can fully achieve a light creamy batter if made with ghee.
    Thank you for your question Jeana.
    Eddy.

  21. Are the truffles supposed to have a strong butter flavor or did I not cream the butter enough?

  22. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Ray,

    No, they should not have a strong butter flavor at all. Did you add Cognac or other liquor? Liquor cuts away any butter flavor. Also, if the butter is not fresh, it is possible to obtain a strong unwanted butter flavor. If you used milk chocolate that did not have the right cocoa mass content, (less then 38%) you will detect less chocolate flavor and more of the other ingredients-such as butter.
    Once dipped in chocolate, was the butter flavor still noticeable?
    Eddy.

  23. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Ray,
    Forgot… indeed if the butter is not creamed well, the mixture will be heavy and buttery.
    Eddy.

  24. I made a batch with and without the cognac, it was more noticeable with it. Now that the chocolate hardened it is mostly gone even if it seems a bit heavy still. This is a great site and I cant wait to try this and more of your recipes, thanks.

  25. joanneke matser on said:

    Hi Eddy van Damme,
    great recipe for chocolate truffles, it turned out very well!
    I only had trouble with step two, since it did not mix well. The grease was not binding with the rest of the mixture. Do you have any idea as why this might be? I am living in Denver, so I do have to deal with high altitude here. I scooped out the grease and the truffles still turned out delightful. I even used the left over couverture chocolate and mixed it with whipped cream to make chocolate mousse. Thank you so much for this great recipe!

  26. making these right now with remy martin and dark chocolate with candied orange peel in it….seriously drooling

  27. Hi Chef,

    These look absolutely amazing! I’m really looking forward to trying out this recipe! Question before I do, though: I already have a supply of glucose syrup, which is what I use in most of my ganaches. Could I replace the invert sugar in this recipe with glucose syrup, or would that be a bad idea?

    Thanks for sharing all these great recipes with us!

  28. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Eva,
    You can. I just prefer invert sugar since in all my testing invert sugar always surpasses corn syrup.
    Eddy

  29. Matthew McDonald on said:

    I tried these last Christmas and they were phenomenal, I am going to do them again these year, but was thinking about puttign a Canadian twist on it and using maple syrup instead of invert sugar, would that work?

  30. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Matthew, it can work. What I suggest you do is bring the maple syrup to a boil and reduce it to about half. (Basically, take 6 oz or 180 g maple syrup and reduce it to 3 oz or 90 g)
    Best Holiday wishes, Eddy

  31. We don’t drink and that means none whatsoever, even for cooking. What can I use instead of liquor for this recipe? My husband just returned from Belgium recently and our supply of “real” Belgian truffles is gone :( Since we’ve been spoiled now we can’t stand the taste of anything else!

  32. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    You can make the truffles without the liquor. If desired add some orange or grapefruit zest.
    Eddy.

  33. Jonathan on said:

    Hi, I am planning to use the filling in chocolate praline moulds. Do you think it will work with that application. Also if I plan to give them as gifts, do I have to refrigerate the truffles. Thanks and I love your web-page it very informative.

  34. Winger on said:

    Hi Chef Eddy

    This website is fantastic and a much needed source for an aspiring pastry chef! I’m just wondering how the Belgians make their chocolates for long term shelf life? The butter is obviously the problem here, so would they use clarified butter or even a completely different substitute?

    How would clarified butter react in the composition and flavour of chocolates? Without the milk solids, could you use powdered milk to mimic the taste of pure butter?

    Cheers,
    Winger

  35. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Winger,
    To give chocolates or truffles a longer shelf life, oftentimes the butter is replaced with vegetable fat. However clarified butter, sweetened condensed milk or dry butter solids are also used. Certain fillings will basically not spoil at all. For example the “better quality” seashells chocolates are filled with hazelnut paste and has a very long shelf life at non refrigerated temperatures.
    Thank you very much for stopping by. We love visiting your country by the way!
    Eddy.

  36. Winger on said:

    Thanks Eddy! Yeah Ireland’s cool but the weather leaves a lot to be desired! :) I made the truffles the other day and they turned out amazing. I’m going to try them with your other suggestions for a longer shelf life. That way I can make them as stocking fillers for Christmas time. A Belgian praline made from hazelnut paste will probably be the nicest I reckon.

    Thanks again and if you ever fancy training a protégé, I’ll pack my bags and leave here in a heartbeat! 😀
    Winger

  37. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    I will try to place some recipes for chocolates with a long shelf life on my site.
    All the best,
    Eddy.

  38. CHRIS DRAPER on said:

    Made these truffles last time came out great this time did the same but the butter cognac and milk chocolate will not harden can you tell me why used the correct temp and right fillings is there something I could add to make it go harder it is very liquid

  39. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Chris,
    I replied several days ago but it seems like it did not go pass the system….sorry!
    If everything was scaled correctly it could be: 1, the butter was too soft and or the milk chocolate was too hot, when these two warm products were combined the butter partially melted. When this happens it will not solidify completely….Chocolate is the major firming agent here so you can add some more melted chocolate to the butter mixture.
    Please let me know if you need more help,
    Eddy

  40. Sara Lipari on said:

    Hi, how long does this take to make?

  41. Janette on said:

    I am excited to make these truffles but want to do so without the alcohol. Do I need to add an equal amount of another liquid to maintain the consistency needed or can I omit the alcohol without a problem?

  42. Hi
    I really loved these truffles. They taste so good. the only problem is that when i dip them in the chocolote they kind of melt. What temperature should I have the chocolate before i dip the truffle? Also, my melted chocolate was not so thin rather thick which made it more difficult to cover the truffles with chocolate. Why could this be?

    What other tastes could i use for these truffles?

  43. LeLe :) on said:

    Hi there, I was just wondering where the recipe for the Invert Sugar is?. Thanks

  44. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi LeLe,
    Please check out the link in the ingredient list.
    My best, Eddy

  45. hai vonguyen on said:

    Great!!! Wow, these are the best.

  46. Hey, made one lot of these, but as soon as i put the butter and choc together i knew something was wrong.. Then realised i had the temperature of the choc too high, so the end result, although delicious was nowhere near solid enough. Tried again re-reading all your advice, and bringing the choc to the correct temperature before risking my precious Cherry Marnier Liquor (very hard to get here in Australia). This turned out perfectly. I wanted to say thanks as recipe’s are simple to find, but finding a site with so much advice and someone who’s willing to take the time to help makes all the difference when attempting something new, to either give up or try again. So thank you!

  47. Hi Chef Eddy

    I was wondering if corn syrup would work to make these truffles since the invert sugar seemed a little to complicated to make, or if there are any substitutes at all.

    Thanks!
    Chloe

  48. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Chloe,
    That will work as well.
    Eddy

  49. ola!!!
    Não poderia ser melhor achar aqui uma receita de trufas verdadeiramente por um chef da belgica com chocolate tb da belgica isso ai é muita sorte fico muito feliz amo trufas! obrigada ,se possivel gostaria de outras receitas de trufas no meu e-mail kkkk beijos

  50. Thank you for this recipe. I have been buying Belgian Truffles for few years and the only time I can get them is at Christmas. I am happy to get this recipe so I can have it all year long if i want it. Thanks again.

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