5 Ingredients or Fewer

White Chocolate Fennel Truffles

March 19, 2013
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 15 to 20 truffles, depending on size
Author Notes

Ever since trying a fennel-flavored milk reduction that was paired with a thick, rich chocolate pudding at a supper club a few months ago, I have been obsessed with adding fennel to sweet dishes, and these little truffles might be my favorite recipe so far.

Adding fennel to chocolate is an unusual combination, but it totally works. The subtle spice combined with the sea salt flakes cuts through the richness of the white chocolate ganache and makes this a lovely grown-up after-dinner treat. —Sophia R

Test Kitchen Notes

The magic starts with the toasting of the fennel seeds, which smell at first like brown sugar, then butterscotch, then toast, then toasted nuts. Infusing the crushed seeds in the cream brings out that telltale licorice flavor, and the finished bite is a flavor ride through the bitter cocoa, sweet white chocolate, and crunchy salt (I used Maldon in about half the amount, which was plenty for me). Fennel-seed lovers will be thrilled with these; everyone else will be converted. —vvvanessa

What You'll Need
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  1. Start by toasting the fennel seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant. Crush in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Gently heat the cream together with the crushed fennel seeds. Once the cream starts steaming, turn off the heat and let the cream infuse for 30 minutes. Strain and discard the fennel seeds.
  3. Re-heat the cream until just below the boiling point and pour over the chopped white chocolate. Stir until all the chocolate is melted. Let cream cool until it is thick enough to shape truffles (you can place it in the fridge for a few hours if you want to speed up the process).
  4. Grab teaspoon-sized chunks of the ganache and roll into rough balls. Sprinkle sea salt flakes over the truffles and roll in the cocoa powder. Finish with a single sea salt crystal.
  5. The truffles should keep for 1 week if kept in the fridge. If not serving right away, re-dust with coca powder just before serving.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Franca
  • Daniel Mattock
    Daniel Mattock
  • QuasiSiciliana
  • Sophia R
    Sophia R
  • Miranda Kowalczyk
    Miranda Kowalczyk
Hi, my name is Sophia and I have a passion (ok, maybe it is veering towards an obsession) for food and all things food-related: I read cookbooks for entertainment and sightseeing for me invariably includes walking up and down foreign supermarket aisles. I love to cook and bake but definitely play around more with sweet ingredients. Current obsessions include all things fennel (I hope there is no cure), substituting butter in recipes with browned butter, baking with olive oil, toasted rice ice cream, seeing whether there is anything that could be ruined by adding a few flakes of sea salt and, most recently, trying to bridge the gap between German, English and Italian Christmas baking – would it be wrong to make a minced meat filled Crostata?

18 Reviews

Franca February 14, 2017
After reading a couple of the comments, I upped the chocolate a tap and reduced the cream. Still not setting :(
Sophia R. February 19, 2017
Sorry to hear that Franca - what type of cream did you use? The recipe requires heavy cream which has a fat percentage of 38 per cent. So if you used anything with a lower fat percentage that would explain why yours did not set.
Daniel M. August 20, 2015
Is 'heavy' cream the same as full fat cream? Or clotted?
Miranda K. August 21, 2015
Full fat, I'd guess. Our heavy cream is usually about 35% fat, if that help you.
The U.S. doesn't really have anything like clotted cream.
Daniel M. August 22, 2015
Thanks for the help, as much as I like this site the ingredients can be confusing
Miranda June 16, 2014
Out of curiosity, I re-weighed the cream after straining out the fennel. I'd lost about 30% of the liquid. in professional recipes, one adds fresh cream into the steeped cream to replace the lost amount. The amount you lose will vary a bit each time you make the recipe, which Is probably why one commenter's ganache didn't set - she lost less liquid than the recipe intended. Something to think about for your next truffle recipe!
Sophia R. February 19, 2017
Thanks for your comment. But I am surprised the fennel seeds would absorb that much cream. Did you weigh the cream before and after or did you just gauge by eye how much the cream reduced by?
Yoko F. March 31, 2014
If you like this combo, get this! My friend's father owns an ice cream shop in Dupont Circle in Washington D.C. He has some amazingly creative flavors, of which Cardamom & Almond is my favorite. It was such an unexpected surprise to enjoy cardamom in a sweet and cool ice cream but it's the tits. A nod to Indian desserts. I'm sure it has a home in other sweet treats too.
Cassie N. February 20, 2014
where is a good online source for white chocolate that's gluten free?
Sophia R. February 21, 2014
Unfortunately I don't - I did not even realize there was such a thing as gluten-free white chocolate. I would try buying it online or at a well-stocked health-food store like Whole Foods. Have a look at the glutenfreegirl blog as well - she might know some stockists. Good luck!
isthatafishinyourear August 15, 2013
Followed this recipe exactly but could not for the life of me get these to set. NOt sure what went wrong.
Sophia R. September 2, 2013
Sorry to hear you had trouble with the recipe. Even if your kitchen is very hot once you place the truffle mixture in the fridge it should eventually firm up enough to allow you to shape your truffles (and if your kitchen is really hot I would keep the truffles in the fridge until you want yo eat them). Did you place the mixture in the fridge to firm up or did you leave it at room temperature?
isthatafishinyourear September 2, 2013
I placed them in the fridge after about fifteen minutes, seeing that they weren't making progress. I left the mixture in there for about three hours in the hope that it would be firm enough to form into balls, but it wasn't. It was winter in Australian when I tried making them, so I can't imagine it was due to the heat in my kitchen. I did pass the mixture through a very fine sieve to get the crushed fennel seeds out, perhaps that had something to do with making it too sloppy?
Sophia R. September 11, 2013
Hm, the only other thing I can suggest is to reduce the amount of cream you used, maybe start with 1/4 cup and see whether the truffles will firm up?
QuasiSiciliana March 30, 2013
Oh. Sweet. Lord. YES. These sound amazing ...
Sophia R. April 2, 2013
Thank you! They are absolutely delicious (and very easy to make as well). Let me know if you try them!
QuasiSiciliana April 16, 2013
I did, indeed, try them and they are, indeed, both easy and delicious. A well-deserved Community Pick. They even won over a fennel-sceptic and a white chocolate-hater, so they *must* be good!
Sophia R. April 17, 2013
Thank you so much for your comment QuasiSiciliana - that just made my day! And the fact that they even convinced both fennel-sceptics and white chocolate-haters, well I don't think I could ask for better feedback than this!