5 Ingredients or Fewer

Alice's House Truffles 4.0

February  7, 2014
8 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 64 truffles or more
Author Notes

I started my career making and selling bite-sized, hand-rolled, cocoa-dusted truffles in Berkeley in the early 1970s. The original recipe, from my French landlady, remains a treasure. I have updated it over the years to meet the challenges of food safety (the original recipe was made with raw egg yolks), new and better chocolates, and our changing taste buds. If you’ve followed me, you may think you already have this recipe once and for all, but I promise that you don’t. Today my house truffles have a touch of salt, a vastly easier method of heating the yolks, and a new, ultrasmooth texture. You cannot buy truffles like these. And if you love the idea of chocolate truffles with red wine, these are the most wine-friendly truffles you will ever find.

Rolling the truffles in cocoa to make them round is the step that takes the longest and makes the biggest mess. But you can skip it! Leave the truffles square. Rather than tossing them in the cocoa with your hands (messy) or with a utensil (which tends to dent them), simply pour them back and forth between two bowls until they are coated. Easy! —Alice Medrich

  • Truffle Ingredients
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (no more than 62% cacao), coarsely chopped
  • 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup (1 ounce) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably natural, or as needed
  • Equipment
  • Food processor
  • Fine-mesh strainer
  • 8-inch square baking pan, lined on the bottom and all sides with foil
In This Recipe
  1. Put the egg yolks in a small heatproof bowl, preferably stainless steel, and set the bowl in a large container of very hot water to heat the egg yolks until barely lukewarm. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, put the chocolate, butter, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl, preferably stainless steel, set it in a wide skillet of barely simmering water, and stir frequently until the chocolate and butter are melted and the mixture is smooth and quite warm. (If you have an instant-read thermometer, the temperature should be between 120° and 130°F.) Scrape the mixture into the food processor and set the strainer over the processor bowl.
  3. Bring ½ cup water to a boil in a very small saucepan or in a glass measure in the microwave. Remove the egg yolk bowl from the large container and immediately pour the boiling water steadily into the egg yolks, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula. (When the yolks and water are blended, the temperature should be at least 160°F.) Pour the mixture through the strainer into the food processor. Tap the strainer against the bowl to encourage all of the liquid to flow through, but don’t press on or mess with any bits of cooked egg in the strainer. Process the mixture for a few seconds, then scrape the bowl and process again for 20 or 30 seconds, or as long as it takes for the mixture to thicken and resemble satiny-smooth chocolate pudding. Scrape the mixture into the lined pan and spread it evenly. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate until firm, at least a few hours.
  4. To shape the truffles: Put half of the cocoa in a small bowl. Remove the baking pan from the refrigerator and use the liner to remove the truffle sheet. Invert it on a cutting board and peel off the liner. Cut the truffles into 1-inch squares (or smaller, if you prefer) and toss them in the cocoa powder, adding more cocoa as necessary. You can leave the truffles square or dust your hands with cocoa and roll them into balls. Shake the truffles gently in a coarse strainer to remove excess cocoa. Store the truffles, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  5. Remove the truffles from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving. Sift a little extra cocoa over them as necessary.

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My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).

33 Reviews

Cynthia C. February 13, 2022
These are lovely, easy to make and cute just in little squares rather than the usual, more time consuming round form. Definitely a keeper!
Chandler R. February 4, 2022
I really love this recipe and try to return to it every holiday season.
Tess February 21, 2016
I made this on the weekend despite my boyfriend asking why I was making these when we hate lindt truffles (the only kind I've had), and I'm happy to say we're both converts of this delicious and easy recipe! Some notes from the experience
- I have no baking experience and was able to pull this together (glossy chocolate and all) with no thermometer so don't be intimidated if you don't have one.
- I halved the recipe (used weight measurements, not cups) and used a glass 10cm x 10cm container lined with foil which worked perfectly.
- I used a stick immersion blender instead of a food processor and got fantastic results, but really had to blend for a long time. Probably around 4 minutes stopping and starting to get the pudding like consistency asked for. This step is worth it!
- in the hot australian summer I had to stick with square cuts since the two i tried to make into balls were a mess. I cut the 10cm x 10cm truffle into 5 rows, and stuck the rows in the freezer while i dealt with each row individually, cutting them into smaller squares and coating them in cocoa. In between dealing with the rows i would also wipe down the knife and stick it in the freezer for a few minutes to ensure good, neat cuts.
- i roasted some hazelnuts, halved them and stuck them on top at the end and to add some crunch and conpliment the beautiful chocolaty flavour. Next time i think i will chop the hazelnuts and add them to the actual truffle before refrigeration.
- it's worth buying the most delicious eating chocolate for this. You'll taste the difference.
- ive refrigerated and frozen some and all have been delicious and easy to bring to room temperature. A great treat to have tucked away for when guests come over!
Thanks for the great recipe!
schmoopster December 17, 2015
Soooo good!
PJ December 9, 2015
Watch out for Alice’s truffles because she’ll ruin you for life. Having frequented her shop, Cocolat in San Francisco (loved my Cocolat t-shirt), I’ve never found a truffle as delectable and melt-in-your mouth satisfying as hers. Now I don’t have to worry about trying to find a truffle treasure because I can make my own.
Amit February 16, 2015
What if I can't use Eggs? Any alternative for it in this particular recipe?
KB May 22, 2018
Amit, Alice's book Bittersweet has the recipe for "Cold Creamy Truffles" that has NO eggs. http://members.cruzio.com/~zdino/bookReviews/alice.medrich.chocolate.htm I don't think you will miss eggs in chocolate truffles! Nowadays, even feather-weight cakes are made vegan. For this recipe, you could try about 7 teaspoons of homemade egg-free mayonnaise.
Joanie February 10, 2015
These were divine. I added espresso powder. You could also add some yummy extracts like hazelnut or praline.
Two T. February 9, 2015
Another winner from Alice! So good! Creamy, delicious. I have to admit that the first time I read the recipe I thought it would be difficult with the yolk, hot water, temperature, etc. Au contraire. Once you get going and physicalize the actions it all makes sense. When we had them for dessert I was able to say, "I made these?" And that is satisfying. I love the fact that egg yolk and butter are used as I never seem to have heavy cream around.
Jesse G. December 2, 2014
Just made these and they are absolutely delicious! Just wondering if anyone has suggestions as to how to flavour them, perhaps with a liqueur? How much would I need, and in what step would I add it?
Jeff H. November 21, 2014
My first attempt never got matte and silky. It stayed shiny and slightly greasy in the food processor. I believe I followed the recipe exactly. Any idea what I did wrong?
Ornella H. March 27, 2014
Is there a specific purpose to using the food processor or can the same effect be created by hand?
KelseyB March 2, 2014
Made these with cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Really tasty. Smooth & Creamy. I couldn't get the egg yolks up to temperature though.
Tim February 20, 2014
I made these over the weekend. They are melt-in-your-mouth delicious!! I've shared them with a number of friends and no one has yet to complain. Be sure to let them sit at room temp for 10-15 minutes before eating them. The wait is worth it!
Gilda B. February 15, 2014
Gilda B. February 15, 2014
Happy Valentine's Day to you and your husband!! I don't blame you guys for eating them all!!! I hope you don't feel like an episode of "THE CAT IN THE HAT"..and if you do, just make another batch of truffles!!! HAHAHHA!!!
Julie February 14, 2014
Oh. My. God. I made these tonight for Valentine's Day, with my blender, as suggested in reply to my earlier comment by Alice. My husband is lucky there are any left. We sat in front of the TV with a small plateful and I waited a couple of minutes before I decided I really wanted a third truffle. There wasn't anything on the plate -- we love us some chocolate! -- and my husband had this guilty look on his face, accompanied by puffed out cheeks and proceeded to blame the cat. Thank you, Alice, for a lovely Valentine's Day treat!
megtubman February 12, 2014
Does over processing once all ingredients are combined cause the oil to separate from the chocolate?
DrTeresa February 11, 2014
If you do any more cooking classes in the bay area and want a cooking assistant volunteer, i would love too! tmyers4096 at gmail.com
Hannah R. February 11, 2014
As the egg is cooked, I am wondering if it is safe to ship these through the mail as Valentines' gifts- or do they need to be kept at refrigeration temperature?
German February 11, 2014
Question from accidental experience: Has anybody ever left a nice ganache outside the refrigerator by accident, and found it a bit fermented the next morning? It happened to me the other day, and found that the flavor and aroma had gotten so much more complex and profound... it's hard to describe, but it seemed like it was somehow a rhum ganache or something like this. I am trying to make it more systemic, in order to reproduce at will. I need to control the fermentation process. Anybody with previous experience in this field? Thanks!
Marty February 11, 2014
Thank you for the reply. I hadn't thought of your reference to chicken and it makes sense. I appreciate your help.