There's not a much better gift you can give any time of year than a box of homemade chocolate truffles. They are really easy to make, and everyone is always so impressed. This variation on the basic truffle is a little nod to the Perugina Baci. Gianduja (chocolate combined with hazelnuts) is a very Italian variety that is incredibly delicious. —ChefJune
about 25 truffles about 3/4-inch in diameter
best quality semisweet chocolate, cut into small chunks
unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
large egg yolks
Whole toasted hazelnuts
Cocoa for your hands while rolling
For coating choose from cocoa powder, about 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate or finely chopped nuts
Melt chocolate in double boiler over shimmering water. (It is very important that no water get into the chocolate, or it will seize.) Carefully remove the chocolate from the heat and stir the butter in gradually, until mixture is smooth. (European style butters work best because they have a lower water content.)
Stir some of the chocolate into the yolks (stirring constantly), then stir the yolks into the chocolate.
Replace the bowl over the hot water over low heat and stir gently for about 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in liqueur or other flavoring.
Place bowl over an ice bath and stir constantly until mixture cools enough to hold a definite shape. Using rounded teaspoonfuls for each truffle, drop mounds on a piece of waxed paper. Let stand until firm enough to roll between your palms (coated with cocoa) into somewhat uneven round shapes. Finely grate the chocolate and use that for a second coating.
Truffles may be refrigerated or frozen, but should be served at room temperature.