Lavender And Espresso Truffles
Christmas is right around the corner isn’t it?! I am fully in the holiday spirit, at least I think I am. No, I know I am once I get home, close the door and start baking and filling boxes with goodies to be shipped off to friends and given to the family on Christmas day. Indeed, it’s been a little strange looking at snowmen and pine trees while we were in shorts today…no kidding. Well, B. was because I am a "frileuse" as we say back home; always chilly. I am currently living winter vicariously through my pal Jen in Colorado who keeps filling my head with pictures of snow, ice, skiing and delicious holiday treats while I am rolling truffles.
We all have our traditions comes Christmas and there are a couple that my family never miss. My grandmother was famous for her marzipan stuffed dates and walnuts while since I was old enough to hold a spatula, I have been the one making truffles. I flew home the first Christmas after my grandma died and without exchanging a word one night my mom went to the pantry, pulled out the dates, nuts and marzipan and we made the stuffed fruits. There was quite a bit of reminiscing, a lot of crying and raw feelings shared. It was one of the best moments of my life. Through my grandma’s passing I discovered what it meant for my mom to continue with certain things just the way they were. It brings people together, it gives you a breakthrough or a headache but your heart is full and your soul growing.
While grandma was playing with marzipan, I was never more than a couple of feet away, strirring and scooping and rolling ganache for truffles. You can safely assume that once I moved here, this is the one thing I never miss doing during the holidays. The truffle batter I use is a basic ganache that I flavor differently depending on my mood or what people ask for. Depending on the time available I might hand dip them in tempered chocolate (Go Jen!) and decorate them but this year it is so not happening so I made them the way we do in my family, rolled in cocoa or nuts, etc…
I have only made two kinds so far, lavender infused truffles and espresso truffles. Once the ganache was made, I let it harden in the fridge for a couple of hours and then scooped out little balls that I rolled and place on a parchment baking sheet and place them "naked" back in the fridge. The reason behind this little "curing" it is to help them develop a natural skin so that the cocoa powder won’t seep in the truffles as they stand waiting for their delicious (for you!) fate. On the other hand I find it a lot easier to have the nuts adhere to the chocolate right after you have rolled them in between your hands and your body heat has softened the ganache a bit.
I made a firm ganache with semisweet chocolate (Callebaut) and since all chocolate vary, your ganache may set up differently so if it turns out too soft, add more chocolate in your next batch or if it was too firm add a little more cream. I used a ratio of 8 oz of chocolate for 1/2 cup of cream but if you want to use milk or white chocolate increase the ratio to 12 oz for the same amount of cream. Adding alcohol will soften the ganache unless you add the same amount of chocolate so for every ounce of liqueur (about 2 tablespoons) that you use, increase the chocolate by one ounce also. For milk or white ganaches, add 2 ounces of chocolate for every ounce of liqueur. If you want to know more about chocolate, I strongly recommend this wonderful book "The Art Of Chocolate" by Elaine Gonzales.
Makes 30 to 35 truffles
1/2 cup (125ml) heavy cream
1 tablespoon (1gr) edible lavender buds
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
cocoa powder for rolling
In a small heavy saucepan placed over low heat, bring the cream to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let stand 30 minutes. Strain the lavender and bring the cream back to a simmer. Once hot, add the chocolate and let stand for a couple of minutes then stir until the ganache is completely smooth. Let cool to room temperature then refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. With a spoon or a melon baller, scoop out balls of ganache, roll them in between your palms fairly quickly and set them on a baking sheet. Refrigerate overnight. Roll them in the cocoa powder and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
1/2 cup (125ml) heavy cream
2 teaspoons espresso powder
2 tablespoons (1 oz) coffee liqueur
9 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pistachios
In a small heavy saucepan, bring the cream and espresso powder to a simmer over low heat. Add the liqueur and remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and let stand a couple of minutes then stir the ganache until completely smooth.Let cool to room temperature then refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. With a spoon or a melon baller, scoop out balls of ganache, roll them in between your palms fairly quickly and roll them in the pistachios and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
For more cookies and sweet treat ideas, check Susan’s Eat Christmas Cookies, Season 2!
K and S December 18, 2008 um 7:17 am
sounds perfect for the holidays and every day after that 🙂 happy holidays!
Mrs.French December 18, 2008 um 7:27 am
please oh please santa bring me some of these…sigh…xo
Sunshinemom December 18, 2008 um 7:35 am
The last picture looks so beautiful! Can I have your email id please?
Cannelle Et Vanille December 18, 2008 um 7:50 am
I am also loving all the snow photos from jen and everyone. and it seems like when all my friends can’t wait to get out of the cold and snow of colorado, i want to go cozy up by their fireplace. maybe next year. these are lovely images helen. they really make me want to bundle up, sit by a fire and eat truffles. i’m so glad it’s christmas. my favorite time of year.
Rosa's Yummy Yums December 18, 2008 um 7:52 am
What delightful truffles! I particularly like the espresso ones!
Manggy December 18, 2008 um 8:19 am
Eep! I keep thinking how lovely it would be to have a white Christmas until I realize I may be cursing that very same snow in a few weeks! 😛 Thank you so much for the tips, Helen– especially the one about truffle "skin". Very helpful! 😀
We have a very simple tradition here– mass, then Mark makes food and everyone eats, lol 😛
Christy December 18, 2008 um 8:36 am
Helen, you have to tell me where you got those adorable little boxes with the scallop-edged inserts and matching scallop-edged wrapping paper from!! They are so cute they drive me crazy!! Or did you make them?? In which case you will officially be my domestic goddess. They are so perfect for..for…everything!!
The truffles look so wonderful!! With those boxes, they really do look like the perfect gift!!
diva December 18, 2008 um 8:40 am
tartelette, you always do take the best photos. i love the lavender infused one..anything lavender drives me insane. by the way, i just love that ornamental ball thingy. it’s gorgeous. merry christmas!! have a fab one. x
Y December 18, 2008 um 8:41 am
The wrapping alone, of those delicious gifts, makes me wish I was receiving one too 🙂
carolina @ patagonia gifts December 18, 2008 um 10:58 am
Oh darling, not only those truffles look delicious, but those boxes are just heavenly treasures!
Culinary Wannabe December 18, 2008 um 11:25 am
Your pictures are just stunning! They are truly works of art – just like the truffles! 🙂
Anonymous December 18, 2008 um 11:55 am
Beautiful as always and so inspiring!
Sweet Treats by Dani December 18, 2008 um 12:17 pm
Kana December 18, 2008 um 12:42 pm
Christmas is not complete without chocolate truffles in my home. I have been making them for years. But mine is soft and I figured that is they are supposed to be. And you are right, the cocoa powder does "seep" into the chocolate. Thanks for the tip on cooling them before rolling in cocoa powder. I think I will give this recipe a try – firmer truffles would not be so cumbersome to make ( but delicious all the same)
Anonymous December 18, 2008 um 12:49 pm
I can feel Christmas is so near with your photos!! Lovely!
LizNoVeggieGirl December 18, 2008 um 12:58 pm
DIVIIIIIINE!!! And hooray for Christmas coming up 🙂
Marian December 18, 2008 um 1:03 pm
Bridget December 18, 2008 um 1:18 pm
What a sweet story about your Grandmother!
The truffles sound delicious! Thanks for the tips on making them!
Beachlover December 18, 2008 um 1:20 pm
what a beautifully truffles you make..Thanks for sharing your recipe.I never make this and going to try out your recipe soon:) Happy Holiday to you and family!
Aimée December 18, 2008 um 1:30 pm
Helene, before I even opened up my Christmas parcel from my mother, I could smell her home grown lavender. She send a beautiful bundle and now I have the perfect recipe to try it with.
Of course, being the coffee fanatic that I am, I just may have to make both recipes!
Merry Christmas to you and yours–those boxes are precious and would brighten up anyone’s holiday.
Anonymous December 18, 2008 um 2:04 pm
ooooh…lovely truffles. I have those boxes too! I was going to use it for an assorted mix for the business but I thought they were hard to put the lid on. And then when they got filled it was easier to put the lid on – but I already sent a bunch of them back. 🙁
Helene December 18, 2008 um 2:34 pm
Thank you everyone!
Christy: I was slack this year and got the boxes from Martha Stewart. Veron reported that the lids were hard to get on them, mine were fine but one set was a little tight. They come with tissue paper, ribbons and tags but I made my own instead.
Susan @ SGCC December 18, 2008 um 2:48 pm
Everything looks so beautiful, Helen. You are a true artist! I’ll be dreaming about those lovely truffles tonight! 😉
Dewi December 18, 2008 um 3:43 pm
Everything look so cheerful and colorful. Espresso truffles sounds so good, especially with pistachios.
Have a wonderful season, Helen.
Breadpitt December 18, 2008 um 3:44 pm
truffle ooo truffle!!!! made them , love them , eat them…!Pomegranate Hibiscus Tea & Ginger Yogurt Verrine are too pretty to spoon it, awww!hehe
Leacayoungart December 18, 2008 um 5:22 pm
Those look so yummy!
cindy* December 18, 2008 um 5:24 pm
these are wonderful helen! i love the holidays and all of the traditions that come with.
Kelsey December 18, 2008 um 5:49 pm
How lovely! What could be better than sitting by a warm fire with a hot cup of tea and a lavender truffle? I can’t think of anything…
montague December 18, 2008 um 6:30 pm
i should really experiment with lavender!
Anonymous December 18, 2008 um 7:07 pm
What lovely photos. I think I will try both recipes this weekend for some friends who are stopping by. I like the scalloped candy separators in your boxes. Did they come with the boxes or did you make them yourself?
Anonymous December 18, 2008 um 8:07 pm
wow – what a combination. I love lavender in food – far more so than the actual smell of the plant, oddly.
Go on, send us a box! these look fantastic!!!! 😛
Cakebrain December 18, 2008 um 8:57 pm
Mmm! I can imagine how delicious these would be! I so love your sense of colour and design…your pics are so inspiring!
kickpleat December 18, 2008 um 9:07 pm
oh my, these look so beautiful!
That Girl December 18, 2008 um 9:24 pm
It’s funny how we keep switching weather this year. I’m FREEZING out here!
Helene December 18, 2008 um 9:35 pm
Nichole: one of her box set came with the inserts. Made it so much nicer to add different cookie types without crumbs flying all over!
Bron December 18, 2008 um 9:46 pm
Mmm lovely, who couldn’t love these?!
Anonymous December 18, 2008 um 9:49 pm
I love lavender truffles! It’s also great mixed with various teas. I like your technique of leaving them in the fridge overnight to form a "skin".
Cindy December 18, 2008 um 10:02 pm
the story about your grandmother was really touching and a beautiful example of the importance of cooking or making just about anything together.
i don’t remember who said it, but i recently heard with regard to artists that if they excel in one form (photography) they will excel in other forms (cooking). that concept certainly applies to you, helen.
everything looks incredible! i really love the photos of the packaged truffles.
Anonymous December 18, 2008 um 10:58 pm
Gorgeous helen!! beautiful and they sound delicious!!!!
Anonymous December 18, 2008 um 10:58 pm
Gorgeous helen!! beautiful and they sound delicious!!!!
Lori December 19, 2008 um 12:59 am
I love truffles but talk about slack, I was not in the mood to make them this year. Yours are beautiful!
Rita December 19, 2008 um 4:55 am
I love lavender touch on foods so that’s probably what I’ll try when I get around making truffles (who knows when will that be…) But I was really interested on your grandmma’s marzipan-stuffed dates. Is there anything else to it, or do I just cut open the dates and stuff them with marzipan?
Helene December 19, 2008 um 5:32 am
I am smiling because Mamie would be tickled pink that someone inquired about her marzipan treats.
She would us a mix of dried dates, figs, prunes and cut small pieces of colored marzipan and stuff them in the fruits cut open but not all the way through. For the walnut she would sandwich a piece of marzipan in between 2 walnut halves.
Not everybody liked it but that was a sure way to either get you stuck on them or hating them!!
One year we did not go home she mailed us a box of those… 🙂
Anonymous December 19, 2008 um 6:23 am
Your truffles look lovely, a pefect holiday gift!
karey m. December 19, 2008 um 7:45 am
stunning. as always.
and i just spent about 20 minutes scrolling through your style feed over on the right…
i think you are effortlessly perfect. covetable, all. xoxo.
karey m. December 19, 2008 um 7:46 am
oops. what i really wanted to tell you is that your memory of you and your mom baking after your grandmother’s passing?
one of the loveliest moments i’ve ever read. as though we were all there. well done.
Anonymous December 19, 2008 um 11:07 am
Mmmmmm. Both (lavender and espresso) look really delicious. Whatever the taste touch, ganache is one of my favorite things ever.
MERRY CHRISTMAS (and happy baking too) 😉
Tiny bakery December 19, 2008 um 12:35 pm
truffle is my all time favorite dessert !! but yours looks better than i’v ever done 🙂
Nina Timm December 19, 2008 um 1:37 pm
Truffles are my favorite sweet! Lovely gift idea!
Anonymous December 19, 2008 um 1:42 pm
Lavender truffles — I can’t think of anything more decadent, or more romantic (maybe for Valentine’s Day…).
Mallory Elise December 19, 2008 um 3:10 pm
ooooh starbucks espresso truffle late, i had a grande yesterday! i bet your truffles taste just like it…but better. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Anonymous December 19, 2008 um 3:46 pm
Oh to be on the receiving end of one of these boxes…that would be fantastic!!
Amazing, amazing pictures! It is wonderful to see you versatility!
Anonymous December 19, 2008 um 4:43 pm
So curious about lavender infused truffles !
dicus December 19, 2008 um 5:54 pm
So I made lavender truffles this morning and rolled them in honey powder. They look great and taste fantastic. Thank you so much for the recipe and the inspiration. Tonight I will make white chocolate Chambord truffles rolled in raspberry powder to go along with them.
Sandie December 19, 2008 um 6:07 pm
What an elegant and decadent treat for the holidays, and I know just the recipient I should make some for!
Anonymous December 19, 2008 um 9:19 pm
Je passe pour vous souhaiter mes vœux par ce petit message, car je vais être absente pendant les fêtes.
Noël se nourrira de miel, de brioche et de lumière
Nous tremperons dans le bon café chaud la bûche
A la belle saveur de crème vanille et chocolat
Mille flocons de sucre glace tombent aux quatre coins de l’hiver
Et la maisonnée rêve à tous tes cadeaux, beau Père Noël.
Pour cette nouvelle année, Je n’ai que quelques vœux à formuler : La joie, le bonheur, l’amour et, bien sûr, la santé !
Que ces jours de festivités vous enveloppent de joie de vivre ! Et, que celle-ci se poursuive tout au long des mois qui viendront égayer vos jours de soleil.
Bonne et Heureuse année 2009 !
Joyce December 19, 2008 um 10:18 pm
Mmmm… these sound heavenly! This might be a good thing I don’t live near by- I would be rolling down the street. Your treats always look so yummmy.
Susan from Food Blogga December 20, 2008 um 2:05 am
Lavender and espresso? That is brilliant, Helen. And I know what you mean about baking after your loss. There is something inexplicably soothing about it. Happy holidays to you and yours, my dear.
Anna December 20, 2008 um 2:49 am
They sound amazing! I will have to try them out.
Anonymous December 20, 2008 um 3:09 am
Delicious flavor combinations and so very beautiful!
chililime December 20, 2008 um 4:48 am
Absolutely beautiful, Helen. How thoughtful of you to take the time to create homemade, edible gifts for your loved ones. I must try lavender truffles.
Bonbon Oiseau December 20, 2008 um 6:18 am
As always Helen, these are gorgeous and you are such a sweet spirit as well…lavender truffles sound perfect! lavender anything sounds perfect but these—yes!!!!!
MyKitchenInHalfCups December 20, 2008 um 11:42 am
December and you’re in shorts . . .
I think perhaps your lavender truffles could win me over to truffles.
Anonymous December 20, 2008 um 4:42 pm
Gorgeous! They both look great!
Valentina December 20, 2008 um 11:51 pm
Everything about your posts, this one specially, is beautiful. Lovely story, truffles, pictures…it is all so festive..
Cakespy December 21, 2008 um 1:45 am
What festive little truffles! I’ll bet there is a trail of smiles everywhere they go! 🙂
Elizabeth December 21, 2008 um 5:33 am
These look incredible. Thank you for sharing with us that special moment when you baked with your mom. Those shared experiences really highlight the closeness that is family.
Anonymous December 21, 2008 um 9:16 am
Delicious and Christmas-y. Don’t know which one I’d try first…both must be delicious!
P December 21, 2008 um 5:26 pm
Oh my goodness – your blog is ridiculously wonderful! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog – I’m so happy to have found you.
Marzipan stuffed dates – you’ve just described my two favorite things in the ENTIRE WORLD. Would you share the recipe with us?
Fifi Flowers December 21, 2008 um 8:41 pm
BEAUTIFUL treats! You make everything look amazing! ENJOY the holiday season and the first day of Winter!
virtual chef December 21, 2008 um 10:19 pm
Merry Christmas! … That the joy of Christmas and the best recipes can be repeated every day in the new year.
La Tartine Gourmande December 21, 2008 um 10:33 pm
Miam, tu me donnes envie de m’y mettre, la maintenant !
Anonymous December 22, 2008 um 12:23 am
It’s when Santa shows up at your door wearing shorts that you should worry. 🙂
Tes truffes sont tellement belles! Et puis je suis sur qu’elle sont encore meilleures a manger. Mmmmm!
Art of Dessert December 22, 2008 um 1:02 am
Gorgeous Truffles! Ooooh…I’d love to try the lavender infused ones 🙂
Jen Yu December 22, 2008 um 4:37 am
Oh girl, if I didn’t know better, I’d think all you and the man subsisted on were sweets 🙂 So pretty too. You really keep me from getting too sloppy because I have to practice for the day when you visit – I have to feed you stuff that looks good and edible! Whenever you are ready for some seriously cold weather, I have a guest floor ready for you and B. Your truffles are gorgeous, almost as beautiful as you. xxoo I hope you have a fantastic holiday, sweetie.
Kristina R. December 22, 2008 um 6:28 am
Even though I am done with my holiday truffles, I may have to make the lavender one just because since they look so goo.
steph- whisk/spoon December 24, 2008 um 6:20 pm
what wonderful gifts these would make! happy holidays!!
Rachael Hutchings December 26, 2008 um 11:14 pm
Thank you so much for taking the time to explain how adding things like alcohol, or changing things (like using milk chocolate instead) affects the outcome of the ganache…SO useful! You’re a gem.
Lesley December 31, 2008 um 9:33 pm
C’est si beau. I LOVE THESE. Wow.
I haven’t been on your blog in so long, sorry…but now I see all I have missed.
I REALLY love the little boxes. Where did you get them?
Jenny November 25, 2009 um 1:08 pm
I'll most definitely try that Espresso Truffles reicpe, those look delicioud! Thanks for sharing.
Shumaila February 2, 2011 um 7:38 am
Thanks so much Helen for the recipe for Lavender Truffles. Loved them. Also, love your tutorial on macarons! Helped a lot. Love your blog!