Sadly, many of the small private Massachusetts colleges are closing. Unusual that I mention this in a blog post, but I really enjoyed the many semesters I spent years ago at Newbury College in their culinary program. It was a big undertaking with classes running every Saturday from 9am-6pm, and a baby and a three year old at home with my husband. I learned so much though and came home with goodies every weekend. I loved the pastry classes although I could never master cake decorating, so I gravitated toward baking sweet treats. One of my favorite lessons was working with chocolate. I was recently searching my recipe archives and I came across my post for chocolate truffles, an easy recipe and a timeless treat. A splash of Grand Marnier elevates these truffles but they are delicious without it too. Enjoy Valentine’s Day!
Line a rimmed baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper. Place the cream in a medium saucepan and warm over low heat. Heat the cream until almost at a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the chopped chocolate, butter, expresso powder, orange zest and liquor, if using, and stir until smooth and shiny. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Scrape this mixture into a medium bowl and place it in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until firm.
To prepare to roll the truffles, sift the cocoa powder and the powdered sugar onto a plate. Use a teaspoon or small ice cream scoop to scoop a full spoonful of the truffle mixture. With clean hands, roll the truffles quickly in your hands to make a ball about 1- inch in diameter. The truffles mixture melts with the warmth of your hands so roll the truffles, and wipe your hands as needed. Roll the truffle in the cocoa mixture and then the pistachios, if using and place them on the parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate the truffles for about 20 minutes or until firm. This recipe makes about 20 truffles. The truffles can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or frozen up to 3 months.