I spent a lot of time thinking about this post. Not only is it the first of 2016, it kicks off a weekend of birthday celebrations for our family. I wanted this recipe to be relevant somehow to all this change and celebration, and the most fitting idea came to me in the form of Cuban coffee truffles. Truffles, with their creamy ganache center enrobed in rich chocolate, are a sweet meant to be savored with the richness of one being enough to evoke a smile. In a way, truffles teach us something about life. As I look back on the past year, and look forward to the new, I see how important it is to be present and mindful of those little moments in all aspects of our lives because each one, enjoyed individually, is what makes living sweet.
The original idea for a Cuban coffee truffle actually came from a gift box we purchased for my mother-in-law a few years ago. We were looking for something unique, and we came across a boutique chocolatier in Coral Gables who offered a “Cuban flavors” chocolate truffle gift box. One of the flavors was a Cuban coffee truffle. I thought it sounded very unique, and I set out to replicate it with the Godfather’s enthusiastic approval, because Cuban coffee ganache is something every coffee lover needs in their life.
Cuban coffee is a very dark, sweetened espresso. We make ours at home using a simple stove top coffee maker (a cafetera in Spanish) like this one. While the coffee would typically be sweetened for drinking, I did not add any sugar to the espresso I added to the truffles because the white chocolate ganache is already quite sweet. I’d recommend using the actual espresso instead of an instant espresso powder because you get a better flavor, and it’s more evenly distributed. If you don’t make espresso at home, I’ve also purchased a single shot at a local coffee house and used that in a pinch. 😉
When making white chocolate ganache for truffles, I will often skip using couverture chocolate and just use white chocolate chips. First, because white couverture chocolate is a little difficult to find locally for some reason. Second, white chocolate chips actually hold their shape better in a ganache so it’s a little easier to dip the truffles since the ganache will be nice and firm. You can make the ganache up to 2 days in advance.
When you make the ganache, keep in mind your final measurements may be slightly different than mine. There are slight variations between brands of chocolate chips. If for some reason your ganache does not set after a few hours, warm the ganache in the microwave until you can stir it, melt an additional ounce of chocolate chips, and stir it in. That being said, I’ve tried this recipe with two different brands and it’s worked, but I thought I’d share this troubleshooting tip just in case. You can always comment below or shoot me an e-mail if you have another truffle question and I’ll be glad to help as best I can. 🙂
To dip the truffles, you have two options. You may either use a candy coating – several options are readily available in most grocery, craft, or cake supply stores – or you may choose to temper chocolate. We’ll cover that in detail another time. For now, I’ll send you to this website to get full details on tempering and the proper temperatures for the different kinds of chocolate. I used a dark chocolate to cover these truffles.
Truffles dipped in candy coating or chocolate are stable at room temperature up to 2 weeks. I’ve never had them last that long. 😉
Cuban Coffee Truffles
- 2 ounces unsalted butter 4 tbsp
- 11 ounces white chocolate chips
- 2 ounces heavy cream
- pinch salt
- 1 ounce espresso coffee unsweetened
- 1 lb chocolate for tempering or 1 lb candy coating for dipping
- In a glass mixing bowl, combine the white chocolate chips, salt, heavy cream and butter.
- Microwave for 1 minute at 50% power. Stir. Repeat. Microwave at additional 30 second intervals as needed until the ganache is smooth and the chips have melted. Be sure to stir after each round in the microwave to ensure even heating so your chocolate doesn't seize.
- Once your ganache is smooth, stir in the espresso. Cover the ganache and set it aside for 3-4 hours (or overnight) to set.
- When the ganache is set, line a baking sheet or cutting board with wax paper, parchment paper, or a silicone liner. Use a tablespoon or small cookie scoop to measure your truffles. Refrigerate 1 hour until chilled.
- Temper your chocolate or melt your dipping candy.
- Remove the truffle centers from the refrigerator and using your hands, quickly smooth each round into a ball.
- Dip into the tempered chocolate or dipping candy and place on a clean liner to set.
- Store up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. Enjoy!