Dead-easy and of high perceived value, truffles can be assembled in a variety of limited contexts. They are as simple as equal parts boiled cream (free with coffee) and couverture (this means Western Family bittersweet chocolate chips or a chopped-up dark chocolate bar to you and me), butter (free with your daily purchase of toast), cocoa powder for dusting (also free with coffee), plus a small splash of any flavoring liqueur you desire to tweak the final item. (The Mercury’s kitchen had, tellingly, three bottles of Triple Sec and a kazoo.)
So, say, gather two ounces of small chocolate pieces, two ounces of cream, a piece of softened butter the size of a grape, and a bottlecap of liqueur. Bring the cream to a boil, pour over the chocolate in a small mixing bowl, and let sit three minutes before whisking to a uniform dark brown. While still warm, whisk in the butter until melted, as well as your liqueur. Cover the surface directly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for an hour until firm, then scoop (I use a melon baller, but just do anything to make them bite-sized), roll in cocoa powder, and there you have it, truffles.
In place of liqueur, I’ve added the zest of a lemon and a knob of ginger to the cream while it boils, and also a small splash of vanilla extract to the chocolate chips before whisking. This makes for a lovely dessert you can bring to alcoholism parties.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!