The story of chocolate, as far back as we know it, begins with the discovery of America. Until 1492, the Old World knew nothing at all about the delicious and stimulating flavor that was to become the favorite of millions.

The Court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella got its first look at the principal ingredient of chocolate when Columbus returned in triumph from America and laid before the Spanish throne a treasure trove of many strange and wonderful things. Click here

Growing the Cocoa Bean  |   Varieties of Cacao  |   Crop for Shipment  |   How to Make Cocoa Powder
Bean to Chocolate  |   What is Conching?  |   Automation Does the Job  |   A Sanitary Atmosphere
Eating Chocolates  |   Growing Chocolates  |   Chocolates just for kids

Les Truffes ~ Truffles

Truffles, the chocolate ones, just like their namesake, truffle, the fungus one, have become synonymous with luxury and decadent indulgence. With whole stores dedicated to offering these little bites of flavored chocolates, you would think there is a grand mystery to making them. No, there isn't.

You can make them fairly easily in your own kitchen, spiced up with your favorite flavors. Let's first review what a truffle is.

Basically a truffle is ganache covered with tempered chocolate. What's 'ganache' (ga nahsh)? It's a mixture of melted chocolate and cream. What's tempered chocolate? It's chocolate that has been melted to a certain temperature, cooled to a certain temperature, then melted again. The ganache is formed into a ball and then dipped into the tempered chocolate.

This gives it a hard covering that provides a crunch as you bite into the chocolate ball, while the ganache stays soft and silky in the center.

So, as you can see the 'hard' part of the truffles is the 'hard' part of the recipe because tempering chocolate can be kind of tricky. But that particular step can be skipped without too much loss in flavor or consistency.

In the nine recipes that follow the truffles are flavored with rum, coconut, lime, orange, ginger, Pernod and Cointreau. They are then simply coated with melted chocolate and rolled in cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar, or nuts, etc. . .the flavor combinations are endless.

I've included a "Classic" recipe to which you can add vanilla, cinnamon, Chambord or any other kind of flavoring you think would make a good combination.

Chocolate Cake spans the globe to include recipes from diverse countries and cultures, such as the classic French chocolate-and-almond Reine de Saba; the Austrian inspired Walnut Chocolate Torte; a Hungarian confection called Rigo Jancsi, consisting of layers of sponge cake sandwiching a thick layer of whipped cream; and that all-American classic, Classic Devil's Food Layer Cake with Fudge Frosting.

Urvater's recipes are as simple as the Wacky Chocolate Cake, in which the ingredients are mixed directly in the baking pan, to the Opera Cake, a fantasy confection consisting of cake layers alternating with layers of chocolate filling and coffee buttercream and glazed with chocolate. And each recipe is coded with a degree of difficulty so that everyone from the novice baker to the professional chef will be able to achieve success-and chocolate gratification.