I've seen truffles popping up in food blogs lately, and I figured if other people could do it, I could do it too. It did turn out to be fairly easy, but it is time consuming to allow for the refrigeration time, and then to painstakingly roll each truffle one by one. I made a large batch so I would have enough to give away, but I still have a few I keep in the fridge to nibble at once in a while. They are perfectly rich and sweet, and just one is enough to tide me over. I love coconut, so I made more coconut truffles than I did cocoa, but you could also roll these in crushed nuts or anything else your brain could think of. Likewise, you could add other liquors in place of brandy, such as coffee, Kahlua, peppermint schnapps, almond extract, and so on. It's a fairly flexible recipe. As for the chocolate I used, I went to Trader Joes, where they sell bulk Ghiradelli semisweet and bittersweet chocolate for $3.63/lb if I remember correctly, which is a great deal.
When thinking about what to give my coworkers for Christmas, I was inspired by Straight From the Farm, whose truffles packaged in cute homemade Chinese boxes looked like the perfect gift. I didn't end up giving my truffles away in these boxes, as I didn't have heavy paper stock, so I went for a much simpler approach. I placed fifteen small truffles each in a ziploc bag because I read that they stay best in airtight containers, and then put the ziplog bag inside a small brown paper bag decorated for the holidays with markers.
Cocoa and Coconut Rolled Brandy Truffles
16 oz (1lb) good quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, depending on your taste
3/4 cup cream
1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp brandy, or 3 tbsp if you want a strong brandy taste
1/3 cup cocoa for dusting
1/2 package coconut, toasted
If chocolate is not already in chips or chunks, cut into small pieces and place in a metal bowl.
Bring 1 cup cream to boil (the exra is to allow for some cream to boil off). Slowly pour 3/4 cup cream over chocolate, stirring as you add it. Add 1/4 cup butter and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Add 2 tbsp brandy and stir until combined.
Place bowl in refrigerator and let cool for approximately one hour or until firm enough to roll into balls.
Meanwhile, place waxed paper over a baking sheet.
Spread coconut over a baking sheet and bake in oven at 400 for approximately 5 minutes until toasted and golden brown. Let cool.
Pour cocoa in a small bowl and coconut in another bowl.
When chocolate is sufficiently refrigerated, scoop out small mounds with a teaspoon, and form them into balls as you roll them in either cocoa or coconut, and then place on waxed paper. Repeat until you have made approximately 70 small truffles. Place baking sheet with truffles in the refrigerator, preferably overnight.