Cooking with Kids: How to Make Chocolate Truffles
This step-by-step chocolate truffle how-to gives kids a fun food-science and cooking lesson in tempering chocolate.
Pictured Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles
Looking for a fun cooking project to do with your kids? Make chocolate truffles! They'll love putting together this version that features dark chocolate and peanut butter ganache, and you'll both get a cooking lesson in tempering chocolate. We've even put together a game plan to sweeten the deal-including a little science lesson and a recipe broken down into kid and grown-up steps-so everyone can enjoy the process, as much as the end result.
Use your best judgment on your child's ability to complete the kids' steps listed in this recipe. An adult should always be in charge of steps that involve hot or sharp tools, or other equipment that must be handled with caution.
The Cooking Lesson: Tempering Chocolate
Tempering is the process of melting, cooling, then reheating chocolate, so that it makes a satisfying snap! when you break into it and has a glossy sheen.
The Science Lesson: Why It Works
The cocoa fat in chocolate hardens into crystals of different shapes depending on the kind of chocolate and how it's melted and cooled. The tempering process encourages the most uniform and stable crystals-beta crystals-to form. They fit together like a brick wall, making the chocolate hard and smooth.
The Basics: How to Temper Chocolate
First, you gently heat the chocolate so all the different crystals melt. (Go too hot-above 118°F-and the chocolate will permanently separate!) Next, stir a portion of unmelted chocolate into the melted portion to cool the mixture back down so crystals start to reform. Then hold the temperature in a "sweet zone" of 88°F to 90°F (for dark chocolate) and the beta crystals will take over. Voilà!
The Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles
Prep: 1 hour
Ready in: 2½ hours (including 1½ hours chilling time)
Make ahead: This recipe can be made ahead; store at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Makes: 18 truffles
Step 1: Prep & Measure Ingredients
You will need:
• 1 cup finely chopped 53% to 60% chocolate or chocolate chips (about 6 ounces)
• 3/4 cup coconut milk
• 6 tablespoons powdered peanut butter, sifted
• 2½ cups finely chopped 53% to 60% chocolate or chocolate chips (about 1 pound)
• Flaky salt for garnish
Kids can help prep by:
- Opening and measuring the coconut milk
- Measuring and sifting the peanut butter powder
Step 2: Make the Ganache
Chocolate ganache is that rich, creamy filling in the center of a truffle. Traditionally, ganache is made from mixing warm cream with chocolate. When you chill the ganache mixture, it becomes firm enough to shape into balls using your hands. In this recipe, we use coconut milk and peanut butter powder in place of the cream.
First, an adult can: Place 1 cup chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to bubble around the edges.
Then, a kid can: Pour the coconut milk over the chocolate; let stand until the chocolate is slightly melted, 3 to 4 minutes, then stir until smooth. Next, let her add the peanut butter powder, 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring until fully incorporated after each addition before adding more. Let her tap the bowl on the counter to smooth the top, and cover and refrigerate until set, about 1½ hours.
Step 3: Shape the Ganache
Once chilled, the ganache will be firm enough to shape into balls using your hands.
Kids can: Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then remove the ganache from the refrigerator and let it stand for 10 minutes.
Together you can: Use a tablespoon to measure out the ganache, then shape it into balls using your hands. Place them on the prepared baking sheet. You should have about 18 balls. Refrigerate while you make the coating.
Step 4: Make the Coating
Now, you get to temper the chocolate coating!
An adult can: Put about 2 inches of water in the bottom of a double boiler and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Put 2 cups chocolate in the top of the double boiler and place it over the bottom pan. Clip an instant-read thermometer to the top pan, touching the chocolate but not the bottom of the pan. Use a spatula to stir the chocolate until it's melted. Do not let the temperature exceed 118°F. Remove the top pan.
Kids can: Add 1/4 cup chocolate and stir until melted. Then, add the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate and stir until melted and the chocolate is 81°.
Step 5: Dip the Truffles
An adult can: Set the top pan back over the bottom pan and let the chocolate warm up to 88°, stirring constantly. Remove the top pan.
Together you can: Use 2 forks to dip each ganache ball in the chocolate, letting excess fall back into the pan, then place the truffle back on the parchment. Sprinkle with salt, if using. The chocolate should maintain a temperature of 88° as you work. If it cools, a grown-up can warm it up over the bottom pan, making sure not to let it exceed 90° or cool below 84°.
Bonus: Make Chocolate Bark with Leftover Coating
To temper properly, you will make more chocolate coating than you need. You can use the extra to make chocolate bark. To make it, spread the chocolate on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let your child sprinkle it with her favorite toasted nuts or dried fruit. Once set, it can be broken into bite-size pieces.
Related: 8 Tasty Chocolate Bark Ideas