Nougatkugeln

Aka the chocolate truffle, the bite-sized petit four is made from a creamy mixture of chocolate ganache, usually with butter and cream. However, this German version I've prepared below is with less fat in the recipe, but does not sacrifice the decadent chocolate flavor. As I've written prior, the quality of the truffle is primarily dependent on the quality of chocolate you start with. I can't stress this enough.

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Nougatkugeln

Recipe by Chef George Hirsch | Makes about 35 truffles 

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

*2 Tablespoons espresso or strong brewed coffee, or as needed

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup hazelnuts or almonds, lightly toasted & ground 

Optional filling: To make an all chocolate truffle: substitute 1 cup semisweet chocolate, ground medium-fine, for the hazelnuts.

Optional flavoring: Reduce espresso by 1 Tablespoon and substitute with 1 Tablespoon of Frangelico (halzelnut flavor liquor), or Grand Marnier (orange flavor liquor) 

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid over heating. As chocolate begins to melt, remove the bowl from the heat.

In a separate bowl, combine the confectioners sugar and cocoa powder with a wire whisk. Mix in espresso, vanilla, and nuts. Mixture should be slightly thick, add additional espresso if truffle mixture needs to be slightly smoother. 

Cool mixture slightly; and with a small scoop or by hand form small balls by shaping into 1/2- to 3/4-inch diameter balls. Dip the balls into the melted chocolate.  

Garniture: Place your coatings for the truffles on a plate and roll truffle balls in one of the following:

Toasted crushed nuts

Powdered sugar

Cocoa powder

Tempered chocolate striped over truffles

Coconut

Shaved chocolate

Chill until firm. Nougatkugeln is best when served at room temperature. 

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