Ultimate Valentine Gift

Want to give the Ultimate Homemade Valentine Gift? Make your ‘”sweetie” a box of chocolate truffles.  Don’t go searching the Internet for a recipe. This recipe is from Chef Albert Kumin, a Swiss chocolatier.  He was the White House pastry chef during the Carter administration, the opening pastry chef at Window on the World and an beloved instructor at Culinary Institute of America in the early 1980s.  It is a recipe to be treasured.


Many people think chocolate are impossible to make for the home cook.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  While working as a pastry chef I was reluctant to share the recipe since I worked at shops that charged $18-$20 a pound for these truffles.  The shops did not want the buying public to know how easy truffles are to make.  However, now I share this wonderful recipe freely.  It’s yours.


Use the finest dark bittersweet chocolate you can afford.   Unsalted butter is a MUST in this recipe.

There is only one concession in the recipe from Chef Kumin’s.  For the home cook I recommend using a fine quality dipping chocolate to coat the truffles instead of tempering chocolate for coating.  Tempering chocolate at home in an uncontrolled environment can be tricky.  After the truffles are coated, you may wish to drizzle a thin line of the melted coating over them for an interest look.   Another way to finish the truffles is to roll them in cocoa. This presentation is often seen in France instead of the coated look.


Yield 2 dozen

½           cup                     whipping cream (not whipped)
1            ounce                 butter, unsalted
2            tablespoons       sugar, granulated
1            cup                     chocolate chips, preferable dark chocolate
2            tablespoons       rum, Grand Marnier or other flavored liquor


  1. Place cream, butter, and sugar in a pan. Bring to a boil.
  2. Place chocolate in a mixing bowl. Pour boiling cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until smooth.
  3. Add the liquor. Stir until smooth.
  4. Chill the mixture until it is firm enough to form balls with a spoon. Portion into ½ inch sized balls.
  5. Roll chilled balls to make them smooth.  Dust hands with cocoa to prevent truffles from sticking.  Chill but do not freeze.  If they are too cold when dipped, they will expand when warmed to room temperature and crack the coating.  This is not a problem if only rolling in cocoa to finish.
  6. If coating, melt the dipping chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water.   Add a bit of coconut butter flakes or oil such as a neutral salad oil to the melting chocolate. Either one will thin the dipping chocolate allowing only the thinnest coating to cover the truffles.  You want to really only taste the truffles not the coating.  Place finished truffles in candy paper for a professional look.
  7. Always serve chocolate truffles at room temperature for full flavor.  In summer, the cocoa coated truffles can be a bit messy.