280g good-quality dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids
284ml pot double cream
50g unsalted butter
Chop the chocolate and tip into a large bowl. Put the cream and butter into a saucepan and heat gently until the butter melts and the cream reaches simmering point. Remove from heat, then pour over the chocolate. Stir the chocolate and cream together until you have a smooth mixture. Add any flavourings to the truffle mix at this stage (divide the mixture between bowls and mix in liqueurs or other flavourings, a tsp at a time, to taste. Try bourbon, Grand Marnier, coconut rum or the zest and juice of an orange), or leave plain. Cool and chill for at least 4 hrs.
To shape the truffles, dip a melon baller in hot water and scoop up balls of the mixture, then drop the truffles onto greaseproof paper. Or lightly coat your hands in flavourless oil (such as sunflower) and roll the truffles between your palms. You could also use a piping bag to pipe rounds onto greaseproof paper.
Coat your truffles immediately after shaping. Tip toppings into a bowl and gently roll the truffles until evenly coated, then chill on greaseproof paper. Try: crushed, shelled pistachio nuts; lightly toasted desiccated coconut; or roll a truffle flavoured with orange zest and juice in cocoa powder. To coat in chocolate, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Melt 100g milk, dark or white chocolate for 10 truffles. Allow chocolate to cool slightly. With a fork, pick up one truffle at a time and hold over the bowl of melted chocolate. Spoon the chocolate over the truffle until well-coated. Place on the baking tray, then chill.
Store in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 days, or freeze for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge overnight. To give as presents, place 8-10 truffles in individual foil or paper cases inside small, lined boxes tied with ribbon. Keep in the fridge until youre ready to give them.