Miami's bean-to-bar Exquisito Chocolates shows you how to create world-class truffles at home
The founder and creative force behind Miami's award-winning chocolate factory shares her first and favorite truffle recipe, perfect for preparing at home. Drawing inspiration from the legendary chocolatiers of Paris, these one-bite delights are fun to make and as delicious as any you'd find in an upscale chocolate shop.
Carolina Quijano is on a mission to bring better chocolate to the world, and as the founder of Miami's award-winning Exquisito Chocolates, she's well on her way.
A former management consultant, Quijano's passion for chocolate began during a business trip to Paris. She found herself captivated by the city's artisanal hot chocolate and returned to the U.S. determined to replicate the experience. After studying chocolate theory—and spending many late nights in her kitchen perfecting hundreds of recipes—she took the plunge, launching her city's first artisanal, bean-to-bar chocolate factory.
Quijano believes the path to delicious chocolate starts with the best beans. Exquisito sources top-quality cacao from seven small farms in Latin America and the Caribbean, after having formed relationships that required months of travel and countless mountaintop meetings with local farmers. Then, combining techniques inspired by the renowned chocolatiers of Paris with her own creative ideas, Quijano and her team create some of the finest chocolate delicacies this side of the Champs-Élysées.
"We produce bean-to-bar chocolates using only the best and most ethically sourced cacao beans," she says. "We roast our beans and grind to perfection using only sugar, no preservatives or additives."
The result is a selection of luxurious handmade chocolates in the form of bars, bonbons, hot chocolate, and confections of all kinds, including these spectacular dark chocolate truffles.
For Quijano, it's a treat with a special meaning, as it was the first chocolate recipe she ever learned to make: "It introduced me to the idea that a high-quality chocolate could make all the difference in the final product of a recipe. I've made this countless times for family and loved ones. It's always a part of my end-of-year holiday gifts."
Try it for yourself with the simple-to-follow recipe below and indulge in a taste of Paris with a Miami twist.
Dark Chocolate Truffles
Skill Level – Beginner
Makes 24 truffles
8 oz high-quality dark chocolate
4 oz heavy cream
Optional toppings: slivered almonds, melted chocolate, shredded coconut, and ground pistachios
Kitchen Tools Needed:
Plate or pan
Optional: small saucepan
1. Finely chop the dark chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl.
2. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat once it begins to boil. The cream can also be heated in the microwave using 30-second intervals. Stop heating once it becomes hot to the touch.
3. Pour cream over chopped dark chocolate and whisk slowly together. Continue mixing until fully blended. The ganache mixture should resemble a smooth chocolate sauce.
4. Let ganache rest at room temperature until cool. Then, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
5. Remove from refrigerator and use a tablespoon to scoop ganache. Gently roll with your hands to form a ball. Place on a plate or pan lined with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Avoid over-rolling to prevent ganache from melting in your hands.
6. Once formed, roll ganache in cocoa powder or your desired topping and place back on the lined surface. Refrigerate until firm and serve.
Truffles can be stored in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for two or three days. You may also refrigerate for up to two weeks.
Download recipe: Priceless Cookbook - Exquisito Chocolates' Dark Chocolate Truffles