Chop the chocolate into small, even pieces and place it in a medium heat-safe bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring it to a simmer, but do not allow it to boil.
Once the cream is simmering, pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Gently whisk it together until the chocolate melts and you have a smooth, shiny chocolate liquid - this is your ganache. Add the softened butter, the orange zest, and the cranberry sauce or jelly, and whisk until they are incorporated. Press a layer of cling wrap on top of the ganache and chill until it is firm enough to roll, about 4 hours or overnight.
Once the ganache has firmed up, use a small candy scoop or a teaspoon to form it into small balls, and place the balls on a foil or waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Return the balls to the refrigerator while you prepare the dipping chocolate.
Place the chocolate candy coating in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it until melted, stirring after every 45 seconds to prevent overheating.
Once the coating is melted and smooth, use two forks or dipping tools to dip the truffle balls one by one. After submerging a truffle in the coating, tap the fork against the bowl and drag the bottom across the lip of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Replace the truffle on the lined baking sheet, and repeat until all truffles are coated. If desired, top the truffles with a sprinkling of chopped pecans while the chocolate is still wet.
Place the truffles in the refrigerator to set the chocolate, for about 15 minutes. Once set, they can be served immediately, or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Cranberry Truffles have the best taste and texture when allowed to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
By Jodi from Aurora, CO
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