Florentine Truffle Balls
I love to share recipes. I’m not one of those who hides them away, not revealing the “secret” ingredient in my sauce or soup. Which is good, actually, since I have a blog!
But oddly enough, there is one recipe that I’ve held dear to my heart, and I have no idea why. It’s one I copied from one in my mother’s collection. The original recipe was an Italian cake – Segretto della Dama. And it was incredible, especially with the addition of an buttery coffee icing my mother made.
Many years ago I decided to turn the cake recipe into rum balls. I made this twist specifically for a Chocolate and Champagne gala in my town. Being a local cateress, I was asked to participate, and ended up winning! They were a big hit, for a good reason.
Truffles, real ones, are made from chocolate and cream, and are best made by a true confectioner. They are named after the fungus known as truffles because of their physical similarity. Sort of lumpy brown spheres.
Rum balls, on the other hand, have a crushed cookie or cake mixed in with the other ingredients. They’re much less delicate and easier to make, but that doesn’t make them less yummy.
The reason I named this confectionery truffle balls because it’s like a rum ball and sort of looks like a truffle! I call them “Florentine” because of the recipe’s Italian heritage!
Normally, these truffle balls are made with ladyfingers – the soft kind – not Savoirdi biscuits, which are the only kind I can find locally.
If you can’t get them either, an option is to make a high quality pound cake and lighten it by folding a couple whipped egg whites into the batter before baking.
Even though it’s really not like me to take major shortcuts in the kitchen, I picked up a pound cake at the store to substitute for the ladyfingers. It’s a heavier texture than lady fingers, but it works, and has a neutral flavor.
So here’s the recipe for my truffle balls. I think you’ll find them exquisite, in spite of the purchased pound cake! Since I know how good they are, I doubled the recipe!
Makes about 2 dozen balls
1/2 cup of whole almonds, approximately 2 1/2 ounces
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 ounces ladyfingers or pound cake, broken up
1 tablespoon cognac, or to taste
4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
First, toast the almonds in a skillet on the stove. Let them cool completely. Or, do this the day before. Place them in the food processor and process them until coarsely ground.
Add the chocolate chips and process until the chocolate is a similar texture to the almonds.
Add the pieces of pound cake and process again.
Add the tablespoon of cognac and sprinkle it into the food processor. If you want these to taste strongly of cognac, add more. I didn’t. Then add the butter and powdered sugar.
Process until a “dough” is formed.
Place the dough in a bowl, cover it, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Meanwhile, sieve a mixture of 2 parts cocoa powder and 1 part powdered sugar in a small bowl. You will only need about a total of 3-4 tablespoons total for this batch of truffles.
Roll teaspoon-sized balls of the dough with your hands, or use a small cookie scoop, and them place them in the cocoa mixture.
Toss a few balls at a time in the cocoa mixture to coat completely, then place in a ziploc bag.
These truffle ball aren’t stable at room temperature for long because of the butter. I wouldn’t serve them at a party that lasted hours, unless I kept replenishing with chilled ones.
Also, these truffles freeze really well. I’ve made multiple batches of them for the holidays in previous years, and just pull them out of the freezer before guests come over. They’re a nice little treat.
What you taste when you eat one of these is buttery chocolatey goodness, along with some almond and cognac flavor. They’re quite lovely!
If you make these, be prepared to want to triple the recipe next time!
I love the story behind these truffles – congrats on the win, by the way! These sound like a tasty treat during the holidays for sure. Who doesn’t love a good truffle?? Also, I’ve noticed Amazon having a couple of fails lately, too. Hmmmm. In other news, we have plenty of Italian grocery stores up here. Come on up to get those soft ladyfingers – just be prepared to leave a batch of truffles for me! :-)
Do you really have them? I surprised because they’re not Italian. Well, consider yourself lucky! Interesting about Amazon. There’s never been anything I haven’t been able to get, except for pandemic items.
These truffles look divine, Mimi! I’ve bookmarked this post for future reference. I bet they’re really addictive.
They are indeed, which is why there’s no photo of one with a bite taken out of it! Once I started, I wouldn’t have been able to quit. There’s chocolate, but they’re not overly sweet, which is what I like.
They look fabulous and would make a perfect holiday gift!
They really do. And they’re highly appreciated! Thanks, Angie!
These look totally addictive! Love the idea of this combination of truffles/rum balls. :)
Obviously, they’re not real truffles, but I’d never even attempt to make real ones. But wow these are good! I have two more variations coming that I re-made because of bad photos. And they’re all really good!
Yum, I’ll be saving this recipe for sure! I’ve made truffle candy before, which was quite messy. but your recipe looks just as delicious, but easier!
Oh, way easier. I will never make candy. Way too tedious for me. But seriously, these are so good, and of course you can switch out the ingredients. I have two more versions posting soon, from old posts that I needed to re-do because of the bad photos!
What a great idea to turn a cake into “truffles” – you’re so creative. They look delicious and perfect for holiday entertaining. I actually have most of the ingredients except for the ladyfingers/pound cake…
You’ll love these! The pound cake definitely works, although I sure preferred ladyfingers when I could get them or I made them. It just makes them seem a little fancier!
I know I will! Maybe I will just order some ladyfingers online, or I guess I could make my own!
I seriously used to make the batter, and bake them in an 8 x 8” pan, if I remember correctly. Let them cool, then crumble.
these look delicious! perfect for Christmas!
They really are! Really good and unique.
it’s that time of year for these sweet treats. i make mine with Tim Tams – you know choc-covered and choc cream filled biscuits that get crushed up with cream cheese etc. so delish!
Wow. No, i haven’t heard of Tim tams! But I need to get my hands on some! These are pretty yummy, too.
What a great idea to freeze them. On a hot summers day that would make a perfect treat.
That’s true. Or any time of year. With tea, or sherry.
These look delicious! They’d make a wonderful addition to a cookie box this year.
They’re so good. And truly unique.
Sounds delicious! I too have a recipe that I found in a magazine eons ago but cannot get myself to part with… I’d rather keep on gifting the marzipan truffles to people instead of giving away the recipe.
I’ve never even heard of soft ladyfingers – need to investigate.
I understand. Especially when the recipe creates a wonderful gift. Ladyfingers are shaped like savoirdi but are almost white in color, and soft not crispy.
Mimi, I really like that your Florentine Truffles are shaped like truffles from the ground. I’m thinking these would taste wonderful with a snifter of Rémy Martin cognac after a fine holiday meal. Or, maybe with a glass of milk for breakfast.
Yep, either one! I mentioned to someone that I purposely didn’t take a photo of one after I took a bite out of it, because then I would have had to eat more of them… they’re so good they’re addictive!
That is one delicious moorish bite! Would have to hide a batch under the broccoli, so I could save some for our afternoon cuppa. Rich and addictive and perfect as little gifts too.
Hahahahahaha! Mine are in the freezer, so they’re less tempting! Really good, though.
I love this recipe! And don’t apologize for the store-bought pound cake. With all the cooking we do over the holidays, a shortcut here and there is a godsend.
Well, you’re right. It’s just not the same, but then, I haven’t done a side by side taste test!
Love the story behind the recipe! I too try to cook my grans rice cakes and sometimes ammend them to make it even better
And why not?! That is part of the fun about cooking!
Thank you for sharing this recipe! This looks like a must-try for me!
Aww, thanks. If you like the ingredients, you will love them rolled up as truffle balls!
I haven’t look for real lady fingers for quite awhile (and it’s been months since I’ve been in a supermarket), but now that you mention it, I haven’t seen lady fingers for a couple o;f years at least. Used to see them all the time. Weird. Anyway, these look terrific. Love the backstory, too.
Well, me, too! Even in this small town, there were ladyfingers at the store. And now, none. It is weird. And then Amazon failed me!
Quite lovely indeed, Chef Mimi! Thanks for sharing the decadence! Truffles (the non-mushroomy kind) are always a treat. The ones I ordered from Nuts.com last summer lasted about two days, never mind the dry ice to get them here. Some things are meant to be savored whether you make them at home or not. Enjoy! (And thanks for your recipe, xo,)
I really have to go back to their website. My husband loves chocolates, although he pretends not to. I always give him the Williams-Sonoma white chocolate peppermint candy for Christmas!
Sweet holiday perfection. GREG
Thanks, Greg! (a belated thank you!)
Since it’ll only be JT and I for Christmas, this recipe would be a mistake to make, particularly as they look and sound incredible. I bet they taste awesome right out of the freezer.
The recipe doesn’t make that many… but freezing them is a good idea, cause you can just thaw a few at a time!
These look wonderful, Mimi! And I loved reading the history behind them. I’ve been wanting to make soft ladyfingers for a long time now, so thank you for the Julia Child reference.
It’s super easy, and you know I’m not a baker. Although I’ve never piped them into fingers. I don’t pipe.
I miss the days of cookie exchanges and I’ve pinned it for next Christmas…2021. Hopefully it will be more congenial than this one. These remind me of a cookie my mom used to make, pinned as I never got her recipe.
Have a wonderful holiday Mimi.
I hope so, too! It better be! Thanks, and Merry Christmas to you and yours!
I would definitely agree – these are quite lovely. It’s so nice to have the history behind them as well. I enjoy all the added tidbits you throw in when your writing. So interesting. BTW, I love the new look of your site. Very nice!
Aw, Thanks! I just have a lot of stories cause I’m old!
Beautiful, beautiful twist ! Printed to make a batch. Since there are no visiting friends and family this year for holidays, the whole batch is for me. :-)
Well, that’s a wonderful way to look at it!
Mmm, these look so good! Love the story too. I wonder if I can find the soft ladyfingers here in France? I’ve bought the other ones at my Italian store for making tira misu, but haven’t seen the soft ones anywhere.
I would certainly hope you could find them in France! A few of us have noticed that in the U.S. they used to be around, and then they’re not now. So strange.
Mmmmh, what a lovely recipe, and so festive!
Wow what an amazing recipe!! Love the family inspiration behind it as well, that’s so so cool! Also, I’ve ALWAYS wondered about the similarity between “truffles” and “chocolate truffles.” Now I know, and it makes total sense!! Seriously, my mind is blown, that’s awesome. I can tell your Florentine Truffle Balls would not last long in our house, even with a double batch!
No, they wouldn’t last long. There’s just so much yummy ness in a little ball!
These look divine!
A belated thank you to you, Stefan!
This is such a lovely recipe, Mimi! Will try it sometime.
Thank you! They’re easy, or I wouldn’t be making them!
Love the cognac addition. Yes, I would always add it!
It adds just a little something, without being too strong.
I love that you used cognac rather than rum here, and that you used restraint. My mom used to make rum balls using her soft ginger cookies, and when you opened the tin, the aroma of the rum was intense! She used to joke not to light a match around them!
Oh my goodness I can relate. I like a good cocktail, but don’t like strong liquor flavor in my food. My mother always made rumtopf – fruits submerged in rum or maybe brandy. And then she’d serve it to us kids over ice cream. I thought I would die from the fumes!
Sounds like our brandied cherries, but we use restraint there as well!
My mother tried to kill us with her brandied fruit when we were kids.
Ah, she was just trying to pacify you!
My mom did the same with her eggnog…
Well, these just sound heavenly! Chocolatey AND boozy? Count me in for that little one-bite dessert!
Not too boozy. Just a bit of extra flavor!
I remember these truffles from a few years ago – haven’t made them yet but I did buy some of those dishes :)
Hahahahaha! That’s funny!!!
I’m completely hooked on this one, Mimi. Can’t wait to try it. I have to confess that the second most important thing is how easy they seem, but the first is your strong endorsement. I usually have my Christmas cookie list completely prepped before Thanksgiving, but this year I don’t. I have a feeling that these are going to be the first things on it!
Oh good! They’re way better than cookies! This year was a weird one, wasn’t, it?!
MMMM… what a decadent treat! Like these would last long at a party. You are so funny! As long as they can last from the moment they leave the refrigerator and until they get set on the table is all you need. Great holiday treat.
Thank you! Hope you can make them!
I like that there is freshly ground almonds in these tasty morsels which will impart lots of lovely flavour. I think Hell would freeze over before I would find soft Lady Fingers here so I will have to look for an alternative.
Just a bit different and a small sweet mouthful after dinner!
Thanks Mimi :))
Isn’t that strange that they’re not available? I guess people make tiramisu more than a Charlotte. If you follow Julia Child’s recipe for lady fingers, but just put the batter in a square baking dish, you get the exact texture and flavor of lady fingers! It all gets crumbled up anyway!
oh yes i tried to make truffles one time, which ended in tears. trying to get the creamy filling to stay in a ball in hot brisbane weather … Cakey balls are so much easier on the nerves! I make them with chocolate biscuits and cream cheese… And i agree about recipes. i can never understand those weird, mean cooks who won’t share!
Oh goodness. Yes, I do know my limits! One can always buy a real truffle!
These look absolutely sensational Mimi, and I love that they can be frozen which is perfect in our Queensland Summer. I was just about to make my annual edition of Christmas Rum Balls, another family fave, when I saw your recipe. I’ll make both. Thanks for sharing this one.
Oh thank you! I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll love these!
I love how you not only give the entire recipe, easily understood for people who aren’t such great cooks (like me) but you also tell a little bit of back story about each one. So glad I discovered your blog!
Aww, that’s such a nice comment. Thank you! I should say compliment!
‘Tis the season for truffles! These would be perfect for holiday appetizer parties. Laura and I are planning a party for the neighborhood, and I’m thinking these would be a good sweet treat to include on the table. Great way to be resourceful with the pound cake here!
It’s sad to resort to poundcake, for me, but I have to admit that it does work. I always trim off any overly browned spots. Hope you enjoy them!
So easy, elegant and delicious!!! A batch of these in the freezer would be perfect for upcoming hostess gifts!!
Oh, they would!!! Trust me.
I can understand why you kept this recipe to yourself for so long! That’s a clear contest winner if I ever did see one. I love everything about these flavors and the genuine truffle-like appearance.
Well I didn’t really hide it away, it’s more that with the blog it was an excuse to share it with the world! Or, my followers!
Thanks for sharing these beautiful truffle balls and I can see why you won. I also have to add that your mention of taking a shortcut with a recipe was comforting. Recently I’ve been giving myself permission to do the same and it’s made entertaining so much easier.
When I really had to discover shortcuts was when I had 3 thumb surgeries in two years. My greatest discovery was garlic-infused oil! And there are some good red sauces out there! Never ever would I have bought either of those products before!!!
Congrats on your win! I enjoyed the story behind these truffle balls. I did that once with a chocolate cake that my mom let uncovered and dried out. They tasted pretty good too.. Your recipe looks fabulous and I would try it for the holidays! thanks
Oh, that would be wonderful. You’d hardly need any other additions!
Glad that you repeated this – I d need to make them this holiday season!
Yes you do. You will thank me forever!
Yum! There is always a need for a really good truffle at a Christmas party and I’m thrilled to have found your recipe. It is hard sometimes to find lady fingers, so the pound cake idea is such a great one. And who doesn’t love a recipe with pound cake being the foundation. Thanks so much for sharing Mimi.
You’re so welcome. The balls are a little lighter with the crumbled lady fingers, but it would take a taste test to really see if there’s a significant difference! The flavors are magnificent!
Looks delicious and a lot easier than doing the cream and melted chocolate thing!
Oh goodness yes. At least for me!
Oh YES! These truffles look amazing, Mimi! What a brilliant holiday bake!
And so easy!
O my these look so delicious. As a kid we had something similar which I’m pretty sure my mum always bought at the local bakery (she hated cooking and baking!) but I am so going to try and make these myself for the holidays! I might actually use amaretto instead of cognac. Do you think that would work? I never drink cognac so to get some just for this sounds a bit too much.. :)
Oh you’ll love them! I don’t drink cognac either, can’t even handle the smell of it, but that’s also why I use a small amount. It’s just kind of fancy with the chocolate. Any liqueur would work – coffee, Bailey’s, Amarula… just maybe not a fruit liqueur.
These look so decadent and delicious, but yet so easy to make! Thank you for this recipe, it’s going on our Christmas cookie platter!
You will love them!!!
Congratulations on your win! This is a recipe you should be proud of. If it makes my life easier and still tastes great, I’m all for the shortcut! I’ll be pulling this recipe out when I’m retrying to impress!
Thank you! These are really good – you’ll love them!
I have a real love for rum balls, but I don’t think I’ve made them more than a few times over many years. The cognac appeals greatly. I think I’d like to try them with ladyfingers and another batch with pound cake just to see the difference. I can promise you this recipe is going to please my crowd. That is, if I can resist eating half the batch!
I have a bourbon ball recipe coming up soon, although I didn’t create the recipe like this one. I think the texture would be the biggest difference, not the flavor. But maybe you can find lady fingers!