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!

Florentine Truffles
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!

By Published On: November 28th, 202276 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

76 Comments

  1. David @ Spiced November 30, 2020 at 6:19 AM - Reply

    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! :-)

    • chef mimi November 30, 2020 at 6:59 AM - Reply

      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.

  2. Frank Fariello November 30, 2020 at 6:22 AM - Reply

    These truffles look divine, Mimi! I’ve bookmarked this post for future reference. I bet they’re really addictive.

    • chef mimi November 30, 2020 at 6:57 AM - Reply

      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.

  3. Angie@angiesrecipes (@angiesrecipess) November 30, 2020 at 8:53 AM - Reply

    They look fabulous and would make a perfect holiday gift!

    • chef mimi November 30, 2020 at 10:19 AM - Reply

      They really do. And they’re highly appreciated! Thanks, Angie!

  4. Ronit Penso Tasty Eats November 30, 2020 at 9:48 AM - Reply

    These look totally addictive! Love the idea of this combination of truffles/rum balls. :)

    • chef mimi November 30, 2020 at 10:19 AM - Reply

      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!

  5. Fran @ G'day Souffle' November 30, 2020 at 11:56 AM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi November 30, 2020 at 2:18 PM - Reply

      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!

  6. cookingwithauntjuju.com November 30, 2020 at 2:05 PM - Reply

    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…

    • chef mimi November 30, 2020 at 2:11 PM - Reply

      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!

      • cookingwithauntjuju.com November 30, 2020 at 2:15 PM

        I know I will! Maybe I will just order some ladyfingers online, or I guess I could make my own!

      • chef mimi November 30, 2020 at 2:16 PM

        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.

  7. The Parmigiana Whisperer November 30, 2020 at 4:47 PM - Reply

    these look delicious! perfect for Christmas!

    • chef mimi November 30, 2020 at 4:51 PM - Reply

      They really are! Really good and unique.

  8. sherry November 30, 2020 at 8:18 PM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi November 30, 2020 at 8:20 PM - Reply

      Wow. No, i haven’t heard of Tim tams! But I need to get my hands on some! These are pretty yummy, too.

  9. Tandy I Lavender and Lime November 30, 2020 at 10:01 PM - Reply

    What a great idea to freeze them. On a hot summers day that would make a perfect treat.

    • chef mimi December 1, 2020 at 6:44 AM - Reply

      That’s true. Or any time of year. With tea, or sherry.

  10. Katherine | Love In My Oven November 30, 2020 at 10:10 PM - Reply

    These look delicious! They’d make a wonderful addition to a cookie box this year.

    • chef mimi December 1, 2020 at 6:43 AM - Reply

      They’re so good. And truly unique.

  11. Kiki December 1, 2020 at 6:40 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi December 1, 2020 at 6:42 AM - Reply

      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.

  12. Ron December 1, 2020 at 7:11 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi December 1, 2020 at 7:12 AM - Reply

      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!

  13. Healthy World Cuisine December 1, 2020 at 8:16 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi December 1, 2020 at 8:20 AM - Reply

      Hahahahahaha! Mine are in the freezer, so they’re less tempting! Really good, though.

  14. Jeff the Chef December 1, 2020 at 9:47 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi December 1, 2020 at 10:56 AM - Reply

      Well, you’re right. It’s just not the same, but then, I haven’t done a side by side taste test!

  15. Raymund December 1, 2020 at 4:47 PM - Reply

    Love the story behind the recipe! I too try to cook my grans rice cakes and sometimes ammend them to make it even better

    • chef mimi December 1, 2020 at 5:08 PM - Reply

      And why not?! That is part of the fun about cooking!

  16. Ann Coleman December 1, 2020 at 7:46 PM - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! This looks like a must-try for me!

    • chef mimi December 1, 2020 at 8:07 PM - Reply

      Aww, thanks. If you like the ingredients, you will love them rolled up as truffle balls!

  17. kitchenriffs December 2, 2020 at 9:14 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi December 2, 2020 at 9:33 AM - Reply

      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!

  18. Kim Bultman December 2, 2020 at 2:35 PM - Reply

    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,)

    • chef mimi December 2, 2020 at 3:04 PM - Reply

      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!

  19. sippitysup December 2, 2020 at 2:44 PM - Reply

    Sweet holiday perfection. GREG

    • Chef Mimi November 28, 2022 at 8:01 AM - Reply

      Thanks, Greg! (a belated thank you!)

  20. Eva Taylor December 3, 2020 at 7:21 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi December 3, 2020 at 7:23 AM - Reply

      The recipe doesn’t make that many… but freezing them is a good idea, cause you can just thaw a few at a time!

  21. David Scott Allen December 3, 2020 at 7:22 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi December 3, 2020 at 7:23 AM - Reply

      It’s super easy, and you know I’m not a baker. Although I’ve never piped them into fingers. I don’t pipe.

  22. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons December 3, 2020 at 10:57 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi December 3, 2020 at 12:06 PM - Reply

      I hope so, too! It better be! Thanks, and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  23. Linger December 3, 2020 at 1:45 PM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi December 3, 2020 at 2:12 PM - Reply

      Aw, Thanks! I just have a lot of stories cause I’m old!

  24. 2pots2cook December 4, 2020 at 6:20 AM - Reply

    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. :-)

    • chef mimi December 4, 2020 at 7:04 AM - Reply

      Well, that’s a wonderful way to look at it!

  25. Molly Pisula December 4, 2020 at 8:49 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi December 4, 2020 at 8:52 AM - Reply

      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.

  26. Irene December 4, 2020 at 9:09 AM - Reply

    Mmmmh, what a lovely recipe, and so festive!

    • chef mimi December 4, 2020 at 9:11 AM - Reply

      Thank you!

  27. Shannon December 8, 2020 at 4:31 AM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi December 8, 2020 at 7:33 AM - Reply

      No, they wouldn’t last long. There’s just so much yummy ness in a little ball!

  28. StefanGourmet December 18, 2020 at 10:51 AM - Reply

    These look divine!

    • Chef Mimi November 28, 2022 at 8:03 AM - Reply

      A belated thank you to you, Stefan!

  29. Kanika November 28, 2022 at 7:43 AM - Reply

    This is such a lovely recipe, Mimi! Will try it sometime.

    • Chef Mimi November 28, 2022 at 8:02 AM - Reply

      Thank you! They’re easy, or I wouldn’t be making them!

  30. Charlie DeSando November 28, 2022 at 7:54 AM - Reply

    Love the cognac addition. Yes, I would always add it!

    • Chef Mimi November 28, 2022 at 8:03 AM - Reply

      It adds just a little something, without being too strong.

  31. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen November 28, 2022 at 8:25 AM - Reply

    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!

    • Chef Mimi November 28, 2022 at 1:35 PM - Reply

      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!

  32. terrie gura November 28, 2022 at 9:05 AM - Reply

    Well, these just sound heavenly! Chocolatey AND boozy? Count me in for that little one-bite dessert!

    • Chef Mimi November 28, 2022 at 1:33 PM - Reply

      Not too boozy. Just a bit of extra flavor!

  33. cookingwithauntjuju.com November 28, 2022 at 9:05 AM - Reply

    I remember these truffles from a few years ago – haven’t made them yet but I did buy some of those dishes :)

    • Chef Mimi November 28, 2022 at 1:33 PM - Reply

      Hahahahaha! That’s funny!!!

  34. Jeff the Chef November 28, 2022 at 9:21 AM - Reply

    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!

    • Chef Mimi November 28, 2022 at 1:33 PM - Reply

      Oh good! They’re way better than cookies! This year was a weird one, wasn’t, it?!

  35. Healthy World Cuisine November 28, 2022 at 1:04 PM - Reply

    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.

    • Chef Mimi November 28, 2022 at 1:32 PM - Reply

      Thank you! Hope you can make them!

  36. Mary November 28, 2022 at 1:50 PM - Reply

    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 :))

    • Chef Mimi November 29, 2022 at 9:01 AM - Reply

      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!

  37. Sherry M November 28, 2022 at 7:26 PM - Reply

    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!

    • Chef Mimi November 29, 2022 at 9:02 AM - Reply

      Oh goodness. Yes, I do know my limits! One can always buy a real truffle!

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