Place chocolate in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
Warm cream in a small saucepan over low heat. As soon as you start to see bubbles
around the edges of the pan, turn off the heat and pour the warm cream over the
chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is completely
Add the butter and stir until it is completely incorporated.
Stir in the vanilla extract.
Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until it is firm enough
to shape into balls.
Scoop out a heaping teaspoonful of the chocolate mixture and roll it into a ball
between your palms. Roll the ball in cocoa until it is completely covered. Roll
it lightly in your palms again to make sure the cocoa sticks, then re-roll the truffle
in cocoa. Repeat with the remaining chocolate mixture. If the mixture gets too soft
to hold its shape, place it back in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, until it can
be handled easily.
Store the truffles in layers, separated by wax paper, in an airtight container
in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
They are best served at room temperature.
Almond Truffles: Add 3 tablespoons almond liqueur (such as amaretto)
with the butter. If desired, you may also roll the truffles in 1/2 cup finely chopped
almonds instead of cocoa powder, or push a whole toasted almond inside the rounded
truffle before rolling it in the cocoa.
Irish Truffles: Add 3 tablespoons whiskey with the butter.
Orange Truffles: Add 3 tablespoons orange liqueur (such as Grand
Marnier) and 1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind with the butter.