Complete Chocolate Lover’s Guide for the San Francisco Bay Area

Chocolate Chestnut Truffles

On a calorie & okane, d’argent (money) budget?


Make your own truffles as a way to watch your budget and your waistline

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… the perfect truffle recipe for both challenges!

Over 20 years ago I started using some recipes that I still use today, from “The Art of Low-Calorie Cooking” by Sally Schneider.

Recently, I had some highly rated chocolates in my stash that just were not moving quickly enough to my mouth, so I decided to revisit my trusty old friend, the low-cal recipe, for the Chocolate Chestnut Truffles. With Ms. Schneider’s gracious permission, I am sharing this wonderful recipe with you… BTW, my little stash is all gone! No trouble eating three little truffles each night.

Chocolate Chestnut Truffles
Daily ration of truffles shown on a plate by “Bailey Bowls.”

Chocolate Chestnut Truffles

“The Art of Low-Calorie Cooking” by Sally Schneider (Stewart, Tabori and Chang), page 208


1/4 pound (18-20) peeled whole roasted chestnuts (see note)

1/2 cup milk

1/3 vanilla bean, split

2 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

2 to 3 teaspoons Cognac or Armagnac

pinch salt

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cocoa powder


  1. In a small heavy saucepan, combine the chestnuts and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and simmer over very low heat until the water is evaporated but the chestnuts are still moist, about 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in the milk. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean in the mixture and add the bean. (I used vanilla paste). Cover and simmer over very low heat until the chestnuts are very tender and the milk has reduced slightly, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the chocolate, cover and set aside to melt, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is creamy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Discard the vanilla bean.
  3. In a food processor, combine the chocolate chestnut mixture and the corn syrup: process, scraping down the side occasionally, until the mixture is perfectly smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the Cognac to taste and the salt, and process for 1 minute longer. Transfer the truffle mixture to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until firm.
  4. Place the cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Scoop up 2 teaspoonfuls (I used a melon spoon – the smaller part) of the truffle mixture and roll into a rough ball with your fingers. Repeat with the remaining truffle mixture. Working with a few at a time, toss the truffles in the bowl of cocoa. Transfer to a plate as they are finished, then sift any remaining cocoa over them. (The truffles will keep refrigerated for several weeks in a tightly sealed container. If the truffles absorb the cocoa, sift a little more over them prior to serving.)

(I kept the truffle mixture in a sealed bowl in the refrigerator and made them up as I was about to eat them — just in case my will power weakened!)

NOTE: If peeled whole chestnuts are not available, canned unsweetened chestnut puree may be substituted. Truffles will have a slightly softer texture. In a small heavy saucepan, combine 1/2 cup (4 ounces) chestnut puree and 6 tablespoons milk. Add the vanilla scrapings and bean and proceed with the recipe. (I opted for this version and also used a vanilla paste since I love vanilla!)

Makes 20 truffles, 35 calories, .52 gm protein, 1.6 gm fat, 4.9 gm carbohydrate each.

The other great discovery when I contacted Sally Schneider for her permission was that she has other cookbooks, including “A New Way to Cook” and “The Improvisational Cook,” a blog, and writes for numerous magazines.

She suggested the Chocolate Mousse Cake in “A New Way to Cook.” This new-to-me cookbook has become my new go-to reference for all questions I have on cooking. The bonus is that she cooks without compromising on flavor with less calories!

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Published July 30, 2012