*Makes about 24 truffles
1 To make the filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the cream over low heat until small bubbles appear around the edges. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
2 Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Pour in the hot cream and let stand for 1 minute. Whisk gently until the chips are completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a 7 x 1 l-inch baking pan and let stand at cool room temperature until firm, at least 4 hours. The filling mixture can also be refrigerated, but don't refrigerate it until it is rock hard, just until firm enough to roll into balls.
3 To roll and dip the truffles: Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Using a melon baller or a dessert spoon, scoop up the chocolate filling, roll between your palms to form l-inch balls, and place on the baking sheet. Freeze the balls until ready to dip.
4 In the top part of a double boiler set over very hot, but not simmering, water, melt the chocolate chips and oil, stirring occasionally, until smooth.
5 It is best to have a friend help you coat the truffles, as one person's hands will be covered in chocolate from the dipping. Line another baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. Place the cocoa powder in a small, shallow dish. Place the ingredients in a line in front of you in the following order: the baking sheet with the chocolate balls, the melted chocolate, the dish of cocoa powder, and the clean baking sheet.
6 Pick up a chocolate ball and place it in the palm of your hand. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate over the ball. Roll the ball between your palms, lightly but completely coating the ball in chocolate. (This will give you a thinner shell than dipping the ball in the chocolate and fishing it out, and to my mind it's much simpler.) Transfer the dipped truffle to the cocoa and roll to coat completely, then transfer to the clean baking sheet. If the truffle seems too soft to place on the baking sheet, refrigerate the truffle in the dish of cocoa until it firms up.
7 Refrigerate the coated truffles until the chocolate coating is hard, about 10 minutes. Transfer the truffles to an airtight container. (Store, refrigerated, for up to 5 days) Serve the truffles slightly chilled.
Almond Truffles: In a preheated 350 degree F. oven, bake 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) sliced almonds, stirring often, until lightly toasted and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade or using a large sharp knife, chop the almonds until very fine. Roll the dipped truffles in the almonds instead of cocoa powder. Pecans or walnuts may also be used.
Coconut Truffles: In a preheated 350 degree F. oven, bake 1 cup unsweetened dessicated coconut, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Roll the dipped truffles in the toasted coconut instead of the cocoa powder.