As you can see, I’m continuing on my Valentine’s Day chocolate bender. And why shouldn’t I? Isn’t this the one time of year people are supposed to shower you with chocolates? In addition to Easter, Halloween, and Christmas, that is. Ah well, any excuse to pound the cacao is a good one, IMHO.
Most truffle recipes follow the same general idea, so for consistency’s sake, I’ve just modified my basic truffle recipe with new information. The original post has lots of information about chopping and melting chocolate, so please check it out in case you have any questions.
Again, this recipe was inspired by Charity Ferreira’s candy cookbook, Brittles, Barks, and Bonbons – she has a chai-spiced recipe in there that is to die for, but they weren’t quite spicy enough for me. These truffles have a good little kick to them, but if you like them extra-extra spicy, sprinkle on a little more cayenne at the end. I wouldn’t recommend going overboard or you’ll kill the taste of the chocolate.
Spicy Chai Truffles Recipe
Yields about 24 – 3/4″ truffles.
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
3/4 cup heavy cream (fresh will make a big difference here)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (this reads one and a half teaspoons!)
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
Powdered ginger or cayenne in a shaker (whichever you prefer)
Small foil cups for packaging (available from a craft or cooking store)
Fill the bottom of your double boiler with a few inches of water, and set it to boil. Have the chopped chocolate waiting in the top of your double boiler but not yet set over the heat.
In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream just to a boil, then pour it over your chocolate. Gently mix the two and set them over the heat, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted. Stir in vanilla and cayenne, then cover and refrigerate until firm enough to handle (about four hours).
This is the fun part – getting your hands dirty! I do this in a two-part process to keep the coating from soaking into overly sticky truffles.
After your truffle mixture has firmed up, grab yourself a parchment-lined cookie sheet and a diminutive spherical portioning device (read: melon baller). In the absence of said device, two teaspoon will work just fine. Scoop about a teaspoonful of truffle mixture and then working as quickly as possible, roll it into a sphere shape with your hands. Try to make sure your hands are as cool as possible, or your truffles will melt as you roll them. It might be a good idea to keep a paper towel or two nearby, so that if your hands get caked with chocolate you can wipe them off. Set the rolled truffles on the lined cookie sheet, and keep going until you’ve finished all of your chocolate mixture.
Your truffle may look a little sticky at first. That’s fine, we’ll smooth them out in a second. You’ll want them to look like this:
Let your truffles sit for about ten minutes at room temperature, or stick them in the fridge if it’s a warm day (say, above 70F).
Add ground spices (cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves) to a small round-bottomed bowl, mixing them well. One at a time, pick up your truffles and roll them between your hands for a few seconds to barely warm the surface, then drop them in the bowl of spices. Toss the bowl a bit until the truffle is completely covered, then set it back on the cookie sheet. If you end up with a too much spice on your truffles, don’t shake them off until after they have firmed up again.
Once you’re done, put the cookie sheet full of truffles in the fridge for half an hour. Once they’re firm again, shake off any excess spice powder and put them in little foil cups for decoration. Sprinkle them with just a touch of cayenne or ginger, just enough to give them a sprinkling of flavor and color. Don’t go overboard, or they’ll be way too spicy.
These truffles will keep in the fridge for two weeks, but can be kept at room temperature for a few days. I like them a little softer, so I pull them out of the fridge a few hours before serving.