Thursday, February 8, 2007
Valentine Chili Chocolate Truffles Recipe
Forget Godiva! Why buy a commercial truffle pumped with corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and potassium sorbate when you can make your own? “Swiss” truffles generally include four ingredients – chocolate, cream, butter and cocoa. This recipe includes a bit of cayenne to spice up your Valentine’s Day…
These chocolate treats are so named because of their physical resemblance to the underground fungi known as truffles. The natural truffles are prized for their nutty flavor and purported aphrodisiacal powers.
I first made chocolate truffles several years ago in Boston, and was surprised both at how easy they are to make and how much pleasure they bring to people. This recipe is perfect for beginners. Hard-shelled truffles (watch for the recipe in the future) require dipping in tempered chocolate, which is an additional, messy step.
One Christmas my friend Christina and I were inspired to make truffles as gifts for our friends and family. In preparation, we spent several weeks making personalized packaging by covering empty butter and cream cheese boxes with decorative paper, lining them with tissue, and tying them with ribbons and strings.
We then had a marathon truffle making and packaging session, and produced dozens of truffles of various flavors including cranberry, coconut, cinnamon and ginger. The truffles were mailed off to various parts of the United States and beyond. I don’t think I have the patience to make such elaborate packaging anymore, but the truffles themselves were simple and irresistible.
Makes 36 truffles
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound high quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)
1. Over medium heat bring cream and butter to a boil.
2. Remove from heat and put 1 pound of chopped chocolate into the mixture. Let it sit undisturbed for five minutes. Using a rubber spatula slowly mix the melted chocolate into the cream. Add cayenne and cinnamon. Taste and add more cayenne if desired.
3. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until firm (approximately one hour). You should stir the mixture five or six times during this period. As the mixture gets harder, stir it more frequently.
4. Using a tablespoon or melon baller form the cooled mixture into one inch balls. Many people do this step without touching the mixture but I suggest you use your hands to form truffle shapes. Place truffles on a cookie sheet covered with parchment or wax paper.
5. Chill truffles for 15 minutes.
6. Put cocoa into a shallow bowl and toss a few truffles at a time until coated. Using your hands or a spoon remove truffles to a plate.
In dessert making, the smooth mixture of melted chocolate and cream is known as ganache. Butter or corn syrup is often added to make it more shiny. Ganache is used as a glaze for cakes and pastries (especially éclairs).