You may know that we had a chocolate party a few weeks back. I figured it was about time to share my recipes.
I made two kinds of truffles, meant to be eaten together. The one on the left is a lavender-chocolate truffle. The one on the right, Earl Grey and chocolate. Both are vegan; the Earl Gray one is all organic as well. They won some sort of prize, though I have to say, I don’t remember which one. I got a Vosges chocolate bar as a prize, that much I know for sure.
Begin the way you might begin any truffles, by chopping the chocolate to make ganache.
To make the flavored chocolate, I steeped the cream. Warm it over the stove (slowly, don’t scald it) and add in the flavoring. I let the lavender steep much longer than I let the tea steep, resulting in a much stronger flavor in the final candy.
After the ganache has hardened overnight, pull it out of the fridge and bring to room temp. Then, slowly, painstakingly, roll out little balls of ganache.
This takes a while. Each of these little guys is about the size of a regular marble, and I made close to eighty of them. This is easiest if you just buckle down with a good album on the stereo (I have an entire chocolate party playlist—mostly Beirut and Devendra Banhart, spiked with Janelle Monae (the playlist was much longer than the party, lasting 12.5 hours)), and if you really let the ganache warm up to room temp. I was worried that it wasn’t coming together because I had used soy creamer, but it was because I was working with ganache that was too cool. Once it warmed up, it rolled into truffles just beautifully.
After the truffles have all been rolled out, it’s time to top them. This was an important step—since I was making two kinds, I had to distinguish between the two. You’ll see my first attempts at the lavender ones here. Only ONE is wrapped in a chocolate shell with a lavender bud on top. There were more of those, but I ate them (I had to taste and see if they were going to work, people).
I decided instead to dip the lavender ones in melted chocolate, and then in dark cocoa powder mixed with beautiful white and grey sugar crystals.
The Earl Grey ones I decided to coat in only melted chocolate. Earlier versions of these had a tiny sprinkle of orange zest on top, to bring out the tea flavor, but I decided against it at the last minute. The best way to do this is to heat the chocolate in the microwave (sorry, but it’s true) in thirty second intervals, stirring stirring stirring, so that you don’t over cook it (often, stirring will let you avoid the last 30-40 seconds you think you need to melt it). With gloved hands, I rolled each truffle in the melted chocolate and then gently placed it on parchment paper to set. (Note that for the lavender ones, I did this step and then rolled them in the cocoa powder seen below.)
Lavender truffle rolling station. Please hold your comments about the well-loved cookie sheet.
Earl Grey truffle insides.
I’ll leave you with a recipe for the basic truffle method and let you handle the customizing yourself. You could make these basic chocolate, or you could use white chocolate instead, for a twist. Or you could add orange zest, or Kahlua, or cinnamon and cardamom, or bacon and molasses (just a little—strain it from the cream before mixing with the chocolate).
I used to play this game with a friend where we’d try to come up with two foods that DIDN’T go together, and it’s harder than you think. The same is true with these truffles—most anything goes with chocolate, and the fun is in the experimenting. Though I guess, maybe next year, the fun might be in winning.
Heavily adapted from this recipe found at Epicurious.com.
2/3 cup heavy cream (I debated for a long time about whether to use coconut cream or soy cream. I ended up using soy cream because it was something like 50 cents cheaper at the store)
2 teaspoons loose Earl Grey tea leaves (I used Intelligentsia)
6 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Green and Blacks, 70 percent cacao)
1 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1. Simmer the cream over low heat and add in the tea leaves or the lavender or whatever spice combination you come up with.
2. Finely chop the chocolate. This is one of those times where the kitchen scale has come in so handy—I just chopped and chopped until I got exactly the right amount.
3. Strain the cream to remove the tea leaves. Pour the cream over the chocolate to make the ganache. Stir gently until all the pieces are dissolved. Let the ganache set for about an hour—or half an hour if you stick it in the fridge.
4. If you hardened the ganache in the refrigerator, pull it out and bring it up to room temp. Scoop and form tiny balls of ganache—mine are about the size of marbles.
5. Melt a little more chocolate, in the microwave, at thirty second intervals. Again, stir it to remove lumps—be patient, and they’ll all just smooth out.
6. Dip each little truffle in chocolate and then either roll it in cocoa powder or let it harden on a plate.