Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Hot for Chocolate? Mexican Hot Chocolate Truffles
Now that the weather has cooled down, I found myself in the mood again to make chocolate truffles. I guess you can say I'm looking forward to the holiday season. Every year, I give my friends and family boxes filled with my homemade goodies, and almost always I include chocolate truffles. I started doing this about ten years ago, when I was a poor college student and couldn't afford to buy gifts for everyone. Nowadays, the boxes are a bit bigger and the goodies are even more delectable.
I have to admit, one of my favorite movies of all time is 'Chocolat.' It has the trifecta of having a beautiful French town as a backdrop, luscious images of chocolate and my schoolgirl crush ... Johnny Depp. I remember being so intrigued when Vianne added a little bit of chili pepper to a cup of hot chocolate. Hmmm...I wonder how that would taste. I had to give it a try once I got home. C'est si bon! I never thought you could add anything to chocolate to make it more addictive. Well, I stand corrected.
So late last night, I got to work on a sinful confection. I dug out one of my favorite chocolate truffle recipes and began infusing flavors like cayenne pepper, cinnamon and honey into it. After enrobing it in semi-sweet chocolate, I sprinkled a little bit more cayenne pepper and cinnamon on top. I decided to call them Mexican Hot Chocolate Truffles.
You don't have to be a chocolatier or a pastry chef to make these exotic chocolates. It's incredibly easy to make and you don't even have to temper the coating chocolate. In fact, I learned this simple technique when I was thirteen, waaaay before I went to pastry school.
Trust me, if you make these for your friends and family, they'll think you bought them from an uber-chic chocolate shop ;-)
Mexican Hot Chocolate Truffles
makes about 60 truffles
Allergy Note: contains dairy ingredients
16 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
4 Tbs. butter
1 oz. honey
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper *
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tsp. vegetable shortening
ground cayenne pepper
*For a little kick , start with 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and see if that's enough. If you really want to knock your socks off, add 2 teaspoons or more.
For the truffle filling, place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine heavy cream, butter, honey, cinnamon and cayenne pepper in a saucepan and cook over low heat until it starts to simmer. Remove from heat and pour over the bowl of chocolate chips. Wait for a few minutes for the chocolate to soften. Add almond extract and vanilla extract. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, slowly stir the mixture until it becomes smooth and shiny. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until the mixture is slightly firm.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. Measure out teaspoonfuls of the truffle filling and drop them onto the cookie sheet. Freeze them for 15 to 20 and then roll them into balls. Freeze them again for 10 to 15 minutes more or until firm.
For the coating chocolate, combine the chocolate chips and vegetable shortening in a bowl and melt over hot water. Stir until smooth. Drop the truffles into the chocolate coating one at a time, quickly coat them and remove with a fork. Gently shake off any extra chocolate and place the truffle onto the cookie sheet. Sprinkle cayenne pepper and cinnamon on top before the chocolate sets up.
You can store the truffles in an airtight container in the refrigerator.