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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Spicy chocolate truffles

We knew home-made truffles were better than store-bought ones (which also have the nerve to label themselves as "Belgian" truffles). But we didn't expect them to be this much better. Honestly, this is something you need to do as soon as possible. It's also ridiculously easy so it's fail proof even if this is your first time cooking anything
The original classic recipe contained just milk chocolate and cream for the composition and cocoa for the dusting. But if you know us by now, you'll trust that we couldn't help improving it so.... we changed the milk chocolate to a 3:1 ratio of milk and dark chocolate, added vanilla flavor and spiced up the cocoa with ground cinnamon, allspice and cardamom. The result: nirvana. Well, we mean no disrespect to the belief. Not nirvana, but something very close to pure bliss. Trust us, after making these your dessert-tasting life will be parted between the "before home-made spicy truffles" and "after".
Also, this resembles cooking risotto (I've previously talked about it when making Risotto with chicken strips and bell pepper) in terms of the magic of cooking. It gives the same feeling of fashioning something great out of mere common details in a process that involves spectacular transformations and scents. Enjoy! :)

Ingredients (makes a full large plate as seen above):
  • 300 g milk chocolate
  • 100 g dark chocolate (85% cocoa)
  • 150 ml cream
  • 1/2 vial of vanilla essence (about 10 drops)
  • cocoa for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/3 teaspoon allspice 
Unwrap the chocolate and have the cream nearby:

Break the chocolate into bite-sized pieces (it will speed the melting):

Arrange a smaller pot over a larger pot (filled with water) to create a bain-marie and put all the chocolate in it:

Turn on the heat on low-medium intensity and add the cream:

After it begins to melt, stir to help the process and blend everything in:

Add the vanilla drops and stir until the whole thing is uniform and looks like this (in about 5-6 minutes):

Put the chocolate cream away and let it cool:

Yes, it looks and smells yummy. When it completely cools, put it in the fridge for a couple of hours to cool and harden some more. Then, take it out and prepare two plates. Dust one with cocoa (about 5-6 teaspoons will do) and add the ground spices:

Mix the powders. Take about 1/2 - 2/3 of a teaspoon out of the chocolate cream mixture and shape it like a toffee candy with your fingers. You will notice that it melts in contact with you so work fast and dip it through the spicy cocoa until it's coated. Then, it will suddenly stop melting and you'll be able to reshape it easier. (I  actually knew that cocoa has a melting point around skin temperature from The Body Shop a long time before we ever started cooking, ha! :P)

Work every last one of them with love:

As you finish each one, put it on the empty plate. After you've finished, lick your fingers ;).

The truffles may be stored at room temperature only if it doesn't exceed 20-22 degrees Celsius. But if it's summertime, you'll be safer storing them in the fridge. Anyway, the coating will prevent future melting and also provide a nice bitter contrast with the soft and sweet inside. Dig in! 


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