I'm catering dessert for a friend's book club meeting next week. I don't know what they're reading, but apparently they're quite a group of chocoholics, so one of the things I'm making for them are these tiny dark chocolate truffles infused with the flavors of Turkish coffee. I don't see any reason to file away truffles just because the holiday season is over. I think they're the perfect mid January after dinner reward for all the dieting and organizing everyone's been doing.
Even though I've been making truffles for years, I still can't quite believe that something so delicious is so utterly simple to make. It seems counter to the rules of food physics or something. I love that I can make them a few days ahead, and I also like that they are bite sized, so people who just want a taste of something sweet can do that without having a whole plate of dessert.
I mixed a tablespoon of instant espresso powder with the heavy cream and dropped in a few roasted and crushed cardamom pods. I let them steep for about 10 minutes before I strained the hot cream over the dark chocolate. Just those few minutes of steeping infuses the truffles with a subtle background hint of cardamom...very exotic.
makes about 30 small truffles
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
5 cardamom pods, cracked open
8 oz good quality dark chocolate, cut in small pieces
unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting (about 1/2 cup)
- Pour the cream into a small saucepan, along with the coffee powder and cardamom pods. Heat over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the coffee powder. When the cream almost reaches the simmer, turn off the heat and let it steep for 10 minutes.
- Put the chocolate in a small bowl.
- Bring the cream back up to a simmer, then pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Stir the chocolate cream mixture to completely melt the chocolate. Keep stirring until you have a smooth glossy mixture. If there are still any lumps of chocolate, you can microwave the mix for about 10 seconds.
- Pour the ganache into a shallow pan, like a pie plate. No need to spread it out.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the ganache is firm enough to scoop, this will take about an hour to an hour and a half.
- Remove from the refrigerator and, using a small 1" scoop, melon baller, or a teaspoon, scoop small portions of the ganache and roll between your palms to form a smooth round ball. Set the balls on a plate while you finish the rest. Don't worry if you can't get the truffles perfectly round---the candy is named after the rare underground mushrooms that are famously misshapen!
- Roll the truffles in the cocoa powder to completely and evenly coat them. Store in the refrigerator, or at room temperature.