I will admit that occasionally I pursue a recipe idea just for the fun of it, or because it sounds good. But not this one. This is not just a conversation piece. The combination of hot chilies and dark chocolate is amazing.
I know this is a terrible tease. All you can see are little balls of chocolate. They could taste like anything, really.
How would you know that when you bite into these silky truffles you not only get the deep dusky taste of dark dark chocolate, but a pleasant hit of hot spice at the back of your throat. It’s a lovely, multi-layered experience.
And like so many interesting flavor combinations, this one is anything but new. Chocolate has been consumed by humans for thousands of years, and it was originally eaten, or drunk, unsweetened, and often paired with chili peppers. The word chocolate comes from the Aztec word for ‘bitter’, and the dark or bittersweet chocolate in these truffles plays off the hot chili in the most wonderful way.
I’d say this would be a perfect thing to make for your Valentine, or, better yet, with your Valentine. The process of making truffles is easy and pretty sensuous, actually.
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 5 hot cayenne chili peppers (or about 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or 1/2 tsp cayenne chili pepper --- more if you dare!)
- 8 oz good quality dark or bittersweet chocolate
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (for rolling)
- Put the cream in a small saucepan. Crush the red peppers into the cream. Heat the cream until it comes to a simmer, and then turn off the heat. Let it steep for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop up your chocolate into small pieces. You can do this with a knife, or put the rough chopped chocolate into your food processor and process until finely chopped. Cover the top loosely with a kitchen towel or you'll have fine chocolate dust everywhere. Put the chocolate pieces into a bowl.
- Heat the cream back up to a simmer, and immediately strain the cream into the the chocolate. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, and then stir until the mixture is smooth and glossy. If the chocolate isn't completely melted you can heat it for about 15 seconds in a microwave and stir again.
- Cover with plastic wrap and set the bowl in the refrigerator to cool for about 30 minutes, or until the ganache is of a scoopable texture.
- Using a small 1" sized scoop, a melon baller, or a teaspoon, scoop up small amounts of chocolate and set them on a plate. Work with about 10 truffles at a time.
- Roll each truffle around in your palms until it is a smooth ball.
- Roll each truffle in the cocoa powder until they are completely coated.
- Repeat the process with the rest of the truffles, cleaning your hands in between batches.
- You can store the truffles in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before serving.
- Feel free to adjust the amount of chili to suit your needs, if you don’t like super spicy things you can get a hint of heat with less.