Mexican Hot Chocolate Truffles

I like the idea of Valentine’s Day – not the crowded-restaurant-buy-me-flowers-and-a-card version of the day – but of just having another reason to celebrate love. And to make sweet things. Just when the holiday season is becoming a memory another occasion swoops in and, along with it, an excuse to make treats for the people I care about. I’ll take it!

Truffles are a great homemade Valentine’s gift because, despite being quick and easy to make, they have a celebratory air about them (which I find a little funny, since as far as I can tell they are just the socially accepted version of eating spoonfuls of chocolate ganache). They also store well and can take on any number of flavors.

This year I made truffles inspired by the winter beverage of choice in our household: Mexican hot chocolate. I love how the warmth of cinnamon and kick of cayenne marry with bittersweet chocolate to become simultaneously comforting and exciting. Since I knew we would devour them in one night I made a relatively small batch; feel free to double or triple the recipe to treat a crowd or to save for later.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Truffles

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
¼ c heavy cream
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Tiny pinch of salt
¼ c cocoa powder

1. Finely chop the chocolate and set aside in a small bowl.

2. Bring cream, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt to boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and let sit for about thirty seconds, then stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least four hours.

3. Once hardened, use a spring-loaded scoop or melon baller of whatever size you’d like to scoop out balls of the ganache. Roll the ganache between your palms to create the truffle balls. I found it was easiest to scoop out all the truffles in one sitting but only get them into roughly the shape I wanted, then to put them back into the fridge for 10 minutes or so before shaping them closer to perfect spheres.

4. Put the cocoa powder in a small bowl and roll each truffle in the cocoa to give it a nice matte coating.

Makes 10 tablespoon-sized truffles

Elizabeth’s Wine Pairing Suggestion:
A. Simoneau, Brut Rosé – NV

Don’t miss the Astor Wines Sweetheart Sale 2/9-2/13

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