There are some things that go hand-in-hand with Love – flowers, cards, gifts, diamonds and chocolates, especially Truffles, which have been a symbol of Love for ages and eons! So your Valentine Day celebration would indeed be incomplete without a round of deliciously smooth and chocolatey truffles for dessert. Just look at these seductive Chocolate Truffles made by Nic at Cherrapeno – filled with a ruby-red raspberry filling that oozes out in every bite, these are perfect for Valentine’s Day, and unlike a gorgeous layered cake, a fancy cheesecake or Red Velvet Cupcakes, these are not as hard to pull off, so you know you can’t go wrong with these babies!
For those who are simply not raspberry fans, I have added a bunch of ideas so you can experiment with your choice of flavors – hazelnut, pistachio, caramel, cardamom, even ones that have a hint of chipotle to add a bit of fire to your dessert!
So what’s the secret behind a good Truffle recipe? Well, there are a few key ingredients, and a couple techniques that will help you make delicious truffles. The first and foremost is the Chocolate. It is necessary to use a choccolate with high coca content, at least 65% cocoa. The Ganache is the creamy center of a truffle that gives it that smooth, velvetty texture. You can replace these with fruit or other fillings if you like. The third is the heavy Cream, it is imperative to melt the chocolate gently in the cream so it does not burn or scald, and that’s why we use a technique called Double Boiler. This keeps the chocolate from burning and gives it a silky smooth consistency that is the foundation of a delicious truffle. And finally, if you are using any liqueur, use the best quality one so it enhances the flavor in a subtle way, rather than making it taste like alcohol!
Hopefully, these simple tips will help you follow the process better. So go on and experiment with your choice of flavors, and make this an extra-special valentines!
Chocolate Raspberry Truffles
Makes about 50 truffles
7 oz good quality plain chocolate, broken into squares
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons Framboise (raspberry) liqueur
6 oz fresh raspberries (1 cup)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, you may need less
Put the chocolate and cream into a glass bowl and heat very gently in the microwave for 1 minute – stirring every 20 seconds until chocolate is melted and mixed with the cream – it may take a couple of minutes depending on your microwave, or melt in a double boiler over simmering water. The latter is a preferred technique, as it prevents the chocolate from scalding.
Stir in Framboise (raspberry liqueur), if using in the recipe. Put raspberries, a few at a time, into the chocolate mixture and gently turn to coat using a fork or a teaspoon, then scoop them out, one at a time and put them onto a tray lined with baking parchment paper.
Chill for at least an hour.
Put the cocoa powder into a plastic bag and add the truffles, shaking gently in the bag to coat them. Transfer onto a plate and keep chilled until ready to serve.
These can be kept for up to 2 days in the fridge.
Orange Chipotle Chile Truffles
Add 1 tbsp each of orange zest and chipotle chili pepper to the cream and chocolate mixture while boiling. Also add 2 tbsp orange liqueur, and proceed with the rest of the recipe. You’ll end up with a lovely combination of orange-flavored truffles with a chili kick, acting as a perfect aphrodisiac for the romantic dinner!
Hazelnut (Nutella) Truffles
Combine Nutella and butter in equal proportions and whisk until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy. Using a melon-ball scooper, drop truffle balls on a parchment paper and refrigerate till it hardens. Follow with the chocolate coating.
Use the recipe above, but take 5 green cardamom pods, and crush them till they are coarsely powdered. Combine the cardamom and heavy cream. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. Strain the cream, discard the cardamom, and continue with the recipe by heating cream and chocolate together in a bowl, as described above.
Mostly everyone I know love pistachios, and this is a fun way to enjoy these nuts. Just make regular chocolate truffles, and once chilled, instead of rolling them in cocoa powder, roll them in finely-ground pistachios until evenly coated. You can also use peanuts or mixed nuts to coat the truffles.
These are just a few of my favorites, but as you all know, the possibilities are endless! Just use your imagination to make your own flavored truffles that you and your valentine will love. At the end, its the love that counts, right?!