I named these "Aztec truffles" because these dark chocolate treasures are flavored with cinnamon and red pepper, two spices commonly paired with chocolate in Aztec culture. There is also a hint of orange to complement the fruitiness of the dark chocolate. This is definitely a recipe where you want to splurge on the best chocolate you can afford--good chocolate transforms truffles into a truly gourmet experience.
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 12 ounces best-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped or grated
- Zest from one orange
- Two cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1. Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Combine the orange zest, cinnamon sticks, and crushed red pepper flakes with the cream in a medium small saucepan over medium heat, and bring the cream to a simmer. Once simmering, remove the pan from the heat and cover it with a lid. Let it sit for 30 minutes to absorb the flavors.
3. After 30 minutes, remove the lid, return the pan to the heat, and bring the cream to a simmer once more. Pour the hot cream through a fine mesh strainer into the chocolate bowl, straining out the cinnamon, orange zest, and pepper flakes.
4. Allow the hot cream and chocolate to stand for one minute to soften the chocolate, then whisk the mixture gently until the chocolate melts and the mixture is entirely smooth. Add the room temperature butter and salt, and whisk them in. This is your ganache.
5. Cover the ganache with cling wrap, placing the cling wrap directly on top of the ganache so that it is not exposed to air. Refrigerate the ganache until it is firm enough to scoop but not rock-hard, about 45-60 minutes.
6. Pour the cocoa powder into a shallow bowl. Dust your hands with cocoa powder. Scoop teaspoonfuls of ganache and roll them between your hands to make them round, adding more cocoa powder as necessary to keep them from sticking. You should get 36-40 1-inch truffles from this recipe. Place the truffles on a baking sheet covered with parchment or waxed paper.
7. Store Aztec Truffles in an airtight container for up to a week. They are best served at room temperature when their flavor and texture is the best.
Note: I like a bit of a kick in my truffles, and I find 1 /2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes is just to my liking. If you are worried they will be too spicy for you, try using only 1/4 tsp instead.
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