With Christmas quickly approaching I’ve been thinking hard about what to give as christmas gifts this year. I have my own tradition of always baking gifts for teachers and friends. Sophomore year I made peppermint marshmallow and last year I wrapped up boxes of cookies to look like little presents. This year though I wanted to make something a little more sophisticated. So instead of typical homemade cookies I’m making truffles.
Truffles seem like an intimidating thing to make but they’re really not. They’re pretty simple as long as you know the basics of working with chocolate. My truffle recipe is kind of a mix between two other recipes and my own ideas. My inspiration came from Martha Stewart’s recipe for Earl Grey Tea infused truffles. I had some Tazo Chai tea in the pantry from making iced chai tea lattes this summer so I decided to use some of that up. And personally I think Chai works better in a truffle than Earl Grey. The flavor of Chai is warm, made from cinnamon, cardamom, and interestingly enough, black pepper.
Martha, although I love her, is a rich old woman with a staff of pastry chefs and has access to the best and most expensive ingredients in the world. I do not have any of those. I’m a one woman show with a small income that simply cannot afford Valrhona chocolate. So her recipe, which uses almost two pounds of the finest chocolate and makes 117 individual truffles, was not one I planned on using. Instead I found a basic recipe online and tweaked it to fit my idea. To get the infusion of Chai I steeped the tea bags in the milk as I heated it. I was a bit worried the chai wouldn’t come through after the ganache was made but I was pleasantly surprised. There is a distinct Chai flavor and aroma, and never overpowering. So for the perfect unique holiday truffle, Chai is definitely the way to go.
Chai Infused Chocolate Truffles
Basic truffle ingredients
- 8 ounces of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (high quality, 62% cacao or higher), well chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Note: I doubled this recipe using 8 ounces of Lindt dark chocolate and 8 ounces of Lindt milk chocolate
1 In a small, heavy saucepan bring the heavy whipping cream to a simmer (this may take a while, be sure to stir and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula every few minutes).
If you are infusing with Chai, heat the cream and then add three tea bags and remove from heat. Let the mixture steep for about a half hour and then remove tea bags. Heat the cream to a simmer again.
2 Place the chocolate in a separate bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate, add the vanilla, and allow to stand for a few minutes then stir until smooth. (This chocolate base is called ganache.)
3 Allow to cool, then place in the refrigerator for two hours. Remove and with a teaspoon roll out balls of the ganache. Roll in your hands quickly (as it will melt from the heat of your hands) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
4 Roll in cocoa powder or chopped nuts and serve, or place back in the refrigerator until needed.