orange-scented chocolate truffles
I have never been one to shy away from the festivities of Valentine’s Day. Oh, I know, it’s nice to show those you love affection year-round…of course. But I’m always up for a celebration, and if it involves chocolate and pops of red and pink against the bleak midwinter grays, you can count me in.
This year I was looking for something simple but elegant that I could make for a few special people, as well as for B and I to enjoy with our bottle of Hellbender port (a favorite dessert wine we discovered on a wine tasting at Red Newt Cellars last summer) that we’ve been saving for V-day. Truffles immediately came to mind — they’re quick to make (basically just ganache that you chill and roll into balls), look pretty in a box or on a plate, and can be flavored any way you please.
The first homemade chocolate truffles I ever tasted were at a friend’s house in middle school. Her mom had a handwritten recipe for “truffes au chocolat” that produced tiny, cocoa-covered nubs of dark chocolately ganache, lightly flavored with orange. They seemed so sophisticated to me – the taste as well as the fact that the recipe was in French! They are also exactly what I’m in the mood for as of late: a few tiny bites of intense flavor, as opposed to a large honking hunk of sugar. Elegant. Memorable.
You can whip these up in plenty of time to give to your loved ones on Tuesday. Box them up or put them on a pretty platter, serve with some port (or coffee or tea), and swoon. Happy Heart’s Day!
Orange-Scented Chocolate Truffles
8 oz quality bittersweet chocolate (I used Callebaut 70% bittersweet)
4 oz heavy cream
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
cocoa powder, for rolling
Chop the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream with the zest and orange juice until it just comes to a boil, then pour over the chopped chocolate. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes, then stir until smooth and glossy. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until firm but still pliable.
Scoop ganache into teaspoon-sized balls; roll between your hands to make spheres. Don’t worry if they’re not perfect – that’s part of their charm. Chill balls for about 15 minutes before rolling in cocoa powder.
Makes about 2 dozen.