Looking for something a little bit different this Valentine's Day? We've got just the thing to spice up your evening -- a homemade chocolate truffle recipe with just a soupçon of surprise!
This truffle recipe is super easy to make, but it stands out from other truffles you may have tried. That's because this recipe has a bit of extra flavor in the form of Espelette pepper, a Basque pepper that makes these truffles just a bit spicy.
But don't worry about being too overwhelmed by spice. Espelette pepper is actually quite mild as compared to other chilis you might be used to. It's very fragrant and aromatic, with a rustic flavor and a hint of floral sweetness. It will add just the right amount of vibrancy to the chocolate truffles.
The recipe itself is super easy to make, but it does require a bit of resting time. We recommend starting the ganache in the morning -- it takes about 5 minutes to prepare and set out to cool -- and then when you're ready to roll the truffles, call your Valentine into the kitchen to help!
Homemade Espelette Pepper Truffle Recipe
(makes about 20)
200 grams good quality organic dark chocolate
200 ml heavy cream
20 grams butter
1 pinch fleur de sel
2 tsp. Espelette pepper
1 tbsp. brewed coffee
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. Espelette pepper
Heat the cream in a saucepan until hot but before it boils. You should begin to see small bubbles form on the surface.
Remove the cream from the heat and break the chocolate into the cream. Add the butter and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Mix in the fleur de sel, coffee and Espelette pepper.
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Pour the mixture into a flat dish, like a Pyrex. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 2-3 hours, until the ganache has solidified. This can be sped up a bit in the fridge, but it's better to do it at room temperature and not risk ruining the texture of the chocolate or, above all, having the ganache solidify unevenly, as it will likely do if the outsides of the dish are colder.
When the ganache is set, begin spooning out balls of it. Place them on a plate, not touching.
While you're not looking to form the truffles at this point, you do want to make sure that each truffle ball is about the same size. It's also nice to have them in slightly rounded mounds. The best way to go about this is to take a portion of ganache with one teaspoon and use another teaspoon to remove it and simultaneously shape it a bit as you place it on the plate.
At this point, the truffles can go in the fridge, but only for a short period. All you want is for them to be cool enough so that when you pick them up, they're solid enough to handle. This takes about 10-15 minutes in the fridge, but may take another 2 hours at room temperature.
When the truffles are solid enough to handle, prepare a dish of cocoa mixed with the remaining Espelette pepper. Place each truffle between your palms and roll it into a ball. You'll want to handle them very quickly or risk them melting. When the truffle is rolled, drop it into the dish. (This is where you may want to call your significant other into the kitchen!) You can either do them in batches, rinse your hands, and then shake the dish to coat the truffle, or a cooking partner can help you with the shaking.
Your truffles are ready to be served! They keep fairly well in the fridge in a sealed container for about a week.
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All images by Emily Monaco