Makes about 3 dozen large truffles or 5 dozen small truffles
Truffles are not hard to make and they’re a delicious, decadent dessert or special gift. You could make these with peppermint, lavender, basil, or even tarragon. I find, however, that orange mint is my favorite—delightful with a subtle, yet slightly exotic fragrance and taste. For best results, buy the highest- quality chocolate you can find.
• 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
• About eight 4- to 5-inch sprigs orange mint
• 1 pound bittersweet chocolate (70 percent cocoa)
• About 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1. Combine the heavy cream with the orange mint in a 2-quart, heavy-bottomed nonreactive saucepan. Bruise the leaves against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring the contents of the pan to a simmer and remove from heat. Cover, and let the herbs steep in the cream for 30 minutes.
2. Break the chocolate up into small pieces or chop with quick pulses in a food processor. Remove the herb sprigs from the cream, squeezing them to extract their essence. Gently reheat the cream until almost simmering. Remove from heat and stir the chocolate into the cream until well blended.
3. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and allow it to cool and set (about 1 to 2 hours), but do not allow it to become cold and hard. (You can use an ice bath or set the bowl in the refrigerator if you watch it carefully.) Whisk or beat the mixture for a few minutes until it reaches spreading consistency. If it isn’t firm enough, chill it a little more. If it’s too hard, set it over a bowl of warm water for a minute.
4. Put the cocoa powder on a saucer or plate. Using two teaspoons or a small, round scoop, spoon out the truffle mixture, form it into a round, and drop onto the saucer. Roll the truffles in the cocoa to lightly coat them. Place finished truffles in a storage container between layers of wax paper. Store the truffles in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to two weeks. Serve at cool room temperature.
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