Throughout time, a special place has been reserved for chocolate. The ancient Aztecs enjoyed chocolate for special events and only royalty was allowed to indulge. Chocolate was originally served as a beverage, much as we might drink coffee today. So this Mothers Day make a little something special for your mom or sweetheart.
Chocolate was not always the sweet treat we’ve come to know. Aztecs did not add sugar to the beverage, so it was very dark and bitter. It wasn’t until chocolate beverages were introduced in Europe — where the bitter taste was too much for royal palates — that sugar was added.
Apart from its place among royalty and in sacred rituals, chocolate has long been considered an aphrodisiac. It has even been consumed to improve performance in the bedroom. Perhaps that is why gifts of chocolate are often the norm on Valentine’s Day — a time for romance and love.
While there are many types of chocolate and each person has his or her favorite, a well-known French confection is the chocolate truffle. These decadent desserts provide three layers of chocolate: a creamy ganache center, a thin shell of chocolate and a dusting of cocoa powder. Their richness belies the easy recipe. All it takes is a few ingredients to make homemade chocolate truffles.
Makes about 11/2 pounds
14 ounces dark chocolate (preferably 70% cocoa),
or high-quality unsweetened baking chocolate
8 ounces heavy cream
8 ounces additional dark chocolate, for melting
11/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a saucepan. Break up the 14 ounces of chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
Add the hot cream to the chocolate, stirring until all the chocolate is melted and forms a creamy ganache. Place the soft ganache into the refrigerator to thicken until it is able to hold a shape.
Using two spoons (or your fingers if you don’t mind getting messy), scoop and roll small balls of the ganache into round balls. Place the ganache balls onto waxed or parchment paper.
In a double boiler, melt the remaining chocolate. Place the cocoa powder in a bowl or plate for dredging.
Dip each ganache ball into the melted chocolate. Then roll in the cocoa powder until coated.
Let the truffles dry and harden slightly before serving. Enjoy.