Chai And Chocolate

I’ve been making a lot of truffles lately — for totally good reasons, mind you, as gifts for wonderful people who really deserve a special treat. Not just as insanely decadent indulgences for myself. I can’t help that there are leftovers. I just want to make that clear.

Where was I? Oh, right.

So when my brother sent us a sampler of really nice teas from Market Spice, the inevitable happened. I still had cream in the fridge from the last batch of truffles; I had fresh, incredibly aromatic chai spices; and I had a note mentioning that the latter could “also be used to flavor milk or cream for puddings, etc.”

I am all about “etc.”

Picture this: a very good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped and heaped in a white bowl. Next to it, a small saucepan in which rich cream is slowly being raised to scalding temperature. In the cream floats a spoonful of spices, with seeds left whole or cracked into large pieces. Cardamom and cloves scent the air. When the hot cream is strained over the chocolate, the mass of shards shifts and settles. Gradually the chocolate is overcome, and begins to meld into the spiced cream.

And that’s just making the ganache. Don’t even get me started on shaping and dipping and rolling in chopped filberts.

Just in case you are now tempted: the ratio is 4oz chocolate to 1/3 c cream. Scald the cream and pour it over the chocolate, then stir until smooth. Chill until workable and roll into small balls. You’ll need another 4+ oz chocolate to dip the truffles (freeze for about 15 minutes before dipping) or you can just roll them in cocoa powder. Or you can — not that I’ve ever done this, mind you — eat the ganache directly with a spoon.

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