If you're looking for an unusual sweet for Valentine's Day, try this recipe for chai tea truffles. Chocolate infused with flavors from the East--what more could you want!
• 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons loose black tea
• 2 4-inch cinnamon sticks
• 10 whole cloves
• 10 whole green cardamom pods
• 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 pound dark chocolate, preferably 70 to 72 percent, coarsely chopped
• 1/2 cup sifted cocoa powder
Combine the cream, tea, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom pods, fennel seeds and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook just until bubbles form around the edge. Cover, remove from the heat and let sit for 30 minutes.
Add the butter and return the saucepan to medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted, the mixture is heated through and small bubbles have formed around the edge of the saucepan.
Place the chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Strain the hot cream mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl with the chocolate. Discard the solids in the strainer; stir the chocolate until it is thoroughly melted and smooth. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator; stir every 20 minutes until the mixture thickens (this should take about 1 hour) and can be rolled into small balls.
When ready to form the truffles, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Place the cocoa powder in a small bowl.
Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of the chilled chocolate mixture; use your hands to roll it into a ball that is not smooth, then roll the ball in the cocoa powder. Roll again to make the exterior smooth and place on the lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chocolate mixture.
From Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough