Spicy Mexican Chocolate Truffles

Makes 70-80 truffles

1 hour 30 minutes prep time, 5 hours total

For the ganache:

16 ounces good quality dark chocolate (about 72%)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For dipping the truffles:

16 ounces good quality dark chocolate (about 72%)
red pepper flakes

To make the ganache:

Finely chop the dark chocolate. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, cayenne, and cinnamon. Bring to a bare simmer, stirring occasionally, but do not allow to come to a boil – if the mixture gets too hot, the ganache will break. Add the chopped chocolate to the saucepan and shake so that it is completely submerged, then allow to sit for 1 minute. After the minute, stir with a rubber spatula. At first the mixture will look slightly curdled, but keep mixing until a smooth, glossy ganache forms. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and stir to incorporate. Let cool at room temperature for 15 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and let cool in the refrigerator about 1 hour, until it is firm enough to be rolled.

Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. When the ganache is firm, measure out heaping teaspoonfuls. Roll the ganache between your palms to form a ball about 1 inch in diameter. Set the ganache ball on the lined baking sheet and repeat until all the ganache is rolled. You should have about 45-50 truffles. Transfer to the refrigerator (or, if you want to dip the truffles immediately, the freezer) to allow to set.

To finish the truffles:

Finely chop the remaining chocolate. Transfer half of the chocolate to a heatproof metal bowl. Fill a small saucepan with about an inch of water and bring to a simmer. Set the bowl of chocolate on top, being careful not to allow any moisture to touch the chocolate. Stir occasionally and keep measuring the temperature. You want it to be at about 115 degrees. At this point, remove the bowl from the saucepan, quickly wipe the moisture off the bottom, and set the bowl on the counter. Stir vigorously with a rubber spatula. Little by little, add the rest of the chopped chocolate, continuing to stir and waiting until it is melted before you add more. You’re done when the chocolate reaches 90 degrees – it should take about ten minutes. (For more detailed instructions on how to temper chocolate, look here)

Drop a few balls of ganache into the melted chocolate. Stir them around to fully coat, then, using a fork, remove them from the chocolate and gently shake off the excess. Transfer them back to the parchment paper and sprinkle with a few red pepper flakes. The tempered chocolate will set up quickly, so you’ll need to garnish as you go! If you wait until all the truffles are dipped, they’ll already be dry and the flakes won’t stick. Repeat with the remaining ganache. If the melted chocolate starts to get too thick, carefully rewarm over the saucepan of water – but do not allow the temperature to rise above 90 degrees, or it will lose its temper. Let the truffles set up at room temperature (or in the refrigerator, if you prefer) for 1-2 hours before transferring them to a platter or boxes.

A Sugar Mountain Treats original