Saturday, January 12, 2008

Tea-Tinged Truffles

I'm still in the midst of "eating down the pantry", as Lydia put it, although I did go shopping for some perishables like eggs and milk last night. Meanwhile, let me tell you about these chocolate truffles that I made as a contribution to the New Years Eve feast that our neighbor had invited us to.

Now that I have discovered how easy and fun it is to make confections at home, I can't seem to stop myself. But these truffles were a joy to put together, with a short ingredient list, and no fiddly techniques involved, but results that looked quite impressive. The only thing is to pay attention to the proportion of cream to chocolate: too much cream, and the truffles won't hold their shape; too little cream and the mixture will harden too much and be difficult to roll. A mixture of milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate works well because it has a good balance of sweetness and pure chocolate taste. I buy chocolate in 3.5 oz bars, and it was convenient for me to use a bar of each type of chocolate to make these truffles.

The recipe comes from one of my favorite blogs- The Perfect Pantry. While Lydia flavored hers with coffee, I was loyal to my tea-loving self and flavored these truffles with tea and tea masala. I had half a mind to call them chai truffles or maybe even chai tea truffles but I wisely refrained! So here they are...

Tea-Tinged Truffles

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(Adapted from Lydia's recipe; makes about 18 truffles)
Ingredients:
1 3.5 oz bar fair-trade bittersweet chocolate
1 3.5 oz bar fair-trade milk chocolate
1/2 C heavy cream
2 t extra-strong black tea decoction (I used orange pekoe)
3-4 drops tea masala extract
1/3 C chopped toasted pistachios
Method:
1. Finely chop the chocolate bars and place together in a bowl.
2. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until it is almost boiling.
3. Pour onto the chocolate and let it stand for a couple of minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. Whisk well to blend the chocolate and the cream into a smooth glistening mixture. Stir in the tea and the tea masala (I dissolved the masala in the tea first).
4. Cover and chill the mixture for 1.5-2 hours.
5. Wash hands well before shaping the truffles (or wear gloves). Scrape up a small portion of the chilled chocolate mixture with a teaspoon and roll it gently in your palms to form a truffle. Roll truffles in pistachio bits to coat them.

All done!
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Chocolate truffles are a blank canvas that can be filled, coated and flavored with an assortment of goodies that is only limited by the imagination of the cook. Take a look at these truffles laced with cardamom, balsamic vinegar, orange zest , cayenne pepper and green tea. There was a whole Sugar High Friday devoted to truffles; here is the incredible round-up of that event.

I'm sending these tasty morsels to Mansi Desai for her Game Night Event that showcases simple and tasty party recipes. The term Game Night evokes very conflicting emotions within me :D On one hand, sporting events make me weep with boredom, and those infernal game nights where people gather around a big screen TV and lustily cheer on a bunch of people running after some ball...they make want to run screaming into the woods. But I do enjoy those Game Nights that involve sedate board games like Pictionary and Taboo. Well, these bite-size portion-controlled treats are the perfect dessert for *any* gathering. They would also make a magical gift when packed into a pretty box.

What are you planning to do this weekend? Have a wonderful, relaxing time!

37 comments:

  1. Ooooh, these are so much better than mine! One of my promises to myself for this year is to incorporate tea (especially green tea) into my cooking more often, so next time I'm truffling, I'm making your recipe. You're inspiring me to dig deeper into my pantry, too -- the shelves are full, so there must be something to cook in there!

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  2. Hey Nupur! thanks so much for this lovely addiiton to my event:) I share your thoughts about football and ball games:)

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  3. ooooooohhh!!! these look go very good!!! Have never tried making these at home... but your recipe is reallly inspiring me!!! thanx :)

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  4. A lot of people shy away from truffles because they think they're going to be difficult to make, but they really aren't. I like it mostly because I have a good reason to make a mess of the kitchen! And what a coincidence: I'm in the process of eating down my pantry, too. My husband hates doing that, but I find it pushes me to be creative in the kitchen. Have a great weekend!

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  5. Nupur, the truffles are so tempting, I also like the tea and chocolate combo, I made a pudding with this combo a while ago - the webpage
    http://valliskitchen.blogspot.com/2008/01/chocolate-on-1st.html

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  6. oh, yum! reminds me of Suvir Saran's excellent chai pots de creme, but plus COCOA. Who could possibly resist? (I'm serious, let me know --- that's an extra share I'm coming after!)

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  7. Pretty truffles Nupur, I wish I could bite into one right away!!

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  8. Truffels r tempting.. tea flavoured - interesting variation! Likedcthat idea..Your Pantry cleaning up is going good Nupur, we r getting great dishes everyday:-)

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  9. Nupur,my pantry hasn't been empty for quite a while now...I know, I'm such a hoarder...just can't stop myself...better start cleaning out too...and those are some beautiful truffles...only, I'll have to substitute the 'chai' flavour...I don't drink this beverage (strange , huh?)

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  10. and as tea and chocolates are high in anti-oxidants...i know these are great for me...so i should ignore the qty i eat...who am i kidding ;D

    looks great nupur..

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  11. Sedate? Pictionary and Taboo? Not in our neck of the woods! :-D But I'm with you on "cheering on a bunch of people running after some ball" and that includes cricket.

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  12. Yummy! This will liven up the game nights for folks like us :). Chai and chocolate, double delight! Save some for me, yaar!

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  13. ...those truffles look really good. A dash of liquor will make this sooo good....

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  14. I've been thinking about making my own truffles... I have all the ingredients, but I never seem to start. Don't know why.

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  15. Oh my, those must have been wonderful! I love the idea of spicing up chocolate truffles... I wonder if you could infuse the cream with real tea and chai masala and then chill it again rather than using extracts?

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  16. Nupur,
    I can't wait to try this - using tea masala is a great idea. I'll p'bly make some with orange liqueur as well.

    Mamatha

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  17. Lydia, oh, I bet the coffee version was just delicious too! The tea flavor here is probably a lot more subtle than the coffee was, but did taste quite special. Your recipe was so simple to follow, and worked great! Thank you for sharing it :)

    Mansi, and yet you are hosting game night?! :D But good food can take away a lot of the pain of watching sports ;)

    Ramya, they are too easy to make at home...give it a try :)

    Mari, I know, I went years and years without dreaming of making them at home! Good luck with your pantry suppers and hope you had a happy weekend :)

    Valli, your pudding looks just delicious!

    Rodosee, yes, they truly are irresistible little morsels :)

    Namratha, glad you like them!

    Seema, oh, I sure wish cream and chocolate were pantry staples for me, but they are not, alas :D these truffles are from before the pantry-cleaning venture...from a party a couple of weeks ago.

    Sunita, I do know people who don't like...my tea consumption makes up for your lack of it :D you can totally substitute your favorite flavors for the tea here.

    Rajitha, these are rich, so you might be surprised to find yourself satiated with only 2-3 of these!

    Manisha, well, more sedate than the hana-maari that is American football! :D

    Musical, come and get 'em, girl!

    sowhatsnewtoday, yup, it sure will :)

    Raaga, well, I didn't make them for the longest time for lack of an occasion. Perhaps the next special day would give you the excuse to make these :)

    Cathy, ah, the tea-spice infusion sounds absolutely wonderful. Great idea, Cathy! I was thinking ground-up spices could be added too, but the infusion would result in better texture, I think.

    Mamatha, I bet the orange liqueur ones would be terrific as well! I did not have any on hand, or I would have tried it for sure.

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  18. ooooh. Gorgeous. Chocolate, tea, pistachios? 3 favorites. I recently found a recipe for thumbprint cookies which are rolled in pistachios and filled with a chocolate ganache. Hope to try them soon.

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  19. The truffles look so goood! I like the tea masala touch to it. They remind me of tilgul.
    Happy Sankrant!
    Til Gul ghya ani god god bola =)

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  20. Oh my! I just love what you've done, Nupur! Now there's an idea for next time. I'm sure that these must have been a big hit at the party.
    BTW, your version does seem simpler than mine:-)

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  21. tea flavoured truffles, wow! thats new to me!

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  22. Not "chai-tea," Nupur! :D
    And, cricket is fun when India is winning...

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  23. Tea and Truffles... what a lovely combination indeed.

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  24. Yum! Can't wait to try these out, am on a serious chocolate binge now :)

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  25. I love truffles too! And tea-tinged sounds very tempting and tasty! You really got me going with the alliteration here! : )

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  26. It looks completely adorable. I loved the pics and stared it for a while. wished, i could grab some now:))
    thanks for sharing Nupur !
    -Pooja

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  27. They look good and to die for...
    I wish I had one from the plate :)

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  28. Lindy, ooh...the thumprint cookies sound glorious! I hope you will make them (and blog about them) soon :)

    Namita, yes, I never realized it but you are so right; they do look like tilgul! But are very different in texture though :)
    Happy sankrant to you too! Til gul ghya ani god god bola (although you already do)!

    TBC, but your version is so avant garde, with the balsamic vinegar and all :D

    Nags, they taste pretty good (as anything with cream and chocolate will!)

    Anita, what? But chai-tea is the "in" beverage in the US today! It has been years since I have had the pleasure (?) of seeing a cricket match. It is more interesting than baseball, that's for sure!

    Laavanya, thank you, my dear :)

    Kaykat, chocolate binges :D all good!

    Anali, LOL yes, I get carried away with alliteration often in this space!

    Pooja, what a nice thing to say! I wish I could share them with you for real.

    Tigerfish, thanks for stopping by!

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  29. Nupur, they look perfect and delicious!!

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  30. You are right - truffles are so creative. I love the idea of chocolate infused with tea. Brilliant!

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  31. The truffles are truly inspired.
    Have to say I am glad you didn't use "chai-tea".

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  32. I have been obsessed with making these beauties... finally I got down to it last night. The cream-chocolate ratio was a little askew, I think. I chilled them in the refrigerator overnight (!) and they were semi-solid this morning... :( Finally, I put them in the freezer for 45 mins and then they looked a wee bit better. Rolling them was quite messy... and then I rolled them in almond pieces so that the appearance would be a bit better!

    Thanks for the recipe, Nupur - you are the bestestest!!!!

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  33. Lakshmi: I am sorry to hear of your ordeal! When I made these, I followed the cream-chocolate ratio exactly and it worked very well. Can't think of why you had so much trouble getting it to set. The chocolate and cream I used are the type that are standard in the US, and perhaps their composition is different in different places. Sorry about that!

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  34. Well, I used Valrhona dark chocolate and Trader Joes' milk chocolate. Heavy whipping cream was a brand whose name I don't recall... And I used the same ratio that you gave. Anyways, I left the truffles in the fridge. Hopefully, when I get home, they'll be delicious and great to look at! Btw, I added vanilla essence and broken almonds in the chocolate-cream mix prior to chilling.

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  35. I love your truffles! So delicious looking!

    I also love your site :) I found you through the Game Night list that I also participated in.

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