Dia de San Valentin is celebrated in Mexico with love and chocolate, as it is world-wide. I always make truffles for Valentine’s Day, but this year I wanted to do something different, perhaps use the Mexican chocolate, Ibarra. It is a strong-tasting chocolate with coarse sugar granules that makes a very good cup of hot chocolate. There was no reason it couldn’t make a truffle with a Mexican touch. Adding Kahlúa, a coffee liqueur, and cinnamon, a spice found in many Mexican dishes, completed the theme of Mexican Kahlúa Truffles.
While making the truffles, I had an epiphany: there is no need to chop chocolate into pieces. It melts at body temperature, so how long can it take to melt in a double boiler over simmering water? I’m not in that much of a hurry. I did snap the bittersweet chocolate into pieces by hand, following the cut marks, but I couldn’t snap the Ibarra chocolate into smaller pieces, so I put the whole disc of chocolate in the top of the double boiler. It may take a little longer to melt, but there is always something to do while it is melting, like assembling and measuring the other ingredients.
Mexican Kahlúa Truffles
- 8 oz. (227 grams) bittersweet chocolate
- 8 oz. (227 grams) Ibarra chocolate
- 1/2 cup (4 oz./120 grams) crème fraiche, sour cream or heavy cream
- 1/4 cup (2 oz./56 grams) Kahlúa (or other liqueur)
- 3 tablespoons (1.5 oz./43 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- optional 1/4 teaspoon of chile powder to spice things up
Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler over gently simmering water. Be careful not to get a single drop of water in the chocolate, as that may cause it to seize up and become lumpy.
When melted, spoon the chocolate into a blender and blend for one minute. Scrape down the side of the jar with a spatula and blend for one minute more. Don’t be concerned if a few granules do not dissolve. The texture will add interest to the truffles. Remove half of the chocolate and return it to the upper pan of the double boiler (to coat the truffles later when they are formed and re-chilled). Add warm cream, warm Kahlúa and soft butter to the chocolate still in the blender. Blend for 30 seconds. When all is mixed, scrape into a shallow dish so that the chocolate is about one inch deep; chill in the refrigerator until it is firm.
When firm, use a melon baller to form into small balls. I spooned out a tablespoon’s worth of chocolate and formed a ball with the palms of my hands. If you use this method, the warmth of your hands will start to melt the chocolate, so work quickly. You may need to return the dish of chocolate to the refrigerator if it becomes too soft. Or chill your hands in ice water if they are too warm.
Place the truffles on wax paper or parchment paper on a plate. Refrigerate the truffles while you prepare the dipping chocolate.
Re-warm the remaining chocolate in the top of the double boiler if it has cooled. Using two forks, dip each truffle into the chocolate to coat the balls. Don’t let the dipping chocolate become too warm, or it will start to melt the truffle ball.
Return the dipped truffles to the parchment paper and sprinkle with a light dusting of cinnamon.
Refrigerate until you are ready to present them to your Valentine. Like all chocolates, Kahlúa Truffles are best enjoyed at room temperature or cool, but not refrigerator-cold.
A Valentine treat for the cook: when you are finished, add a small cup of hot milk to the double boiler pot to melt and clean out the chocolate remnants. Then pour the hot milk into the blender jug and zizz for a few seconds so that no chocolate is lost. Enjoyed with a coconut macaroon, it makes a nice treat after your labor of love.
Avoid chocolate that comes from cocao beans harvested by child slaves in West Africa by buying organic chocolate. Chocolate classified as organic usually includes oversight of labor practices.
More Reading: Chocolate, Slavery and Our Collective Guilt (Cooking in Mexico)