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Red Hot Love Truffles

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Red Hot Love Truffles photo
(c) 2011 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.
These slightly spicy, heart-shaped truffles are perfect for Valentine's day or anytime you want to spice up your life! Semi-sweet chocolate ganache is infused with crushed red peppers, to add a little heat to the rich chocolate. I like to finish these truffles with a little chipotle chili powder, to add a touch of smokiness, but you can substitute regular chili powder, cayenne, or omit the sprinkling entirely.

Yield: about 12 1.5-inch hearts

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened to room temperature
  • 12 oz chocolate candy coating
  • Small heart-shaped cutter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • Chipotle chili powder or cayenne (optional)

Preparation:

1. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl, and set aside. Pour the heavy cream into a small saucepan over medium-high heat, and add the crushed red pepper flakes.

2. Bring the cream to a simmer, and once it's near boiling, pull it off the heat and cover it tightly with a lid. Allow the cream to sit for 30 minutes to infuse it with the red pepper flavor. The 30-minute infusion will give the truffles a little bit of heat, but the spiciness won't be too overpowering or noticeable.

3. After 30 minutes, place the cream back on the heat and bring it to a simmer once more. Pour the hot cream through a fine-mesh strainer over the chocolate, so that the red pepper flakes are strained and not incorporated in the final product.

4. Let the cream and chocolate sit together and soften for one minute, then gently whisk or stir them together. Once the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, add the room temperature butter and whisk until it's incorporated. If you want to prepare these and scoop them like regular round truffles, follow the instructions on this dark chocolate truffles recipe. Otherwise, proceed for directions on making heart-shaped truffles.

5. Let the ganache cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until it is no longer warm to the touch and has thickened. Cover a baking sheet with foil, waxed paper, or parchment paper. Pour the ganache out on the baking sheet and spread it into a layer about 1/2-inch thick. Press a piece of cling wrap on top of the ganache and refrigerate it until firm, about 2 hours.

6. Once the ganache is firm, dip a small heart-shaped cutter in cocoa powder and cut out heart shapes from the ganache. Using a 1.5" cutter, I got 12 hearts out of my batch, with scraps left over that could be pressed together and re-cut, or just eaten as a cook's treat!

7. Melt the candy coating until it is smooth and fluid. Using forks or dipping tools, dip a heart-shaped truffle in the coating, then set it on a foil- or waxed paper-lined baking sheet. While the coating is still wet, sprinkle the top with chipotle powder or cayenne powder, if using.

8. After all of the truffles are dipped and sprinkled, place the tray in the refrigerator to set the coating, for about 10 minutes. Red Hot Love Truffles can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, but they're best served at room temperature.

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