Chocolate truffles are one of the simplest yet most delicious treats to make! Plus, they are SO easy! The basis of truffles is chocolate ganache and these Smooth Dark Chocolate Chai Truffles are so much more with fragrant spices and tea.
What is chocolate ganache?
Chocolate ganache is a smooth silky mixture of chocolate and cream. The ratio of these two ingredients can vary and depends on the type of chocolate you use (i.e. how much cocoa content it has) and the type of ganache you are making.
The general ratio for semisweet chocolate ganache is 2:1 -- this means 2 parts chocolate to 1 part cream. It makes a firm ganache that you can scoop up and roll into balls. When using milk chocolate, you need much less cream and when using bittersweet chocolate, you need more cream since the higher cocoa content requires more moisture to stay in suspension.
If you are making ganache to use for frosting a cake or filling pastries, then a 1:1 ratio is better to make a softer consistency.
The Science of chocolate ganache:
As mentioned above, ganache is a smooth mixture of chocolate and cream. In technical terms, it is an emulsion. More specifically, it is a oil-in-water emulsion of chocolate suspended in cream, where cocoa butter (chocolate fat) is suspended in the water phase of cream.
If the proportions of ingredients, the temperature and method of mixing are optimal, then a smooth homogeneous ganache will form. If the proportions are off, then the emulsion can break and the ganache will appear split or separated with an oily layer.
What happens if my ganache splits or separates?
If your ganache happens to split it will appear greasy — the fat has separated from the watery liquid phase. This can happen if the cream is too hot or if there isn’t enough liquid to hold all of the chocolate solids. It’s not over though – YOU CAN SALVAGE IT! To do this, add some cold milk one teaspoon at a time and whisk it in until it becomes smooth again. It may not have the exact same silky smooth texture, but it will be close and worth it to not throw away your perfectly good chocolate!
How to make silky chocolate truffles:
There are a few techniques to learn in order to make SILKY truffles. Anybody can make truffles (it’s super easy), but a knowledgeable person can make ultra smooth luscious truffles.
1. Chop the chocolate as finely as possible. If the chocolate is in small pieces it will melt quickly and more evenly. This means that it will come together smoothly to make a silky homogeneous ganache. When chocolate melts into cream, it becomes an emulsion and if it is too hot or too cold, or if the balance of cream and chocolate is not right then the mixture will split and the cocoa butter will separate out.
2. Heat the cream JUST until it simmers. If the cream is too hot when it goes over the chocolate (i.e. if it is boiling), then it will shock it and cause the cocoa butter to separate. The key is to melt the chocolate gently and evenly. In this recipe we are infusing the cream with spices so it is important to reheat the cream after it has steeped and infused for a few minutes. Otherwise, the cream will be too cold and not hot enough to melt the chocolate. There's a balance between being too hot and not hot enough.
3. Stir, do not BEAT. You can use a spatula or a whisk, but if you use a whisk, use it with a stirring motion. Do not whisk vigorously or beat the mixture since we want to avoid air incorporation. Over-mixing can cause a rapid decrease in temperature, which may result in a coarse texture.
Gentle stirring is all it takes to reduce the fat to tiny droplets suspended within the water phase, helping the mixture come together and form a smooth emulsion. Too much agitation can introduce air bubbles and break the emulsion, leaving you with an oil film on the surface once it cools and hardens.
What spices are in chai tea?
Chai tea is a traditional hot beverage commonly consumed in India. It is a wonderfully fragrant sweet milky tea infused with lovely spices. The blend of spices can vary, but typically it includes cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and sometimes star anise. For this recipe I am using cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.
To create a more "milky" effect, I use a combination of both milk chocolate and dark chocolate. A little bit of honey sweetens it up a touch more and also helps to create an extra silky texture. These truffles just burst with flavour and will be a welcome surprise to whomever you serve them to!
What can I roll chocolate truffles in?
The easiest way to finish truffles, is to roll them in something to coat them evenly. You can dip them in melted tempered chocolate, but that requires a little more work. You can check out my chocolate-covered truffles here:
And learn how to temper chocolate here:
OR, you can simply roll them in roasted chopped nuts, cocoa powder or shredded coconut.
Dark Chocolate Chai Truffles
For the ganache:
- 6 oz 170g dark chocolate (64% cocoa), chopped into very small pieces
- 2 oz 56g milk chocolate, chopped into very small pieces
- ⅔ cup 150ml 35% whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 bag green or orange pekoe tea
- 1 cinnamon stick broken into pieces
- 5 whole cloves
- 3 cardamom pods crushed
- ½ cup finely chopped pistachios
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- To make the ganache, place both types of chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
- Combine cream, honey, tea bag, cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamom pods in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat slowly and gently, stirring frequently, until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 30 minutes to infuse the cream with the chai flavours.
- Reheat cream until it just comes to a simmer. Immediately pour it through a fine mesh sieve directly over the chopped chocolate in the bowl. Press against the sieve to extract as much cream as you can. Discard tea bag and spices.
- Let ganache stand undisturbed for 1 minute at room temperature before stirring with a spatula until completely melted, smooth and glossy. Let cool and set at room temperature for at least 1 hour and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and set one aside. Using a small spoon, scoop up teaspoons of ganache and roll between your palms to form balls. While the exterior is slightly melted and tacky from the warmth of your hands, roll them around in chopped pistachios so that they are evenly coated.
- Store truffles in an airtight container in the refrigerator, but let them sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.