I’m the type of person who likes to make a cake for people’s birthdays. I’ve been too lazy about seriously learning how to make good frostings (though I do often mess around with ganache and smear it onto cakes when I’m in the mood), so I’ll usually make a flavorful “plain-looking” cake like my chocolate bourbon cake. But with my kitchen lacking proper cooking gas for who knows how long, baking cakes is not something I can do on a whim right now.
Enter these chocolate truffles.
In an effort to survive the next few weeks/months/whatever, I purchased an Instant Pot (as I was finally able to justify it by not being able to use my stovetop pressure cooker) and a “double burner” hot plate. I’m actually doing all right, aside from being depressed that I won’t be able to do all kinds of lovely fall baking this year. I’ve made a number of tasty things and I’ve even managed to spend less at restaurants lately than I did at some point over the summer. So when my guy’s birthday rolled around, I thought I’d make him some birthday truffles.
Why did I wind up deciding on the flavor combination here? Well, the dude has an undying love for “Blade Runner” and we were going to celebrate his birthday by hanging out with friends in Chinatown and trying to capture a “Blade Runner” aesthetic. I have a slight obsession with spicy desserts and he has a thing for almonds. So a Chinese five-spice almond truffle was born.
I actually followed this five spice powder-using recipe from Parsnips and Pastries very closely to make this happen. But I just added a little twist by creating a little cocoa powder/almond mixture to coat the truffles with toward the end. The end result was pretty nifty, and I didn’t have to feel too inadequate about having to change up my usual tactics for a birthday dessert — a win all around.
- Yields about 2 dozen truffles (27 specifically in my batch)
- 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds*
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder*
- 1. Whisk the heavy cream with the five-spice powder in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer on the stove, remove it from heat and let it sit covered for 15 minutes.
- 2. Bring the mixture back to simmer, then strain it through a fine mesh strainer and pour it over the chopped bittersweet chocolate. Allow this to sit for a moment, then whisk to combine.
- 3. Cover the mixture (I used plastic wrap) and refrigerate it for a maximum of two hours. (I would advise checking on it about an hour into it to see if it's hardened enough to scoop into balls of chocolate — you want it to be tough but not too tough).
- 4. When your mixture is firm, scoop it into small balls (I used a cookie dough scoop). Roll them quickly in the mixture of almonds and cocoa powder, pressing gently so that the almond sticks to the chocolate's surface. Place each completed truffle onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. This needs to be a quick process because you don't want the chocolate to melt.
- 5. Refrigerate the completed truffles for at least a couple of hours or even overnight before serving. **
- * I used 1/4 cup chopped almonds with the 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder for the rolling portion of this project, but could have used slightly less. You can use a bit of your judgment here to avoid waste, but don't get too stingy either.
- ** The truffles honestly lasted a good week kept in an airtight container in the fridge — some of the almond's crunch faded by the end, but they still tasted good. I froze two truffles as well and will amend this post to reflect how well they kept once I've tried them.
- Adapted ever so slightly from Parsnips and Pastries.
This is a pretty track with a repetitive guitar sound and airy vocals that has nothing to do with chocolate. (But even though I get literal with my song choices from time to time, I don’t really like to make a practice of it, so this is rather fitting). You can get more about the song’s meaning from this neat NPR bit that goes over this entire record by Japanese Breakfast — meanwhile, you can also just be like me and appreciate the lovely music while melting some chocolate and rolling it into truffles.