Friday, 10 February 2012

Red Hot Love Truffles

Are you a spicy chocolate convert yet? It may sound a little strange, since many of us are used to our chocolate as a purely sweet confection, but chocolate was actually originally paired with chili peppers by the Mayans over 1000 years ago. They would roast and grind cacao beans, and mix the paste with water and chili peppers to make a hot, frothy drink. Now that's a pedigree! Compared to that history, mixing chocolate with milk and sugar and forming it into bars seems downright newfangled.

I looked to this time-tested combination for inspiration when developing the recipe for Red Hot Love Truffles. The cream used to make the truffles is infused with crushed red chili flakes, so the spiciness is subtle, but present in every bite. You don't even really notice it while you're chewing the truffle, but it's only after you've swallowed that a little heat starts to be felt in the back of the mouth. It's a lovely pairing with dark or milk chocolate, and helps to cut through the sweetness and richness of the truffles. I like to top these with a little sprinkling of chipotle chili powder, which adds a little pop of color and a smoky flavor, but you can use cayenne pepper or leave off the sprinkle entirely. Here are a few more red hot recipes to spice things up this Valentine's Day:

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Red Hot Love Photo c2011 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to, Inc.

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