1/2 pound quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons quality honey (recommended: Tasmanian)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 to 1/2 cup turbinado sugar or raw sugar, for garnish
Citrus Truffles, recipe follows
Fennel Truffles, recipe follows
Malt, recipe follows
Chili, recipe follows
Ginger, recipe follows
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons sweetened ground cocoa
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons malt powder (recommended: Ovaltine)
1 ancho chile
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 to 4 pieces crystallized ginger, plus more for garnish
Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. (Alternatively, put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt at 50 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 1 minute. Stir, and continue heat until completely melted, about 1 minute more.)
Meanwhile, bring the cream and honey to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat (or in the microwave). Gradually whisk the cream into the chocolate until smooth and shiny. Whisk in the butter until very smooth. If possible, switch to an immersion blender and blend for about 1 minute for a lovely satiny texture. Cover the surface of the chocolate with plastic wrap; set aside in a cool spot until slightly firm, about 1 hour.
Line a baking sheet or large plate very, very tightly with plastic wrap (the wrap will be slightly suspended over the surface of the pan). Transfer the truffle mixture to a piping bag fitted with a plain 1/4-inch tip. Holding the bag about 1/4-inch over the surface of the plastic wrap, pipe about 25 (3/4-inch) cones or truffles. Sprinkle the truffle tops lightly with sugar. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes.
Once set, the truffles can be held in a cool spot, out of the refrigerator for up to 2 hours. Otherwise, refrigerate the truffles covered, for up to 5 days. Truffles taste best if served room temperature not straight from the refrigerator.
Finely grate the zest from the citrus with a fine holed grater, preferably a micro plane. Add half of the zest to the cream, (reserve the rest for decorating the truffles.) Bring the cream, zest and honey to a simmer, remove from the heat. Puree mixture with an immersion blender to combine the flavors. Proceed as above to form the truffles.
Gently rub the turbinado sugar and the reserved zest together with your fingers. Sprinkle citrus flavored sugar on top of truffles.
Pulse the fennel seed, confectioners' sugar, and cocoa in a spice grinder to a fine powder. Roll basic chocolate truffle in fennel-cocoa mixture.
Add 2 tablespoons malt powder to the cream and proceed with the basic recipe as above. Roll finished chocolate truffle in the 1/4 cup malt powder.
Stem and seed the chile, then toast in a dry skillet over medium heat until small whiffs of smoke waft from the chile. Add the chile to the cream and honey mixture and bring to a simmer. Cover and let set for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how spicy you like your truffles. Strain and discard the chile. Proceed as above to form the truffles. Mix the turbinado sugar, chili powder, cinnamon, and sea salt together. Sprinkle seasoned sugar on top of the truffles.
Add the crystallized ginger to the cream. Bring cream, ginger and honey to a simmer, remove from the heat and puree with an immersion blender to combine the flavors. Proceed as above to form the truffles. Finely chop additional crystallized ginger to equal about a tablespoon and lightly press onto the top of truffles.