Mmm… is there anything better than a hot cup of earl grey tea on a cold day? Oh wait… there is… and it’s that cup of tea, plus chocolate and cream and cocoa. I’m not even a chocolate person (I know, the horror!) and I seriously love these. They are rich and decadent, but also subtle and perfectly balanced. In a season when I tend to go overboard and binge on other sweets, I find myself completely satisfied savoring just one of these. Ok, maybe two. Which is good, because my whole point in making these was to make some tasty homemade gifts for people. But who could blame me for sneaking just a few?
These are the perfect thing for gifts, though. They are perfectly easy to make ahead, in a big batch, so more than one special someone can enjoy them. They package beautifully, and can be wrapped up in any number of ways. No worrying about making a long trip in the back of a packed car… these bad boys can do it! And, of course, they have that “special” factor that makes them a little fancier and get a few more oohs and ahs than the typical fruit cake. No offense to fruitcake.
Most importantly, they are just so good. I’m a huge Earl Grey fan, but even someone who’s not usually a tea fan can enjoy these (for example, my husband. Ahem.) The bergamot in the tea is subtle, but it melds so beautifully with the chocolate that I’m frankly surprised it’s not a more commonplace combo. And I imagine that dropping one or two of these beauties into a cup of warmed milk would make the best hot chocolate you’ve ever tasted. I’m sure anyone you make them for (even if it’s just for yourself) will be eternally grateful.
Earl Grey Truffles
In a small saucepan, bring cream and butter to a boil. Stir in the tea leaves. Remove from heat and let steep, covered, 5 minutes.
Place chopped chocolate in a medium-sized bowl. Pour warm cream through a fine-mesh sieve onto chocolate, straining out the tea leaves. Press the remaining cream out of the tea, then discard. Whisk chocolate and cream until smooth. Chill the mixture, covered, until firm, about 2 hours.
Sprinkle the cocoa over a rimmed baking sheet. Spoon level teaspoons of ganache onto the baking sheet. Dust your palms lightly with cocoa. Roll each piece of ganache into a ball (wash your hands and as they become sticky, or if the ganache gets too sticky, put it back in the fridge for a few minutes). Once all the truffles are rolled and coated, put back in the fridge to cool until very firm again. Truffles can then be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or two, or in the freezer for a month or more.
(Makes about 3 dozen candies)