Truffles get steeped with basil and tea, then coated with chocolate wafer cookies, chopped marcona almonds, toasted sesame seeds, and toasted coconut. | AP Photo/Matthew Mea
Chocolate truffles with tea and fresh basil? Yes!
Unusual as that combination may sound, it works surprisingly well to create a delicious, creamy truffle with hints of herby flavor. Think about it this way: We don’t hesitate to pair chocolate and mint. Basil isn’t all that far off in flavor, lending a pepperiness that acts as the perfect foil to the richness of the chocolate. And the tea — which pairs so well with sweets — lends a depth of flavor that ties everything together.
We like these truffles coated in lightly salted and chopped marcona almonds, but chocolate wafer cookies, pistachios or straight up cocoa powder all would be delicious too.
Start to finish: 2 hours 45 minutes (30 minutes active)
Makes 54 truffles
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 bags Earl Grey tea
Pinch of salt
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Crushed cookies, toasted chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or cocoa powder, for rolling
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a bare simmer. Remove the pan from the heat, add the tea bags and basil leaves, then cover the pan and set aside to steep for 15 minutes.
Pour the cream mixture through a mesh strainer and discard the solids. Return the cream to the pan and bring back to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and add the salt and chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir gently until the chocolate is completely melted and combined. Cover the pan and refrigerate until completely chilled and set up, about 2 hours, or overnight.
When ready to form the truffles, place the topping or toppings of your choice in bowls. Use a spoon to scoop up about 1 rounded teaspoon of the truffle mixture. Use your hands to roll the mixture into a 1-inch ball. Roll each truffle in a topping until well coated. Store truffles in airtight containers in the refrigerator.