Belgium is known for several reasons. Among others for its waffles, beer, chocolates, and comics. When you walk through the streets of Brussels, you can clearly see why. On random places throughout the city there are walls painted with some of the most famous comic figures. You can walk through a street several times without noticing them, until you turn around and suddenly find yourself face to face with a larger-than-life comic figure. And in between these paintings there are the shops with those Belgian delicacies: waffles, beer, and chocolates.
When I lived in Brussels I very often enjoyed the first two of these treats. But my favourite present to buy for any occasion used to be Belgian chocolates. All over the city you can find chocolate stores with amazing displays. There are so many different shapes and flavours, that you will be surprised every time you bite into another chocolate. They really have something for everyone. Whether you like something fruity, with nuts, with alcohol, gluten-free or vegan, it´s all there.
My go-to chocolate store used to be in one of the pretty cobblestone streets very close to the central market square. It was my preferred store because of their large collection of different flavours, and because you usually got a free chocolate when buying something. And very often, this free chocolate was my personal favourite: a chocolate truffle rolled in cocoa powder. I love chocolate truffles because they have this very intense chocolate flavour without being overly sweet.
Unfortunately, now that I live in Barcelona I only get to try some Belgian chocolates when my Belgian colleagues return from a visit to their home country. Therefore I started making my own truffles. So at least I can pretend to be back in the streets of Brussels for a moment.
Honey & Rosemary and Sesame & Ginger Truffles
Below the recipe for two types of flavoured truffles. When you want to make the traditional plain chocolate truffles, you can use the same recipe. Just leave out the flavourings. Make sure you use a good quality chocolate, with at least 70% cacao.
Ingredients (around 20 truffles of each flavour)
For Rosemary & Honey Truffles
- 150 grams of dark chocolate, at least 80% cacao
- 80 ml double cream
- Rosemary – small bunch
- Black peppercorns – 1 teaspoon
- Honey – 4 teaspoons
- Pure cocoa powder
For Sesame & Ginger Truffles
- 150 grams of dark chocolate, at least 70% cacao
- 80 ml double cream
- Ginger – one thumb size piece
- Sesame – 2 tablespoons
- Pure cocoa powder
For both types of truffles, pour the cream in a small saucepan. Slightly crush the peppercorns. Grate the ginger. Add the crushed peppercorns and rosemary to one of the pans. Add the grated ginger to the other one. Heat up both creams with the flavourings and simmer for five minutes. Turn off the fire and let the flavours infuse for at least an hour.
After an hour, cut both types of chocolate in small pieces and place each type in a glass or metal bowl. Place both creams over the fire again and let them simmer.
For the rosemary truffles, pour the hot cream through a sieve into the chocolate. Leave it stand for a minute, and then stir well. The cocolate should all melt and you should have a smooth, glossy chocolate ganache. Stir the honey through the ganache. Taste the mixture to check if you added enough honey.
For the sesame truffles, roast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan for a few minutes until golden brown. Pour the hot cream with the ginger straight into the chocolate. Let it melt for a minute. Then stir well until you get a beautiful chocolate ganache. Add the sesame seeds.
In case the chocolate ganache splits, keep stirring and slowly add a little bit of extra cream (or milk, if you ran out of cream). This should bring it back to the smooth, shiny mixture it is supposed to be.
Cover both the bowls and place them in the fridge for 2 hours. Don´t leave them too long, because it might be harder to shape the truffles.
Use a teaspoon to scoop out small amounts of the ganache and roll them in between your hands to little balls. When your hands become to warm and covered in chocolate, wash them with cold water. This makes it easier to shape the truffles.
Finally, spread the cocoa powder onto a plate. Roll the balls through the cocoa powder until they are completely covered. Your truffles are now ready to be eaten!
You can store them in the fridge for several days.