Our decision to join a CSA for the summer was the best one we've ever made (aside from marrying each other, of course...haha...but no really, the CSA is a close second). Starting in May, we've been getting a bundle of goodies each Saturday from the local farmer's market. It's ranged from lettuces, chicory, braising greens, tomatoes...and now that summer is in full swing we've been getting more squash, wax beans, french beans, etc. Of course, we've also been given beets and radishes. Which we tried. And didn't like. But there you go, that's what a CSA is for...supporting local farmers, plus really figuring out what you do and don't like!
In addition, they usually they throw in a few sprigs of fresh herbs, including dill, parsley, oregano...and this week, they gave us chocolate mint. The guy filling up my bag at the farmer's market said rather casually, "Oh, and this is chocolate mint, and this is oregano..." but all I heard was the chocolate mint.
What is chocolate mint, you ask? Here is a great link. It smells like chocolate, and yes, mint. I'd say that it is similar to an Ande's mint - a very smooth, yet complex combination.
As soon as I got home, I knew what I was going to do with it. Yes, truffles. I could think of no better way to use this amazing herb than to steep it in heavy cream, then combine it with the richest chocolate I could find.
Chocolate Mint Chocolate Truffles
adapted from Joy of Cooking
12 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1-1/4 cup heavy cream
8-10 good sized chocolate mint leaves, torn (regular mint would work here too - but reduce the amount; it's a bit stronger than the chocolate mint)
sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
sifted confectioner's sugar
1. Set your chopped chocolate in a medium-sized glass mixing bowl.
2. Combine mint and cream in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and bring almost to a simmer, stirring constantly. Using a fine-meshed strainer set over a large bowl, strain the cream-mint mixture. Discard the mint.
3. Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let sit for one minute, then stir slowly, thoroughly combining the chocolate and cream.
4. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for 3-4 hours (or overnight, which is what I did).
5. Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. Scoop out 3/4" diameter balls from your ganache mixture, rolling quickly between your hands. Warning: this will be messy. You will feel like your truffles will never be right and that they are melting all over the place, but don't worry what they look like just yet. Place your lumpy forms on the baking sheet, then chill for another 2 hours.
6. Set out your coating choices (I used both) in low shallow bowls, and line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the truffles from the fridge, and one by one, quickly roll them between your hands to improve their shape (there! now they look round! see, I told you not to worry). Gently drop them in the coating, then roll it around by tipping the bowl every which way until it's sufficiently covered. Carefully remove, and place on the clean baking sheet.
7. At this point, you can either refrigerate for a few weeks, or freeze them for up to 3 months. Or, put them in cute candy cups and serve! These make wonderful gifts.