I don’t want to rain on anybody’s heart-shaped parade out there, but I have something to admit: I
loathe really don’t care for Valentine’s Day. It’s a holiday that makes single people feel lousy (shame on you, singletons, for wallowing in your independence) and puts couples under all sorts of pressure to make elaborate, expensive shows of affection and ill-advised dinner reservations.
I am all for flowers and poetry and candlelit dinners, but romance under duress has never struck me as particularly authentic. Deadlines are actively un-sexy. I much prefer the random-Tuesday-in-May armful of peonies, and the tucked-away love note that falls out of my handbag as I’m fishing for train fare. That’s romance. Suggesting I pour myself a glass of wine and put on Annie Hall again for the millionth time because I had a rough day? And he’s throwing in a back rub? Show me the Whitman’s sampler that can top that.
I’m no Grinch, though. I won’t begrudge anyone her mushy good fun and certainly won’t get in the way of anybody’s chocolate. In fact, I’ll help you find it, madam: these intensely decadent truffles are secretly a snap to make and deliver a rich, creamy hit of the good stuff. (One bite and you can practically hear the dopamine ricocheting around your brain. Ka-ping!) These truffles mean business.
So this Valentine’s Day, I’ll promise to forgo the eye-rolling. Be sweet to your sweetheart, and yourself, and extra-kind to those grouches (and Grinches) who need kindness the most. And let there be chocolate!
Dark Chocolate Truffles
makes about 15 one-inch truffles
- 6 oz best-quality dark chocolate
- 1/2 C + 2 Tbsp heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp butter, room temperature
- pinch salt
- 2-3 tsp liqueur (amaretto, brandy, Grand Marnier, etc.); optional
- cocoa powder or finely chopped nuts for garnish
Finely chop the chocolate and place in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream and butter over medium until actively simmering throughout (watch the cream so it doesn’t scorch or boil over). Immediately pour over the chocolate. Let rest 3-5 minutes.
With a wooden spoon or spatula, begin to stir in small circles from the center of the bowl. Add salt and liqueur, if using. Keep stirring until a smooth emulsion forms. The finished ganache will be thick, shiny and well-incorporated. Refrigerate at least one hour to firm up.
With a tablespoon or melon baller, scoop out small rounds of ganache and form into balls. Roll in a small saucer filled with cocoa powder or finely chopped nuts. The finished truffles will keep in the fridge one week.