Makes 30 to 36 hearts.
From The Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg (Hyperion, 2006).
Created by Alice Medrich, these chocolates have a thin hard shell around a decadently soft center underscored with the warmth and fragrance of a single-malt Scotch. The ganache should be mixed gently with a spatula rather than vigorously with a whisk. Because the chocolate coating is not tempered, the hearts must be stored in the refrigerator to keep them from discoloring or blooming. Enjoy them cold, right from the refrigerator, or let them sit at room temperature for half an hour or so, to bring up the flavors of the chocolate and the Scotch.
Expand/Collapse Ingredient Details
- 8 x 8-inch square baking pan
- Instant read thermometer
- 1-1/2 inch heart shaped cutter
- Chocolate dipping fork (optional)
- Fine strainer
To Make the Ganache
Line the pan across the bottom and up all four sides, with aluminum foil.
Place the chocolate in a medium bowl, and set aside.
In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate, and stir gently with a heatproof spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Do not whisk or splash the mixture by stirring too briskly or the texture of the truffles will be cakey and granular instead of smooth and creamy. Add the scotch and stir just to incorporate.
Strain the ganache into the prepared pan. Tilt the pan to level the ganache. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze at least 4 hours or overnight.
Transfer the pan of ganache to the refrigerator to soften for about 20 minutes. Choose a baking sheet or dish that will fit in your freezer and line it with parchment paper.
Place a sheet of foil about 12 inches long on your work surface. Remove the ganache, using the foil that you used to line the pan to help lift it. Invert it onto the clean sheet of foil. Peel the foil from the bottom.
Using the heart-shaped cutter, cut hearts as close together as possible to avoid excessive amounts of scraps, and transfer to the prepared pan. If the ganache gets to soft to work with, cover it with plastic wrap and return it to the freezer to harden. The scraps can be gently pushed together, spread to an even thickness, and used for more hearts, but they will need to harden in the freezer first.
Once all of the hearts are cut, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until very hard, at least 4 hours or overnight. (At this point, the hearts may be sealed in an airtight container, and kept frozen up to 2 months.)
To Coat the Hearts
Choose a baking sheet or pan that will fit in your refrigerator and line with parchment paper.
Melt the 82% chocolate in a small stainless steel bowl set directly in a wider skillet of barely simmering water, stirring frequently. Remove the bowl and cool the chocolate to 100 to 105 degrees F.
Put the bowl of chocolate next to the prepared baking pan.
Remove the hearts from the freezer one small batch at a time. Place a heart in the center of the bowl of chocolate and, using a dipping fork or table fork, flip it over and push it under the surface of the chocolate to coat completely. Slip the fork under the heart and lift it out of the chocolate. Tap the fork on the sides of the bowl to drain excess chocolate back into the bowl. Wipe the bottom of the fork on the side of the bowl and set the heart on the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining hearts.
Use a fine-mesh strainer or shaker to dust the hearts with the cocoa. Refrigerate until at least one hour to harden the chocolate before serving.
The hearts can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.