Easter does tend to be a bit of a chocolate fest – and so I thought, why not get in the spirit and play around with some chocolate flavour combinations. I love cardamon and I love chocolate – and the two together are just fantastic. It’s a flavour partnership made in heaven.
I’m also a fan of fluffy, spice-filled hot cross buns, but these days I don’t tend to eat them as unfortunately I’m not able to eat a lot of wheat. This recipe is therefore my next best option, with ‘hot crosses’ added to some little chocolates instead. There two options for toppings: one is an almond paste that will keep the chocolates completely dairy free or you can melt a little white chocolate instead.
Hot Cross Cardamom Truffles
(dairy free, gluten free)
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped or pellet form
50ml boiling water
6 cardamom pods
4-5 grinds of black pepper (you can up this if you want a bit more spice)
175g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped or pellet form
Dairy free option
40g ground almonds
1 tbspn hot water
2.5 tsp golden caster sugar
A few drops of lemon juice
40g good quality white chocolate
1. Put the chopped chocolate in a glass or ceramic bowl. Pour the boiling water over the cardamom pods and leave to infuse for at least 20 minutes. Reheat the water and strain over the chocolate. Grind the black pepper over the mixture. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and has started to thicken.
2. Line a loaf tin with cling film or baking parchment and pour in the chocolate mixture. Leave to thicken and set. This can take up to an hour depending on the temperature (you can put the mixture in the fridge for 15 minutes, but make sure you take it out for 10 minutes before the next step).
3. Put 25g of the remaining dark chocolate in a glass bowl. Place it over a small pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Melt the chocolate slowly and then pour it over the chocolate mixture in the tin. Spread it with the back of spoon so that the mixture is completely covered. Leave to set.
4. Melt the remaining chocolate as in step 3 (ideally you should temper it, but you can also just melt it if you prefer). Take the mixture out of the loaf tin, remove the cling film and place on a piece of parchment paper on a chopping board. Cut into 20-25 pieces.
5. Carefully dip each piece in the melted chocolate. I use 2 chocolate dipping forks, but ordinary forks are also okay. Once you’ve covered a piece in melted chocolate, push it back on a fork, banging it lightly against the inside rim of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate. Scrape the bottom of the fork against the edge of the bowl before carefully placing it on a piece of baking or parchment paper (again use the forks to do this). Leave the chocolates to set. You can cut off any little extra dribbles (or feet) once they are set.
6. If you’re using the ground almond cross, mix together all the ingredients to make a smooth-ish paste. If it’s a bit firm, add a drop or 2 of water – but be careful as you don’t want it runny. If using the chocolate, gently melt the chocolate. Put the mixture into an icing bag with a no. 2 nozzle and gently squeeze to draw crosses on the truffles. If you don’t have an icing bag, you can make your own from baking parchment. Leave the crosses to set – and then eat your chocolate!
Other flavour options:
– if it’s not Easter, you can leave off the crosses and sprinkle over freeze-dried raspberry pieces or powder before the chocolate coating has set
– Other topping options are lightly toasted sesame seeds or a few flakes of fleur de sel (good quality sea salt)
– Leave out the black pepper and add a generous pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt instead
– Swap the cardamom for fennel seeds