Tonight I’m listening to Romanian interwar jazz, and somehow I managed to get into the Christmas mood. The amazing voice of Maria Raducanu reminded me of all the feelings and emotions I had when I was a child around the holidays.
I remember the winters of my childhood – it always snowed on Christmas Eve and it was so cold that our Christmas tree was frozen when my parents brought it from the market. We lived in a communist country, and although our parents struggled to buy proper food to prepare a decent Christmas meal and presents were very minimal, as children we were happier than ever.
Today, we can buy anything we need, but sometimes we actually forget the meaning of these celebrations. It’s really annoying to hear the same carols everywhere starting from December 1st, and see everybody in a rush to buy tons of food, clothes and gadgets.
For me, Christmas is about family, about slowly cooking something in my kitchen with my hands, no matter if it’s a complicated or the simplest recipe ever. This year I’m aiming for slow celebrations – slow enough to feel all the emotions of the family gatherings, and to understand that things are not forever and being present is what really matters.
Now, about these chocolate truffles – all of my family loves chocolate, and I can’t imagine something more appropriate to bring to the gathering at my mother’s house. Anyway, she will bake her traditional “cozonaci” with chocolate and nuts, similar to Jewish babka, so these chocolate bites are just for my pleasure to make something sweet for the Christmas table.
The idea of chai-infusing them came to me when thinking about how to make a friendly combination of chocolate and cinnamon (one that I’m not so fond of). Making a concoction of warming flavors is something different and appetizing to more people. Cardamom, ginger, anise, cinnamon and cloves – together they created a spicy, flavorful combo which gave the chocolate truffles a warming personality, which I think has enough magic to make people feel good and alive.
- 10 oz vegan chocolate
- 2 cups full fat coconut milk
- 1 tsp quality black tea
- 5-6 cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ tsp cloves
- 1 anise star
- ½ inch ginger, peeled and grated
- Raw cacao powder, to coat
- Add the coconut milk, tea and spices into a small sauce pan, and bring to boil over low heat.
- Simmer for 5-7 minutes, strain and discard the spices and tea.
- In a medium pot add the chocolate and infused coconut milk and melt over low heat (best using bain marie).
- When all the chocolate melted, mix to combine and remove from the heat (or bain marie).
- Set aside to cool, then refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Use an ice cream scoop or a little spoon, and your palms to shape the mixture into little truffles.
- Roll them on a plate with cacao powder, then store into an airtight container in the refrigerator up to two weeks.