Wine and chocolate. Chocolate and wine. The perfect marriage and the perfect divorce. One minute they’re good for you, and the next, not so much. Who can we really believe anymore? It’s ridiculous. I swear, they (meaning those people that write these articles out in cyber space) have nothing better to do than hype up the “healthy” benefits of a food, just so they can write another article taking back what they said was so good about it as “click bait”. My philosophy? Eat and drink and do whatever the heck you want and whatever feels right for the soul. Everything in life is a balance of moderation, and these things wouldn’t exist if they didn’t have some sort of positive health benefit. At this point, I’ve basically decided to ignore all of the silly things these people try to make us believe. There’s no use.
That being said, how is it that wine and chocolate just pair so damn well together? It’s really one of the best desserts. I rarely drink red wine because of my flushed-cheek reaction to the sulfites, but when I do, it’s because my body craves it once in a blue moon. While I was devouring a box of chocolates over the weekend alongside a glass of this lovely wine, it dawned on me how awesome it would be to just make my own chocolates with the rest of it since I couldn’t drink the entire bottle. So I found a great recipe to go off of, realized it would be a perfect compliment to the upcoming Valentine’s Day, and went for it. I had the perfect excuse, as if I needed a reason.
And wow. Over-the-top WOW. This boozy chocolate ganache is just the bees knees. After I took my first taste test, my brain immediately flashed visions of a chocolate cake with this wine chocolate ganache as a center filling and/or frosting. It’s such a soft texture that makes these truffles so delicate, and would be so easily spreadable on a cake. Having to work them with your hands to roll into balls and then into the cacao powder starts to heat things up and they begin to melt, so it’s definitely best to keep these in the coolest conditions possible. That being said, I ended up sending the rest of the batch off in two separate packages to my parents down in California, so if they stand the test of the 2-day mailing time at god knows what temperatures and conditions, then I will be pleasantly surprised. Time will tell, and I’ll let you know, but worse-case scenario is that I just instruct them to grab a spoon and eat the melted ganache right out of the cellophane bag, and/or melt it into some hot cocoa. There are worse things.
In the meantime, I may just try to perfect this recipe and research how to make ganache more solid at room temperature (more powdered sugar? something to absorb the cream?) and get back to you with an even better recipe. Until then, you will survive just fine with what you’ve got here. You will devour these so fast you won’t even worry about them melting.
Now cue, red, red wine…
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons red wine
- 2 teaspoons powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon espresso powder
- 100% raw cacao powder, for dusting
- Place chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium high, just until it boils. Pour hot cream directly into the bowl with chocolate, then add wine, powdered sugar, vanilla and espresso powder. Gently whisk the mixture together until chocolate is smooth and melted. (If chocolate does not melt completely, place it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until it melts completely.) Cover bowl, then place it in refrigerator or freezer to set, 1 to 2 hours.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and dust cacao powder into a wide plate or bowl. With a small scoop, melon baller, or spoon, scoop chocolate and form it into a ball, then it roll in cocoa powder. Place on baking sheet, then repeat with remaining chocolate.
- Freeze truffles for 30 minutes to set. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.