One of my favorite date-night activities is meeting my boyfriend at an old-school New York cocktail bar for a drink after work. This year for Valentine’s Day I’m turning a favorite order of ours—the Manhattan—into homemade truffles, spiked with all of the classic cocktail ingredients.
Historians can’t seem to come to a consensus on the origin of the drink but the components have endured over the years: rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, few dashes of angostura bitters, and a lemon twist…modern bartenders often use an orange twist and drop a maraschino cherry (or two) in there, as well!
To keep this recipe super-simple, I used the microwave to heat up heavy cream for the ganache (just the fancy/technical way of saying “truffle batter”). When you pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate, the chocolate melts into a smooth, shiny base. Got lumps? No problem! Just pop the mixture back in the microwave for about 30 seconds until it’s totally melted.
If you’re willing to splurge on an extra ingredient or two, I recommend adding angostura bitters (I left it out of the base recipe since the subtle spiced, bitter-herb flavor isn’t absolutely necessary in the 5-ingredient recipe) and rolling the truffles in cocoa powder for a polished look. Feeling even fancier? Cover the truffles with melted dark chocolate, sprinkle with sanding sugar, nonpareils or edible gold leaf and refrigerate until set.
photos by Erin Phraner
Manhattan Cocktail Truffles
makes: about 20
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons rye whiskey
1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons sweet vermouth
18 to 20 maraschino cherries, stems removed
6 dashes angostura bitters
Cocoa powder, for dusting
1. Put the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the heavy cream to another microwave-safe bowl and microwave on High until boiling, about 2 minutes. Pour over the chocolate; let side 5 minutes, then stir until melted. (Still lumpy? Microwave 30 more seconds until chocolate melts completely). Stir in 1 tablespoon rye, 2 teaspoons sweet vermouth and 3 dashes angostura bitters, if using. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, put the remaining 2 tablespoons rye, 1 tablespoon sweet vermouth, 3 dashes angostura bitters, if using, and maraschino cherries in a small bowl. Let soak 1 hour; drain and pat dry.
3. For each truffle, mold a small spoonful of chocolate mixture around 1 cherry, smoothing to cover completely; roll between your hands to form a ball. Roll in cocoa powder, if using. Refrigerate 1 hour or until ready to package and serve.
Want more of these truffles? We do too! Watch Erin make them live on Freutcake’s Google+ Hangout video right her on You Tube.