2 1/2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves, rinsed and patted dry
3 to 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
Place 1 pound of the chocolate into a 2-quart mixing bowl. In a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a boil. Turn off the heat, add the mint leaves, cover the pan, and steep for 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or a skimmer, remove the mint leaves and discard. Reheat the cream to a boil and pour it into the bowl with the chocolate. Let the mixture stand for 1 minute, then stir together with a rubber spatula, whisk, or immersion blender until thoroughly blended. Cover the truffle cream, let cool to room temperature, and chill in the refrigerator until thick but not stiff (2 to 3 hours). Or let the truffle cream sit at room temperature for several hours or overnight until completely set and thick. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. Fit a 12-inch pastry bag with a large, plain round pastry tip with a 1/2-inch opening and fill partway with the truffle cream. Holding the pastry bag 1 inch above the paper, pipe out mounds about 1 inch in diameter. Or use a small ice cream scoop to form the mounds. Cover the mounds with plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 2 hours or in the refrigerator for 6 hours. Dust your hands with cocoa powder and roll the mounds into balls. These will be the truffle centers. Cover and chill the centers for another 2 hours in the freezer. Remove the truffle centers from the freezer and bring to coolroom temperature so the outer coating wont crack when they are dipped. Line 2 more baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. Melt and temper the remaining 1 1/2 pounds chocolate (see pages 2530). Place a truffle center into the tempered chocolate, coating it completely. With a dipper or fork, remove the truffle from the chocolate, carefully shake off the excess chocolate, and turn the truffle out onto the paper. After dipping the truffles, place 2 tablespoons of the tempered chocolate into a paper pastry cone and snip off a tiny opening at the pointed end. Pipe the letter M on top of each truffle. Let the truffles set up at room temperature, or chill them in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes. When the truffles are set, place them in paper candy cups. In a tightly covered container wrapped in several layers of aluminum foil, the truffles will keep for 1 month in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer. The truffles are best served at room temperature. Rosemary Chocolate Truffles: Substitute 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary for the fresh mint leaves and pipe an R rather than an M on top of the truffles.