I have always preferred homemade food gifts at the holidays as opposed to a store bought perker. I believe it shows you really thought about what the person would like, as well as giving the gift of your time, which, in my humble opinion, is much more valuable today than money.
As w celebrate National Chocolate Month in February, along with Valentine’s Day, I think it is only appropriate that I make something full of chocolately goodness for those important people in my life (and for me, too).
On a positive note, we are increasingly reading about the health benefits of chocolate, which is all the positive reinforcement I need to consume my daily dose of antioxidants. It’s good for your heart, has shown to lover blood pressuve and cholesterol and it stimulates our endorphins.
So I run through my go-to recipes in my mind. No to chocolate. No to brownies. No to cake because it’s too hard to share.
And then truffles pop up.
They are unbelievably simple to make, only require a few ingredients, make a sophisticated statement and they can be easily shipped without worrying about them becoming stale or breaking into a million pieces. One of my favorite Cowgirl Granola customers is a freshman at Harvard and his father is sending him CG and I am including these chocolate truffles in the care package.)
So truffles it is. For my customer, my honey and me.
And if you have kids, please let them help. They will love getting their hands covered in chocolate as they roll the chocolate into rustic, irregularly-shaped rounds.
Then, when all of the truffles have been made, they can lick their hands clean, which is the only reason we play with chocolate in the first place. Later, you cal roll the truffles in chopped nuts, powdered sugar, cocoa and/or shredded coconut.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours and let’s commit to doing our part to celebrate National Chocolate Month every day in February.
If you are seeking a homemade holiday gift to give your friends and loved ones, truffles say "you are special" without saying anything at all. Easy to make, rich and totally decadent, these truffles deliver happiness and love in one small package. And they are easily customized.
- 1/2 lb. of semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 4 oz. dark chocolate I used 70%
- 1/3 cup whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder optional
- Other suggestions: add 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier bitter orange, Amaretto (sweet almond) or Frambroise (raspberry) to give another layer or flavor
- 1/4 cup of each or one of the following: dark cocoa powdered sugar, finely chopped nuts and/or shredded coconut for rolling the truffles which adds both new flavors and textures
Using a double boiler, heat the whipping cream. Once it is hot and bubbly, but not at a full rolling boil, add the chocolate and stir to combine. Turn off the heat after 1 minute and continue stirring until all the chocolate is melted.
Add the vanilla and espresso powder or liquor. Stir thoroughly and place in refrigerator for 1-3 hours to chill.
Remove from refrigerator and allow to soften for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Scrape spoon across surface of mixture and quickly, using your fingertips, roll into 1-inch balls. Please don't be concerned that each ball is perfectly round. Each one will be slightly a different shape and that is just what you want.
Place truffles on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet and freeze for 10 minutes or refrigerate for up to one hour.
In the meantime, place the cocoa, powdered sugar, finely chopped nuts and/or coconut in small bowls and individually roll the truffles in the bowl to coat thoroughly. You may need to gently push the nuts and shredded coconut onto and into the chocolate truffles.
Place each truffle in a mini cupcake liner or any other type of gift packaging you want.
Store any leftover chocolate truffles in the refrigerator in a plastic container for 1 week or freeze in plastic wrap for 1-2 months.