Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mint-Chocolate Truffles

Decadent and sophisticated, truffles make a great Christmas present for friends, co-workers, and family. Plus, they are relatively easy to make. I don't even know how many truffle recipes I looked through in trying to find the perfect recipe. Martha Stewart alone had at least eight. Nearly every chocolate manufacturer also had a truffle recipe. Not to mention countless blog recipes. From my research I learned:

1.) use quality chocolate (duh)
2.) the amount of whipping cream or butter you use determines the pliability of the chocolate
3.) there are endless flavor variations (and I wanted to try them all)
4.) all truffle recipes are pretty much the same

For my truffles I used whipping cream instead of butter or a cream-butter combination simply because I think that the whipping cream gives the chocolate a richer taste than the butter (However, I do use butter to make my Rocky Road Chocolate Log). Narrowing down what flavor I wanted to make was nearly impossible. Years ago I bought a bottle of chocolate-raspberry rum in the Virgins Islands. It was divine and I used to put it in cakes, fillings, frostings, hot chocolate . . . Man, did I wish I still had some of it left for the truffles. I debated using the brandy and Malibu rum we have in the house. I restrained myself from going out and buying Bailey's Irish Cream (next year for sure) or an orange liqueur. Finally, I decided on mint-chocolate truffles since I already had the mint extract and, as I've mentioned before, Eric loves everything mint.

Mint-chocolate truffles
12 ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons mint extract
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

In a saucepan, bring the whipping cream to a boil. Put chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes. Add mint extract and whisk the mixture until it's smooth. Refrigerate, uncovered, until the chocolate thickens, about 2 hours.

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and spoon teaspoon-sized mounts of chocolate onto the wax paper. Don't worry about shaping into balls yet--the chocolate still needs to harden more before its workable. Refrigerate again for about 45 minutes.

Roll chocolate mounts into balls then roll the balls in cocoa powder and place them back onto the cookie sheet. To keep the chocolate from melting, only work with 2 or 3 mounts at a time while the rest remain in the refrigerator. Refrigerator the truffles for another hour then store in an air-tight container in the fridge. Yields between 50 and 60 truffles.

I absolutely loved how these truffles came out. They're almost too good to give away. I can't wait to experiment with different flavors and chocolates next year. Here are some ideas I came across during all my truffle research.

Truffle Flavor Ideas:
   dark chocolate
   white chocolate
   milk chocolate
   a combination of different chocolates
Any type of flavored liqueur under the sun*
Any type of extract under the sun
   rose water
Different Teas
   earl grey**
Coating Ideas
   nuts: walnuts, pecan, hazelnuts, peanuts
   chocolate coating: dark, milk, white
   coconut flakes
   colored sugar
   crushed candy: candy canes, toffee, mints

*most truffle recipes that I found call for 1-2 tablespoon of liqueur
**if you're interested in making tea truffles, Martha Stewart gives you a good jumping off point



2011 Christmas Baking List:
Chocolate Truffles
Starlight Mint Cake
Sea Salt Caramels
Rocky Road Chocolate Log
Candied Citrus Peels
Easy Rum Balls
Homemade Marshmallows
Christmas Kiss Cookies
Tea Cookies

Other Holiday Cooking Ideas:
Snowflake Tortillas
Gingerbread House Decoration Ideas
Christmas Peep S'mores

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