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Amaretto Chocolate Truffles

March 15, 2010

Ahhh if only every weekend could be a four-day weekend. Needless to say, a trip to the mountains of Winter Park was much needed. While I did manage to escape from reality for a few days, the flight back gave me ample time to think about what I wanted to share with you all. When I got home I set down my suitcase, made a list, and headed to the grocery store for supplies. Then I got back to work in the kitchen with my camera. Vacations are great, but it feels good to be home.

After last week’s Triple Chocolate Tart post, I realized that I have posted only a small handful of chocolate recipes. It’s not that I don’t like chocolate, it’s just that I don’t ever really crave it. But when I do have chocolate, it has to be good. I hate to quote Martha Stewart too many times, but sometimes it’s just necessary. These truffles are a very good thing.

Amaretto Chocolate Truffles
*10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
*3/4 cup heavy cream
*2 Tbsp. Amaretto liquor
*1/4 tsp. kosher (coarse) salt
*Chocolate sprinkles, coconut, chocolate shavings, or other coating of choice

*Chop chocolate into coarse pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
*Heat cream, stirring frequently, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until cream begins to steam slightly and a few bubbles appear at surface. Remove from heat and pour over chopped chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted completely and smooth. Add in Amaretto and salt. Stir until well combined.
*Pour melted chocolate mixture into 9×13 pan, spreading into a thin, even layer. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
*Remove from refrigerator. Scoop out heaping teaspoons of the chocolate mixture and form into balls. Roll the balls in chocolate sprinkles until evenly coated. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Happy baking!


White Chocolate Nutella Truffles

February 12, 2010

The more I listen to the people around me talk, I realize Valentine’s Day is a very polarizing holiday. There aren’t many people who don’t have strong feelings about the day designated above all others to celebrate love. People love it, people hate it, some people pretend it doesn’t exist, and while browsing the card isle at Target yesterday, I even saw “Anti-Val” cards for the ultimate cynics out there. Me personally? I love Valentine’s Day. Romantic valentine or not, it’s a great time to celebrate those you love – friends, parents, siblings, you get the idea.

But one thing I think we can all agree on is that Valentine’s Day is a great time to indulge your sweet tooth, no heart-shaped box filled with bad chocolate necessary. Why you ask? Because you can make your own box of chocolates in less than an hour for a whole lot less than you would spend at a chocolate shop, and they’re so easy. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the step-by-step photos below.

These little chocolate cups are filled with Europe’s gift to America – Nutella. If you have something against Nutella (or Europe?) you can swap about the Nutella for creamy peanut butter, but if you don’t like either, then maybe you need to seek medical help, because you’re seriously missing out. Likewise, milk or dark chocolate can easily be substituted for white chocolate. Finally, you will have extra Nutella filling leftover. I can think of a few ways to use that filling in baking, but the best option is probably eating it plain, with a spoon. Try to resist… or at least stop after a few spoonfulls. :)

White Chocolate Nutella Truffles 

*2 (12-oz) packages white chocolate chips
*2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
*1 package Golden Oreos or other vanilla sandwich cookie
*1 (8-0z.) package cream cheese, softened
*1/2 cup Nutella
*32 miniature paper baking cups
*Colored sprinkles, if desired

*In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 bag of white chocolate chips and 1 Tbsp. of the oil. Watch the chocolate carefully, stirring frequently, removing the chocolate from the heat when it is mostly smooth, but some lumps still remain. Once removed from the heat, continue to stir until the chocolate is completely smooth. (see photos above)
*Arrange 32 paper liners on a baking sheet or counter and spoon one teaspoon of the chocolate into each of the liners, making sure to cover the bottom of each. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly in the liners.
*Meanwhile, put the Golden Oreos in a food processor. Pulse for about 1 minute, until the Oreos are processed into fine crumbs and no lumps remain. Add in the cream cheese and Nutella. Blend until the mixture is well-combined. (You could do this all without a food processor, crunching the cookies by hand and then mixing the cream cheese and Nutella with a mixer, though it’s much easier to do with a food processor)
*Drop rounded 1/2 teaspoons of the Nutella dough into the center of each chocolate cup.
*Melt the second bag of chocolate and second tablespoon of oil, same as before. Top each chocolate cup with another teaspoon of the white chocolate.** Garnish with sprinkles, if desired. Allow the cups to cool completely before eating, at least 1 hour.

** To get the ‘swirled’ look for the tops of these cups, move your spoon in a circular motion as you add the second teaspoon of chocolate.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Chocolate-Peanut Butter Truffles

November 1, 2009

Maybe it’s a bit too early to start thinking about favorite holiday treats. But since Halloween is over and done with, I have decided it’s entirely appropriate to start posting any and all treats that remind me of Thanksgiving, and particularly, Christmas. For years growing up I tasted these sweet little peanut butter-chocolate morsels of deliciousness and thought they must be terribly difficult to make. If big flavor was any indication of difficulty level, they would most certainly take forever to make.

Thankfully that rule does not hold true. Especially in this case. When I was let in on the recipe to these Chocolate-Peanut Butter Truffles, I was shocked at how simple they are to make. They have become my go-to treat for pretty little hostess gifts and parties of all sorts, because let’s be honest, who doesn’t like peanut butter and chocolate? Put them together in a bite-sized dessert and it’s game over. Give it a try. Make them, set them out, and watch them disappear.

*1 package vanilla sandwich cookies or Golden Oreos
*1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese
*1/2 cup peanut butter
*1 package chocolate almond bark
*Toffee bits, chopped chocolate, or other candy for garnish

*In a food processor, blend cookies until fine crumbs form, about 2-3 minutes. Add in cream cheese and peanut butter. Process until evenly blended. Transfer to bowl and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
*Melt almond bark in microwave safe bowl on high for 3-4 minutes. Stirring every 30 seconds, until almond bark is smooth and glossy.
*Form dough into 1-inch balls. Dip into chocolate and transfer to waxed paper to try. Top with candy garnish of choice.

Sweet Mistakes

September 30, 2009

I am posting today in keeping with my promise to share both triumphs and failures in the kitchen. While I hope the balance remains heavily on the triumphs side of the scale, today’s post might best be classified as a failure. But, as is often the case with baking disasters, something quite delicious and unexpected can often come from a botched attempt at something else. Herein lies the story of these Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles with Pecans.

While at work yesterday, I was struck with something I thought would be a brilliant chocolate creation. Looking back, it seems like a terrible idea that was not thought out properly, but that’s the agony of hindsight, isn’t it? Everything seems clearer looking back. But back to the idea, homemade dark chocolate candy bars filled with caramel, coconut, and pecans and topped with melted peanut butter baking chips.

I melted dark chocolate and dolloped a couple tablespoons into each cupcake liner, followed by the caramel, coconut, and pecans. Then, melted the peanut butter chips and capped each chocolate creation off with a generous scoop. In my head, the chocolate would harden, leaving a gooey caramel center and a firm peanut butter top, like a candy bar. In the morning, I realized the sheer magnitude of my creations, and not in a good way. They might have been successful, had I used about 1/8 of the chocolate and peanut butter chips, but what I ended up with were chocolate bricks in the shape of cupcakes – enough to make most people sick to their stomachs after a few bites.

Standing in the kitchen in my pajamas, I felt disappointment start to creep in. Because of the expense of baking, and being that it’s not exactly a necessity (though some may beg to differ), I focus most of my foodie energy into meals, saving the baking for trips home when I can raid my mom’s pantry. When I do bite the bullet and buy baking supplies, I want whatever I am making to turn out well. I took a breath, cleared my head, and decided that these bricks in front of me could be molded into something much more delicious.

Melting them down was my first course of action, though I didn’t know what I would do afterwards. I placed everything, coconut, caramel, pecans, dark chocolate, and peanut butter chocolate into a pan and began the process of melting it, hoping for some sort of silky goodness. What I got instead was a consistency more akin to cookie dough than melted chocolate.

Confused as to what I should do next, I transferred the chocolate dough to a bowl and added a cup of creamy peanut butter, after which I formed the dough into 1-inch balls. Realizing these now were fairly similar to chocolate truffles, I rolled them in cocoa powder and placed each truffle in its own paper baking liner. The result? Pure
chocolatey peanut butter deliciousness! The pecans gave them a nice crunch, and surprisingly, they stayed soft. I would love to give you the recipe, but it will have to wait until I am able to try them again, this time intentionally. Here’s to making disasters in the kitchen something worth savoring!


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