Friday, March 18, 2011

Homemade Truffles

I used to think the best food related gifts were the ones purchased at fancy shops and wrapped in colorful shrink wrap with ribbons and bows. They were also the priciest. Somehow a store would arrange three cookies in a giant tin and make the entire thing look like it was full. They would also make a killer profit. The mark-up on food is usually huge. Add to that the $10-20 tacked on for "arranging" the food items aesthetically and you have one expensive gift assortment.

Then I read Taste of Home Gifts From the Country Kitchen. This book made me realize that not only could I make those fancy edibles by myself I could also arrange them beautifully. Plus I could give twice the amount for a fraction of the price. Life has never been the same.

Every year, around this time, we give our annual gift of homemade truffles to friends and family. The are super easy and super delicious.

Homemade Truffles:
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 Tbs. of your favorite extract (almond, orange, peppermint etc.)

White chocolate or candy melts
crushed nuts

Melt the chocolate chips either in a double boiler or in the microwave. To properly melt chocolate in the microwave place it in a Pyrex dish and microwave it for 15 seconds. Stir the chocolate and repeat the 15 second microwave pulses until it is smooth. Alternating short pulses of microwave time with stirring is crucial to avoid burning the chocolate.

Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the condensed milk and extract. Chill the mixture in the fridge for half an hour or until it starts to harden. Shape the chocolate by rolling it into balls and placing them on wax paper to dry for several hours. Store in the fridge.

Optional tips for fancier truffles:
Take your shaped truffles, use a toothpick to pick them up and dip them in melted white chocolate or white candy melts. I like to sprinkle crushed nuts on top of almond flavored truffles and press a mint leaf on top of peppermint truffle. You can drizzle different candy melt colors or melted chocolate , or grate some fruit zest over the top as well.


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