Kaki, Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!
This is the post I meant to get up before Valentine’s, since it’d make such a great homemade gift. In fact, these are the truffles I made for Christmas and still haven’t posted about until now! But heck, that’s life; these will still make a lovely gift for no holiday reason at all!
Cooper and I have made these for Christmas gifts for a couple of years now. They are relatively cheap to make, make a ton, can be made in an afternoon, and are endlessly customizable. This year we made Bourbon-Caramel, Spicy Almond, Mint, and Orange flavored ones. Here’s how!
(adapted from Cooking Light)
Makes about 40 truffles. Can easily be scaled up or down according to your truffle needs.
Here are the most basic ingredients. I’ve listed variations below.
- 6 tablespoons sugar (or brown sugar)
- 4 tablespoons evaporated milk
- 2 tablespoons some type of syrup (golden syrup is our standard; could also use corn syrup, molasses, honey, etc.)
- dash salt
- 2 tablespoons some type of liquor (bourbon is our standard; we’ve also used mint schnapps, orange liqueur, etc.)
- 1 teaspoon some type of extract (vanilla is our standard; we’ve also used peppermint extract, orange extract, and cinnamon extract. The extract is a key part of flavoring the truffle so don’t skip it!)
- 10.5 ounces of chocolate chips (any combination of dark, bittersweet, semisweet, milk, or even white will work; based on texture I preferred about 6.5 ounces milk chocolate and 4 ounces semi- or bittersweet, but we’ve done all bittersweet or mostly bittersweet with good results)
- something in which to roll the truffles (cocoa powder is traditional; we’ve also used white sugar, cinnamon sugar, sprinkles, and candied nuts crushed up very fine)
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, evaporated milk, golden syrup and salt; stir to combine evenly. Bring the contents of the saucepan to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally; this happens relatively quickly so don’t leave the stove. Once boiling cook for one minute, stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved. Remove pan from heat.
Off of the heat, add the liquor and extract to the pan, and stir to combine. Add the chocolate to the pan and let sit undisturbed for one minute, then stir together until smooth. Pour the truffle mixture into an 8×8 or 9×9 pan (we preferred Pyrex) and let chill in the freezer for two hours.
Once truffle mixture is firm, remove from freezer for a few minutes to soften just slightly. Have a glass of very warm water nearby, and grab a small spoon or a melon-baller. Dip the spoon or melon-baller into the hot water to warm the metal, then wipe it dry. Use the warmed utensil to scoop small balls of truffle mixture out of the dish, and roll the mixture together in your hands until it forms a small ball*. Place the rolled truffle into a shallow dish filled with cocoa powder (or whatever you are rolling your truffles in).
Once four or five rolled truffles are in the dish with the cocoa powder, gently shake the dish around to coat the truffles in cocoa. Gently lift the coated truffles from the dish and place them in a lidded container lined with parchment or wax paper. Continue process until all of the truffles are rolled and coated and lovely and delicious.
I think the mint truffles we did this year (using white sugar, golden syrup, mint schnapps, peppermint extract, 6.5 ounces milk chocolate, 4 ounces of Andes mint-chips, and rolling in red-and-white peppermint-flavored sprinkles) were my favorite. The spicy almond ones were good but we didn’t use a very good method (tried to infuse the evaporated milk with a dried chili pod, which didn’t add enough flavor so we ended up just adding some cayenne to the mixture, which worked okay, but… we’ll probably play around with that one next year). And the classic Bourbon-Caramel version from Cooking Light is always, always a winner.
So there you have it, there’s my go-to handmade gift for the holidays! Pretend we’re not desperately past the holidays right now, okay? Pretend I’m just really, really planning ahead for next year. Or for… Mother’s Day! Ooo, these would be a lovely Mother’s Day gift, maybe the orange version (using brown sugar, golden syrup, orange liqueur, orange extract, and dark chocolate)? Or I’m dying to try to figure out a lavender-flavored version… I’ll report back if I try it!
Hope you’re well, Kaki, talk to you soon!
*Please note: the scooping-and-rolling step is the most tedious part of the entire process, complicated by the fact that hand temperature (no, seriously, it’s a thing) greatly affects how easy this is to do. For the past two years Matt and I have done the scooping and Cooper has done the rolling because apparently she has slightly cooler hands, and the truffles don’t melt nearly as badly in her hands as they do in ours. We’re actually thinking about just buying molds of some type next year, or at the very least lining our chilling-vessels with parchment paper so we can merely lift the entire block of truffle out of the container once firm and simply cut it into bite-sized squares from there. So yes, the rolling-in-your-hands method is traditional and doesn’t seem like it should be hard, but sometimes it is, and it’s not you, it’s the chocolate. Okay, it’s a little bit you, but you know, don’t beat yourself up over it, happens to the best of us.
P.S. Golden syrup is a British thing, it’s caramel-y and delicious and it if you’re looking for it in the store it looks like this: