Gifts from the Kitchen 2010

Posted December 11th, 2010 in Holiday, Posts

It is a tradition among my friends to bake something special to box up and give out at our annual Christmas gathering which is tonight at my new house.  My friend Laura was smart-20 years ago she started making the most fantastic English toffee and has made it every year since. Everyone waits for it, fights over it and sometimes one member of the family will eat it all without sharing (you know who you are so I won’t call you out!).  I was not that smart. I have made something different every year. I experiment on my friends. Sometimes it has been successful, or so I’m told. Other times, I am sure, not so much.  They are usually too polite to tell me.

This year I found a recipe that I really wanted to try on a blog I follow, The Pioneer Woman.  Ree Drummond who writes that blog has very excellent how-to photos so you can go there to see these Salted Chocolate Truffles and how they are made. Of course, I had to have my own twist so I decided to make Salted Chocolate Truffles with Cherry Centers.  The idea is good.  The drained dark sweet  cherries were soaked in a mix of cherry brandy called Kirsch and Crème d’ Cacao in keeping with the chocolate cherry theme. I wanted to infuse the truffle with the flavor of dark chocolate and cherries which I happen to love. 

Last week when shopping with my friends, Christy presented a small assorted See’s box after lunch and a discussion about milk chocolate versus dark chocolate ensued. Dark chocolate is healthy- all those antioxidants, complex flavor and subtle sweetness. Milk chocolate is velvety, sweet and smooth.  I know my friends are partial to milk chocolate so I thought these truffles would be perfect because- Come on! They have BOTH!!  My strategy was to use the concept of meatballs with cheese in the middle.  I took the truffle mixture and wrapped it around a soaked cherry.  It took a while to get the hang of this and if you make them please allow plenty of time.  Baking for the holidays should be a fun activity, not something you try to do before running out the door to work. I tried that, it was unsuccessful.

I know the truffle mixture tastes good because, Weight watchers not withstanding, I might have accidentally tasted quite a bit of it. I know the cherries taste good (see above). Finally they are dipped in milk chocolate and dusted with sea salt.  Now every foodie worth his/her “salt” knows that salted chocolate is this year’s hot food trend right along with bacon.  The only drawback to these truffles that I see is that they are dessert size, not bite size. They remind me very much of a dessert I used to get in a restaurant called Crush 29 aptly named the “Chocolate Bomb”, very rich, very decadent and made to be shared. This truffle is just the right size for dessert for one. 

They look beautiful in the box.

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