Once upon a reverie, a dessert table befitting of all celebrations ─ Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa ─ prepared itself. Wishful thinking, of course, planning for the upcoming holidays need not be stressful. Joyful, joyful ─ still ─ seasonal eats may require some elbow grease but, are very manageable. So yes, you can do it all ─ parades, shopping, dinner parties and homemade desserts ─ but, just remember: pace yourself.
With the festive spirit in the air, I cast aside wintry blues ─ the best way I know how ─ and get the ball rolling with a recipe fit for success. Even better, this task involves quality control in the form of taste testing, and includes none other than an all-time favourite ─ cho-co-la-te! Clearly, happy times call for chocolaty measures. Making no exceptions, then, here’s my idea of a must-indulge crowd-pleaser that’s easy to create, share and devour: Bailey’s Chocolate Truffles.
Courtesy of Martha Stewart’s recipe, the making of your very own cocoa rich confections are a few ingredients away. For this highly achievable chocolate truffle, all you need is: ½ cup heavy cream, 8 ounces of fine quality semi-sweet chocolate, liqueur, and cocoa. Equally versatile, chocoholics rejoice! Personalizing truffles to suit your palette is a cinch. First follow basic instructions, then swap the Bailey’s Irish Cream for a preferred alternative, and finally enrobe the truffles with melted chocolate in place of cocoa.
Finding this recipe too irresistible not to quantifiably double, two times the ingredients happily yields twice the amount of velvety rich morsels of creamy chocolate. Just to recap, here’s a second take on what to do: heat the cream, pour the liquid over the chocolate shavings or chips, add flavouring, mix contents until smooth, and chill the mixture in the fridge. Once set, use a melon-baller to measure out even-sized rounds of ganache filling, and then work quickly to roll the truffles into your choice of possible coatings: confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, toasted nuts, shredded coconut or chocolate sprinkles. For my second batch, I replace Irish Cream with hazelnut syrup in addition to use of filberts for added texture. Mindful that these decadent bites of heaven can be spoiled by a rancid nut, I recommend purchase of raw hazelnuts that can be pan-toasted or cooked in the oven. In essence, use of fresh products will ensure premium truffles that will leave guests with a palatably sweet memory. So good, in fact, these two-bite delights will get everyone caroling, “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…” ─ bonbons!
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