Thursday, February 19, 2015

Simple Sweets : Brazilian-Style Truffles

Valentine's Day is the chocolate holiday. And while I would never turn down a heart-shaped box filled with candy, there is something infinitely sweeter about offering your love a plate of homemade truffles, don't you think? Especially when they are so quick and easy to make. I came across this recipe while watching Food Network last week and since they were so irresistibly simple to prepare, I decide I just had to make them for G. (And, let's be honest, for me!) 

While most truffle recipes I'm familiar with involve melting chocolate, this one utilizes sweetened condensed milk, which gives the truffles an ultra creamy and smooth texture that would be difficult if not impossible to replicate with any other ingredient. And did I mention it is super easy? No double boiler here.

The original recipe calls for coating the truffles in mini chocolate chips and sprinkles, but this is where you can get creative and play to the occasion (and theme) at hand. Desiring a variety of colors and textures, I added toffee bits and powdered sugar to my topping line-up. Colored sanding sugar, crushed freeze-dried fruit (such as strawberries) or a sprinkling of fine flaky sea salt would also be excellent. And you can't go wrong with the crowd-pleasing pair that is sure to be in your pantry already: cinnamon and sugar. Sweet and spicy. Just like my Valentine. 

Brazilian-Style Truffles
Cook time: 10 minutes | Total time: About 2.5 hours | Makes 16-20 truffles

One 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for your hands
2 tablespoons unsweetened coca powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
Toppings of your choice (I used mini chocolate chips, toffee bits, sprinkles and powdered sugar)

Combine the condensed milk, butter, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring until the mixture thickens and, when stirred, pulls away from the bottom of the pan, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and pour the mixture into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 2 hours.

To form truffles: Prep toppings by pouring each into a dish or shallow bowl. Lightly butter your hands. Using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop, scoop some of the truffle mixture into your hands and roll into a bite-size ball. (Work quickly and gently, and don't roll too much, as to prevent the chocolate from melting!) Roll the truffle in your chosen topping, coating the exterior completely, and then place on a plate. Continue with the remaining chocolate. Once all the truffles are made, pop in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up again before serving. 

Truffles can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week—if they last that long. (Ours didn't!)

One word of warning: I would recommend using a tablespoon measure for scooping the truffles. I used our "small" scoop and ended up with 12 large, two-bite truffles. Not that either of us were complaining. They were still delicious. But if you want a larger yield, with one-bite truffles, try to exercise restraint when scooping your chocolate. (Or don'tno judgment here!)

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