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Entries in truffles (3)

Wednesday
Dec122012

Red Wine Chocolate Truffles

Red Wine Chocolate Truffles

When the weather takes a frosty turn with falling snow and Christmas lights brighten the night sky, the sweep of holiday festivities begin to descend. Living in a cold climate, it just doesn't feel like the holidays until the ground is covered in a thick sheet of white. In the last few days, Old Man Winter has come to visit and with him has come the sudden pressure to get ready for the upcoming holidays. I'm still sorting out the matter of gift giving, waiting until the last minute to get my affairs in order. With homemade gifts currently strewn about my apartment in various levels of disarray, I wonder whether it would have been a better decision to purchase them instead.

Even so, each year I just can't bring myself to do it, mess or otherwise. I love to bring a personal touch, however small it may be.

Red Wine Chocolate Truffles Red Wine Chocolate Truffles

There is, however, one gift I present each year that I can never seem to keep a surprise. Since I was a young girl, it has become a tradition to make a box of chocolates for my father on Christmas. When a small package appears beneath the tree addressed to my father—wrapped with twine and a note warning Fragile!—everyone knows what is hidden within.

He has a deep love for chocolate that only a handful of truffles can cure; a hopeless craving that he has passed down to me. When I was young, I would wrap a bundle of Hershey's chocolate bars in paper, taking care to keep them away from the roaring flames in the fireplace. Now that I've grown older (and developed a few candy making skills of my own), his chocolate boxes have gradually grown in sophistication. The last box held an array of bonbons, with caramel and fondant filled treats, and enough milk chocolate truffles to last him into the New Year.

Red Wine Chocolate Truffles

When summer rolled around this year, the idea to combine chocolate and red wine into a delicate truffle rushed through me like a sweet burst of wind. Overcome with inspiration, I tried to make these truffles in a ninety degree apartment in the middle of July. Needless to say, it didn't work out as planned. I've kept the idea brewing since, a low level current of decadence flowing thought the back of my mind. Now that the air is cool and the season is right, it was the perfect time to try my hand at these truffles again.

My father's chocolate box certainly won't go empty this year. With any luck, I hope you will find yours filled with goodies, too.

Note: The winners of the homemade holiday cookie giveaway have been chosen. A big congratulations to Jenny Hartin, Edith, and Monika Stout for winning a box of cookies delivered to your doorstep. Expect to hear from me very soon!

Red Wine Chocolate Truffles

Red Wine Chocolate Truffles combine the aromatic strength of a dry, red wine and the dark tones of a quality bar of chocolate. The truffles themselves are simple to make, but have such a complex flavor you may guess otherwise. The truffles are rolled in cocoa powder before serving, lending a clean appearance to a rustic sweet. These truffles would make for a lovely addition to serve at a party with family and friends or enjoyed in front of a fireplace with a good book all by yourself.

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Wednesday
Dec152010

Chocolate Truffles

chocolate truffles

Moving has always been a bittersweet process for me. It is an ending as much as a beginning, the close of one chapter of my life and the opening of another. In the last five years, I have moved 14 times. Between summer internships, studying abroad, attending university, and moving back home for a month here or there, it adds up. Even as I sit here writing this, I still find it hard to believe. 14 times? How is that even possible?

3 countries, 7 cities, 5 years.

chocolate truffles

Every time I move, I acquire new things to add to my life, whether it be a new pair of shoes, a new tart pan, or a new set of clothes. Every time I move, I have to leave small parts of my life behind. My suitcase is a fixed size. If something new stays, something old must go. To make room for who I have become, I must part with some of the older pieces of myself. It might be a pair of beat up sneakers that were worn when I backpacked through Europe. An overused cookie sheet that produced such baked love during its lifetime. A favorite dress that fit when I was ten pounds lighter.

My suitcase has grown to represent change. Certainly a suitcase embodies an inherent change in setting, of people and places. But for me, my suitcase represents a very deep and personal level of change. My entire life fits neatly into that suitcase. All of my material possessions are held within its zippered walls. Every time I pack it, it shows me a visual representation of the objects that have grown to define me, that I have chosen to define myself. My suitcase shows me where I have been and who I have become.

chocolate truffles

Tomorrow I must say farewell to Montréal to follow my pastry dreams. For once, I'm not ready to leave. I feel like I have unfinished business. I fell in love with this city and the people and culture that surround it. Montreal allowed me to realize my heart wasn't in studying physics. It let me embrace my passion for baking and all things sweet. It gave me a taste of city life and forced me to learn a little French. I think I will miss the metro commutes and the intimate greetings, with a kiss on each cheek, from both strangers and friends most of all.

I have said goodbye to my wonderful friends, my suitcase is packed, and a new chapter of my life is just visible on the horizon. It is time to move on.

I am thankful memories and experiences pack lightly.

Au revoir, Montréal. Vous serez manqué.

chocolate truffles

Chocolate truffles represent much of my current emotions. Though truffles are undeniably decadent, they hold a bittersweet quality. You must break through the bitter, unsweetened cocoa exterior before you can reach the smooth, sweet chocolate interior. Or, in so many words, I have to say my final goodbyes to Montréal, however sad or bitter they may be, before I can embark on a new adventure, a journey filled with sweetness and sugar. So make these truffles to share with friends and family or send them to loved ones far away. Truffles travel well.

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Sunday
Dec052010

White Chocolate Saffron Truffles

white chocolate saffron truffles

Truffles have this mystic, extravagant air about them. When you throw around the word "truffle," people Ooo and Ahhh and think of fancy, expensive things. Partly because actual truffles are those really pretentious mushrooms no one can afford. But mostly because the word truffle is associated with some sort of delicious chocolate treat for the rest of us. And everyone likes delicious chocolate treats (even, god forbid, those people who just don't know it yet).

white chocolate saffron truffles

A friend recently gave me a bit of saffron to play around with since I had never used (or tasted) saffron before. My immediate thought was to put it in truffles because I had already planned to make them (but for all I knew about saffron, it could have been a steak spice). Had I known saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, I might have treated it with a bit more reverence. Though I still managed to unwittingly combine two of the most pretentious foods in existence.

Now that I've wildly thrown about the words "truffle" and "saffron," I feel sufficiently pompous. So I apologize for this (deliciously) arrogant post but, since the damage is already done, I don't see the harm in being a bit cheeky for a bit longer. Do you?

Let me describe these sassy little devils to you.

white chocolate saffron truffles

White chocolate saffron truffles are sensual. Subtle. Conceited and coy. They send you a come-hither gaze from across the room. They make promises that sound too good to be true. They urge you to partake, to give in, to indulge. When you give into that unceasing gaze (and oh will you ever), these truffles live up to all of those expectations. The very moment they disappear into the mouth, they melt into a velvety smooth chocolate that circles the tongue like a silk scarf. The chocolate dances and weaves between the taste buds. It waltzes. It tangos. When the final chords strike, it gives a finishing whirl before dipping out of sight.

white chocolate saffron truffles

If you don't happen to have saffron lying around, it can be substituted for another herb such as lavender or removed completely. I don't think anyone can turn down a simple and elegant white chocolate truffle. And that's the truth.

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