White Chocolate Almond Truffles

Continuing in our week of chocolate, I thought I’d share a white chocolate recipe. These are rich, quite sweet¬†little treats, that don’t taste strongly of almonds or white chocolate. The flavor seemed almost caramelly to me. But not even exactly that either. ūüôā Still, these would make a unique addition to your holiday treat repertoire.

I did find the rolling of these to be incredibly tedious. Truffle rolling is always messy, but somehow these just didn’t want to be rolled.¬†See my note below the recipe¬†with a possible alternative finish to these candies.

WHITE CHOCOLATE ALMOND TRUFFLES

1 pound white chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup natural almond butter
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup blanched almonds

Break chocolate into pieces no larger than a lima bean. Either pulse chocolate in a food processor fitted with a steel blade or chop by hand.

Heat cream, almond butter, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a simmer. Stir in chocolate. Remove the pan from the heat, cover the pan, and allow chocolate to melt for 5 minutes. Whisk mixture until smooth, and transfer to a 9 x 9-inch baking pan. Chill mixture for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

While mixture chills, preheat the oven to 350¬įF. Place almonds on a baking sheet, and toast for 5 to 7 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove the pan from the oven, and in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse to finely chop the almonds. Or chop finely by hand. Set aside.

Place chopped almonds in a bowl. Using a spoon, scoop out 2 teaspoons mixture, and gently form it into a ball. Roll balls in chopped almonds, and then refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.

Cook’s Note: If I make them again, I think I might grease my square pan, sprinkle in a layer of finely chopped, toasted almonds, pour in and spread the hot truffle mixture, and then sprinkle the top with the remaining chopped toasted almonds. Then, instead of little truffle balls, you could cut truffle squares.

Variation: Substitute natural peanut butter and dark chocolate to make chocolate peanut butter truffles.

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Holidays: Easter Dessert

I just love that cupcakes are so popular these days. The delicious, sweet, mini cakes make a beautiful presentation and are perfect for holidays, birthdays, company, dessert buffets, and more. Today I’m sharing two recipes¬†for homemade¬†cupcakes.

These key lime cupcakes are amazing. If you only make one of these recipes, make these. They are fabulous! I think they are probably my most favorite cupcake ever.


KEY LIME COCONUT CUPCAKES w/WHITE CHOCOLATE LIME FROSTING
(adapted slightly from foodnetwork.com)
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3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 heaping tsp. grated key lime zest
2 Tb. key lime juice (I used  freshly squeezed)
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 1/3 c. loosely packed sweetened coconut flakes

White Chocolate Lime Frosting:
5 oz. white chocolate (I used Baker’s)
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
3 1/2 Р4 c. powdered sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tb. key lime juice (I used freshly squeezed)
1/4 c. sour cream
Finely grated key lime zest, for garnish
Shredded, sweetened coconut, for garnish
White chocolate, grated, for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin pans with cupcake liners.

Using an mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla extract, key lime zest and juice and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 5 parts total, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold the coconut into the cupcake batter.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners and fill each liner 3/4 full. A spring loaded 1/4 cup ice cream scoop works great for this and ensures the cupcakes are all the same size. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops begin to brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer cupcakes to a baking rack to cool completely. Makes 14 cupcakes.

While the cupcakes are cooling you can make the frosting. In a small heat proof bowl, melt the white chocolate in the microwave. Let cool until just slightly warm. Meanwhile, using a hand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar until well combined. Add the salt, vanilla extract, key lime juice, and sour cream and mix until very smooth. Add the melted white chocolate and mix just until incorporated. Pipe icing on to the cupcakes and garnish with sweetened, shredded coconut, shaved white chocolate, and grated lime zest.

These vanilla cupcakes were moist and delicious! I used a simple vanilla buttercream to frost them and topped them with a white chocolate covered strawberry. My kids decorated their cupcakes with spring colored sprinkles.

VANILLA CUPCAKES
(adapted from foodnetwork.com)
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1 3/4 c. cake flour
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar
1 Tb. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, cut into cubes
4 eggs
1 c. whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.

Combine in a bowl both flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed until combined for about 3 minutes. Add in cubed butter, mixing until just coated with flour.

Add eggs 1 at a time until combined. Slowly add milk and vanilla to batter until completely mixed scraping down the bowl as you mix.

Scoop batter into baking cups filling about 2/3-3/4  full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Frost with your favorite icing. I made buttercream.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1/2 c. butter, melted
4-5 c. powdered sugar
dash of salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
milk – to reach desired consistency

Combine all with a hand mixer. Add food coloring if desired. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Weekend Fare: Chocolate

We are concluding this week of recipes on chocolate with a day devoted entirely to some easy chocolate recipes that are perfect for entertaining, for ending a special meal, or just because. The lava cakes and creme brulee would make excellent Valentine’s Day¬†Desserts!

These double chocolate cookies are sure to please any chocolate lover. The beautiful texture and chocolatey goodness make it perfect for dipping in a glass of milk! When I want to make large cookies, I use my ice cream scoop and bake them for 12-13 minutes. Mmmm…

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES
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1 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. white sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 package (11-12 oz.) milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In medium bowl cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt and blend until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet or stone. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

The oozy, delicious center of molten lava cakes makes this a popular dessert. I love it paired with raspberries – a perfect combination! Honestly, these cakes are incredibly easy but yet, so impressive. Bake them right before serving. Fresh whipped cream, vanilla bean ice cream, and/or fresh or frozen fruit make excellent garnishes.

MOLTEN LAVA CAKE
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
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1 c. butter
8 oz. semi-sweet or dark chocolate (a nice quality of chocolate will give a better cake!), chopped
5 eggs
1/2 c. sugar
pinch of salt
4 tsp. flour
fresh or frozen raspberries, opt.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease 8 ramekins and set aside.

Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Beat eggs, sugar, and salt with a hand mixer in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Beat egg mixtures into chocolate until smooth.  Beat in flour until just combined. (Batter can be made a day ahead and refrigerated Рbring to room temperature before baking).

Adjust oven rack to middle position. Divide batter between ramekins. Bake until batter puffs but center is not set, 9-12 minutes. Carefully loosen the sides of the cake and invert on a dessert plate. Serve with fresh or thawed raspberries if desired.

Although white chocolate isn’t really chocolate, I wanted to make sure and include a recipe for something with white chocolate! This gluten¬†free¬†creme brulee is WONDERFUL! Seriously, go make it. It doesn’t have a strong white chocolate flavor – just a hint and even my tasters who normally¬†don’t care for¬†white chocolate loved this dessert!¬†

I desperately wished for a torch to make this dessert look prettier Рthe sugar just did not caramelize as well under the broiler. It did have that lovely crisp texture though which is so wonderful with the creamy custard. 

 WHITE CHOCOLATE CREME BRULEE
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
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4 egg yolks
1/3 c. sugar
2 c. heavy cream
4 oz. quality white chocolate (I used Ghiradelli), chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. sugar.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg toiks with 1/3 c. sugar until smooth. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and add the white chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is melted. Temper the eggs by adding 2 Tb. of the white chocolate mixture  to the eggs. Whisk. Add the rest of the white chocolate and whisk to combine. Add vanilla.

Divide between 4 -6 ramekins. Place the ramekins in a 9×13 pan filled with 1 1/2 inches hot water. Bake for 45-55 minutes of until set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate the custards until chilled. Before serving, sprinkle the tops of each ramekin with 1 tsp. of suagr and place under the broiler or use a torch to carmalize the sugar. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Finally, I wanted to give you a quick and easy hot chocolate recipe. It’s not the very rich, homemade hot chocolate I often think of but it was light and delicious with a hint of cinnamon. It was made with ingredients that I almost always have on hand. You could top it with whipped cream or shaved chocolate.

HOT CHOCOLATE
(adapted from Ellie Krieger)
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1 c. milk
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. water
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat the milk and the cinnamon until just simmering. In a mug, combine the cocoa powder, sugar, and water and stir. Pour the milk into the mug and stir to mix well. Add the vanilla and stir. Makes 1 serving.