Friday, February 13, 2009

What I've Been Whipping Up This Week in the Kitchen

Truffles:

This is a recipe from "Bon Appetit" Magazine/January 1987. Um, yes, I start receiving a subscription to "Bon Appetit" when I was in 8th or 9th grade. No, I've not kept them all. I have a book that has all my random recipes cut out and glued into it. It's just a binder stuffed with recipes in plastic pages, but it's a big binder!

Anyhow...

"Rich Dark Truffles"
Makes 8
(I double it when I make them. If I'm going to the trouble, I want it to be worth it!)
1/4 c whipping cream
2 TBL butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I just use chocolate chips.)
1/4 tsp vanilla
sifted unsweetened cocoa powder

Bring the butter and cream to simmer in a small pan over medium heat. Then add the chocolate, melt and whisk on low heat until the mix is smooth. Pour into a small bowl and whisk in the vanilla. (You can add other extracts like orange or mint instead of the vanilla for flavored truffles. I thought about adding instant espresso powder for Mocha Truffles, but didn't.) Put the bowl in the freezer until it can hold its shape, but NOT frozen solid. The recipe says 20 minutes, but mine took more like 35 minutes and was still really soft in the center of the bowl. Just set a timer and keep checking on it.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper and dust it with the cocoa powder. Spoon 8 mounds onto the prepared sheet, using about 2 tablespoons chocolate mixture for each. (I used my mini scooper and it was sooo easy! It must be less than 2 tablespoons as I ended up with more mounds, but it was easy and a lot less messy.) Freeze until centers are almost firm, about 8 minutes.

(Ok, I didn't set the timer here and got distracted making lunch. When I took mine out, they were too firm to roll. So now they're just sitting on the counter hopefully softening up.)

Roll each mound in the cocoa powder on the sheet, then roll between palms of hands into smooth round. Set on another waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze until ready to dip, up to one month. (**Be sure to put them back in the freezer. I left mine out after rolling them because I was typing. I moved onto dipping, but had to stop as they were too warm and just melting in the dipping chocolate.)

Melt 1 pound of chocolate in the double boiler. Remove from heat. Let chocolate stand until melted, stirring occasionally, and candy thermometer registers between 115 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, remove truffles from the freezer, rerolling them to remove excess cocoa. (By the way-you could roll them in instant espresso powder if you like.)

For a simple assembly line, set the tray of truffles to your left. Set the dipping chocolate in front of you. Place the empty waxed paper-lined baking sheet immediately to your right.

Submerge one truffle in melted chocolate, tilting pan. Lifting truffle up with index finger and thumb, remove from chocolate. Move had side to side, shaking excess chocolate back into pan. Turn hand over and drop truffle onto prepared sheet. Dip index finger into chocolate to dab truffle where not completely coated. Truffles may also be dipped with a fork or toothpick.

Repeat with remaining truffles. Check the melted chocolate's temperature half way through dipping. If it has fallen below 115 degrees, reheat it by setting it back over the hot water of the double boiler. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, 30 minutes to an hour.

After the truffles are set, peel from waxed paper using gloves or plastic wrap if you like to prevent fingerprints. You may place them in paper candy cups (little muffin papers) if you want. Arrange cups in an airtight container and transfer to the refrigerator. They are best eaten within four days, but remain fresh up to two weeks. You may freeze them for up to one month. Let truffles stand at room temperature for one hour before serving.


I rolled some in cocoa, some in powdered sugar, and dipped some in chocolate. Pumpkin suggested I dip the heart cookies in chocolate and so I did. This is a chocolate box Joanne brought with her last weekend to the little Cupid's Tea I did. We all had our tea and then made valentines, if we wished. Six bloggers, and no one managed to get pictures, including me! This was one of the boxes she brought in case anyone wanted to decorate one. I did. Sweetheart did the gold foiling on the ribbon. Isn't he the best?!

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Butter

Kate--- I'll do a post on butter-making this weekend. The whipping cream needs to sit out for 24 hours before I churn it. It's on the counter now.

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As Sweetheart and I are using more natural products and foods, we are discovering all sorts of things you can make yourself. On the list to start making, hopefully Sunday after the boys go to bed, is soap. Sweetheart is more into the chemistry of everything than I am. (Understatement!!)

While we've been gathering up the various ingredients and waiting for everything to be ready, I've started making a few cosmetic type things myself that are simple and ready to go the same day. (Homemade soaps need weeks to set up, so it will be awhile before I have any posts on that.)

On Tuesday I made Lip Balm. Using this recipe, I made a lovely Burt's Bees-type lip balm. I added a bit more beeswax as it suggested to make it firmer and I added three drops of lavender oil in with the peppermint oil. I love the Burt's Bees stuff, but three dollars a tube is ridiculous!

Sweetheart bought a bag of 50 (!) empty tubes and this recipe filled six regular Chapstick sized tubes. I love it! I used a plastic syringe (no needle) to fill the tubes. The only change I'll make is to add even more beeswax, probably another whole teaspoon, because I like it to be firm. I'll also need to work faster filling the tubes, or wait for a warmer day, as the solution began setting up while still in the syringe, making the final product not quite as smooth all over in the tube as I would have liked. It totally usable and probably fine for gifts, but I'd like to keep improving it in the hopes that I might be able to sell some later with the soaps and other things I'm making.

On Wednesday, I made Lavender Body Butter with this recipe. On Thursday, I used the same recipe creating a Peppermint Body Butter using peppermint oil instead of the lavender, as I had used up all the lavender oil I had! This stuff is soooo wonderful! It goes on so smooth and lasts a lot longer than regular lotion. Like most of you, I'm washing my hands all day long. I put the Peppermint Body Butter on this morning. It's midafternoon now, and my hands still feel soft. In our dry Colorado climate and with how much I wash my hands, it's amazing that my skin still feels smooth. (The boys love it, too!)

I think I'll be using the Lavender at night and the Pepermint in the day. Lavender is so relaxing while the Peppermint is energizing to me. Both smell so clean, even Sweetheart is using them, and we don't have to worry about him going to work smelling like a girl. ;) I also like this recipe because it is neither sticky, or greasy.

Since these were my first attempts, I was concentrating hard on just doing it all right, so I didn't take any pictures of the processes. Is anyone interested that I should do a step-by-step blog on lipbalm or body butters, or are the links enough?

3 comments:

Puva said...

Hello! Great to hear that things went well for your kid and your family in general. Prayers do help, don't they? (:

Nice recipe and pictures!

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

Bookmarked those recipes to try--especially the body butter. Seems like a great teacher gift for the girls to try over the summer.

Would also love to hear about the laundry detergent. Hint, hint!

Love you, friend!

Joanne

Faye said...

STOPPED BY TO VISIT. I LOVE THE IDEAS.THE BODY BUTTER SOUNDS GREAT!

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