Like many baking friendly college/graduate students (and I guess many others, though this is particularly common in school) instead of buying gifts for friends, I make candy. I do not make cookies, just candy. This year I cut back a little: only truffles and toffee. I made the truffles mostly because I had a number of special requests for them. And really, they are the easiest things in the whole world. The key is using good chocolate. I use Ghiradelli because, well, I'm a graduate student and it is good enough and readily available. Also, the recipe is from the bag of Ghiradelli 60% chocolate chips. I do however, have trouble rolling them into spheres. I even used a melon baller, but sometimes a chunk just popped out and it was to firm to roll, so those ended up being oddly shaped. Maybe I should have warmed the melon baller, but all truffle making tips seem to recommend the opposite: dippping the baller in ice water. Then again, I think this might be a more firm mixture than other truffles. Oh well, I'd say I shaped more of them well than last year, so next year I'll try to do even better, I guess. Or maybe I'll change recipes to something easier to roll. I made raspberry truffles a few years ago that had a nice soft center that I dipped and those turned out much more attractively. I didn't think they were as good as the pure chocolate ones though, but I also used bulk dark chocolate, rather than Ghiradelli and it probably had a lower cocoa count. Here's the recipe:
2 cup chocolate chips (Ghiradelli 60%)
1/3 cup cream
6 Tbsp butter cut in small chunks
1. Bring cream to a simmer.
2. Stir in butter until melted.
3. Add chocolate and stir until smooth
4. Remove from heat, pour into shallow bowl. Refridgerate for at least two hours until firm.
5. Lick pan and spoon used for cooking chocolate mixture. This can be messy, but is totally worth it.
6. Using a mellon baller, scoop truffles, roll into balls and roll in choice of toppings: cocoa, cinnamon (which may be intense, so maybe a cocoa/cinnamon mixture), almonds or other nuts, coconut. I tried powdered sugar one year, but that was not preferred, made them too sweet.
See, I told you it was easy.