Your Weekender Recipe: Ina's Chocolate Truffles (the Only Valentine's Day Treat You Need)
Valentine’s Day means something different for nearly everyone. Some people send cards. Others plan lavish meals for their sweethearts. Still others give or receive gifts of chocolate or shiny baubles. And there are always a few who boycott the holiday (and often wear black in protest).
I like to acknowledge Valentine’s Day, but I have always preferred a more homemade approach. When I was in school, I always insisted that I make individual cards for my classmates instead of buying the preprinted ones from the drugstore (heart-shaped doilies were almost always involved in my craft projects).
Later on, I’d gather up friends for a home-cooked dinner designed to celebrate our collective community. The promised cheese fondue would always draw a big crowd, regardless of whether my friends were in relationships.
Valentine’s Day has taken on new meaning for me now, because it is my husband’s birthday. I’ve mostly turned the day over to celebrating him, but I still like to make a little delicious treat to celebrate the holiday.
This year my homemade item of choice is a batch of Ina Garten’s Chocolate Truffles. These incredibly rich bites of chocolate are equally easy and delicious.
You start by chopped up a pound of chocolate (she recommends half bittersweet and half semisweet) and heaping it in a heatproof bowl. Then you bring a cup of heavy cream to a boil. Once it is hot, you pour it over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted. Then you stir in a little booze, some vanilla extract and some coffee, and you let the whole thing sit until the chocolate firms up.
Then it’s just a matter of scooping the chocolate into balls, rolling them in either cocoa powder or confectioners’ sugar, and chilling them to set. It’s a perfect sweet treat for The Weekender.
Oh, and before you get started, a tip: If the chocolate doesn’t fully melt from the heat of the cream, pull your hair dryer out and use it to apply gentle heat to the chocolate while whisking. It offers enough heat to finish the melting without scorching the chocolate.
Marisa McClellan is a food writer and canning teacher who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her food (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her second cookbook, Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces, is now available