When I was growing up, my mom was always trying new recipes. Every holiday we were testing out something. Many members of my extended family love chocolate, so often there was a new treat to enjoy and critique. There were a few “keepers,” and this is one of them.
With Valentine’s Day coming up this week, this seemed like the perfect recipe to share—although my mother makes these throughout the year and freezes them. That way she always has truffles on hand for gatherings.
I recommend trying your own variations—perhaps with different nuts or liqueurs—to suit your personal preference.
1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, melted
½ pound almonds, ground (I use slivered almonds and grind them in my food processor)
¼ cup Grand Marnier (an orange-flavored liqueur)
1¼ tablespoons orange zest
1 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1½ tablespoons confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
Bring about an inch of water to a simmer in a saucepan. In a metal bowl, combine the chocolate and melted butter, and place the bowl over the simmering water. Stir chocolate and butter.
When the chocolate is about 75 percent melted, remove the pan of simmering water and the bowl of chocolate from the stove. Keeping the bowl over the water, stir occasionally until just melted. You may also use a double boiler if you have one.
Note: you can also melt the chocolate with the butter in the microwave: Just put both ingredients into a glass bowl and stir every 30 seconds until they are melted.
Stir in ground nuts, Grand Marnier, and orange zest.
Tina’s Tip: Instead of using Grand Marnier, consider Rum, Frangelico, or Bailey’s Irish Cream. Other options include limoncello (substituting lemon zest for the orange) or tequila (substituting lime zest).
Chill the chocolate mixture for about an hour. Be careful not to leave it for too long or it will be difficult to work with.
Meanwhile, combine the cocoa powder, cinnamon, and confectioners sugar in a medium-sized bowl.
Roll the chocolate into balls about the size of a tablespoon or one ounce, and then roll each ball in the cocoa-sugar mixture until well coated. Place finished truffles on a pan or cookie sheet.
When all of the chocolate mixture is formed into balls, you can freeze them in freezer bags or wrap them for gifts. For gifts, I like to use cellophane bags and a pretty ribbon, or a cute little box from Packaging Specialties lined with decorative food-grade waxed paper. The truffles will store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!