So naturally when Valentine's Day, or any holiday for that matter, rolls around I end up in the kitchen. The difference between me being in the kitchen for this day, however, as opposed to others is that I really only have one purpose: make something Taylor will think is delicious. Oh yeah, and something fun! I don't know how I came up with this idea. I wanted to make something that could be all his. Cakes, pie, tarts, those types of things are usually on the top of my list, but things like that beg to be shared, even though I am very confident Taylor could find a way to finish one on his own. Regardless, I wanted something fun and playful that could be his, if he so chooses.
I'd never made truffles before, but I love the concept. Depending on how you approach them they can be elegant or funky or elegantly funky! And it turns out there are a quite a few ways to make the actual chocolate part... I opted for the easier one simply because... well.... I procrastinated a bit on Valentine's Day. But not on purpose! I couldn't think of anything to make that filled the $5 limit Taylor and I agreed to place on the day! I think though that these were a good way to go. Besides, the more complicated recipes were a little intimidating and these honestly sounded a little more delicious, hopefully they are.
These really were so simply! The recipe simply asked that I beat one package of cream cheese until fluffy (make sure you use real cream cheese, not fat-free or anything robbed of flavor! and IT MUST BE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE, your ingredients won't blend if it's not softened), then gradually beat in 3 cups of powdered sugar. I then melted 3 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave and, after it cooled a bit, beat the melted chocolate and 1.5 teaspoons of peppermint extract (though the recipe calls for vanilla; really any extract would do, pick what you like) into the cream cheese and sugar mixture. I then covered the bowl with saran wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
I planned on rolling the truffles in whatever lovely coatings I could come up with and then place them on a baking sheet to be popped into the freezer, but when I went to retrieve my baking sheet I noticed a couple mini-muffin pans that I thought would be perfect. After all, truffles are significantly less appealing if they roll off an inconveniently flat baking sheet. I also remembered we happened to have mini-muffin liners! So I placed them in the muffin pans and went to work on my little peppermint chocolate treats.
Using a regular metal spoon, I scooped out balls of chocolate just big enough to fit in the mini-muffin slots, rolling them into smooth balls with my palms. You can coat your truffles really in just about anything you'd like, within reason of course. Some delicious options to consider are coconut flakes, any chopped variety of nuts, cocoa powder, or festive sprinkles. Taylor doesn't like coconut so I ditched that option, and I'm pretty sure he's not a huge nut fan, so I ruled that one out as well. I rolled a few in a mixture of red, pink, and white sprinkles because they were, after all, Valentine's Day truffles. I also rolled a few in cocoa powder, powerded sugar (though that wasn't my favorite), and chocolate sprinkles.
These I put in the freezer to set and then let sit in the fridge until I was ready for them! The night before Valentine's Day, I cut up small squares of saran wrap and individually wrapped each truffle, so very cute! Unfortunately my procrastination left me in such a hurry that taking pictures failed to make my priority list... especially since I might have been wrapping them at 2:30 in the morning... so you'll just have to take my word on there absolutely awesome presentation. You certainly don't need to wrap them individually, I just liked the idea of having them look like gourmet candy store goodies, which I thought they got pretty close to! The muffin liners are a necessity either, but they make clean up and delivery a little easier and I would assume can be found at your grocery store (pretty sure we got ours from Meijer, and if Meijer has it, everybody probably does).
Anyway, truffles are incredibly impressive for an incredibly easy recipe. I think too often people give in to the Hallmark crafted version of Valentine's Day. The best way to spend the holiday is to do something thoughtful, not something gift store crafted, generic, and often expensive. Baking is a perfect way to show a loved one you care, it takes time and effort and shows a great deal of appreciation and thought. If you're still on the hunt for a Valentine idea, which you shouldn't be because I had to wait until the day of to post this, make some truffles. This recipe will make enough to almost fill a paper lunch bag, around 3 dozen. Nothing says I love you like a decadent balls of chocoholic joy!