Saturday, December 17, 2011

Every year I find myself spending hundreds of dollars on Christmas gifts. I love my friends and family, but, even I can't argue that sometimes it's smarter to save a little money for a rainy day.

This year, instead of flocking to the nearest big-box conglomerate, I've decided to take a much more personal approach to the gifts I'm giving out, by making everything homemade. Just because your gift is homemade doesn't mean that it can't taste delicious or look just as professional as something you could buy in a store.

Below, is my recipe for Peppermint Truffles. I was trying to think of the perfect gift to give to one of my friends this weekend and this dreamy treat popped into my mind. Not only does the peppermint make this gift seasonally appropriate, but, it's inexpensive and not too difficult to replicate. If you're short on cash but willing to get a little creative, consider trying something a bit daring this year- make your own gifts!

Peppermint Truffles

1 lb Powdered Sugar
1/4 cup Evaporated milk
2 Tbsp room-temp Margarine
2 tsp Peppermint extract
1/2 tsp Vanilla
Candy-coating chocolate

In a large bowl, whip together the margarine and powdered sugar. Slowly pour in the milk and beat until smooth. Add both extracts. Freeze for 1 hour.

Use a melon baller to scoop the mixture into tiny, uniform balls. Use your hands to further shape the balls. Place on top of a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Melt your chocolate either in a double-boiler or the microwave- make sure to watch it carefully otherwise it will burn. Place one ball at a time into the chocolate. Use a spoon to completely coat it (if your truffle cracks or has holes, the filling will seep out.) Scoop up the truffle using the melon baller and tap out some of the chocolate (the hole in the melon baller will help facilitate that but you will need to clean the baller routinely). Flip the truffle onto another sheet of parchment paper. Use your index finger to swirl the chocolate on top. If during this process your filling becomes too difficult to dip, i.e. it sticks to the baller, put the tray back into the freezer for a couple minutes. If your chocolate starts to become lumpy and harden, pop it back in the microwave for 10-15 seconds or until it becomes smooth again.

Within 5 minutes, the truffles should be firm and ready to eat! They do not need to be refrigerated because the chocolate you're using will not melt at room-temperature. This recipe makes 20-25.

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