Who doesn’t love a trip to a chocolate shop around Valentine’s Day? At the Chocolate Storybook shop, located in Des Moines, Iowa, Tim and Liesel Reilly create sweets the old-fashioned way, stirring up approximately 160 glorious temptations.
Liesel said they get some great ideas for chocolate creations by simply walking down the supermarket aisles. “There’s so many simple things that we do just by melting chocolate and using everyday items that someone at home could do,” she said.
For instance, look to those prepackaged items from the grocery market. Leisel suggested simply dipping sandwich cookies, animal crackers, licorice sticks or pretzel rods in melted chocolate. Lay them aside to cool just before serving. “Be creative and have some fun with it,” she said. “If all else, you can always eat these things yourself.”
Can you guess which country makes the most chocolate in the world? You may have answered Switzerland, but in fact, the United States is the leading chocolate manufacturer. And chocolate truffles provide the ultimate in chocolate bliss, especially on Valentine’s Day. A truffle is a candy featuring a chocolate coating covering a rich, soft interior. The recipe below uses only four ingredients to produce melt-in-your-mouth chocolate truffles.
Chocolate Truffles Recipe
Makes About 3 Dozen Truffles
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut up into small pieces
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla, orange, rum or mint extract
- 36 hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, unblanched whole almonds, pecan halves or walnut halves (optional)
- Confectioners’ sugar or unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
- 8 ounces chocolate or vanilla-flavored candy coating, cut into small pieces (optional)
- 2 ounces pink vanilla-flavored candy coating, cut into small pieces (optional)
- In a heavy, medium saucepan, combine the semisweet chocolate and the heavy cream. Cook the mixture ovver low heat for about 4 to 5 minutes, or just until the chocolate melts, stirring constantly. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Transfer the melted chocolate mixture to a mixing bowl. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, or until the chocolate mixture is slightly cool to the touch. Stir in the desired extract flavor. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the mixture on low speed for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the chocolate mixture is smooth.
- Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Shape the chocolate mixture into 1-inch rounds. If desired, press a whole or half of a nut into the center of each chocolate ball. Reroll the ball until smooth. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets and transfer to the freezer to harden up, about 15 minutes.
- If desired, roll the chocolate balls in chopped nuts, confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder. Alternatively, in a heavy, small saucepan, heat and stir 8 ounces chocolate or vanilla-flavored candy coating over low heat until melted and smooth. Quickly coat the truffles, one at a time, with the melted coating, allowing the excess to drip off. Place the truffles on the prepared baking sheet. Let the truffles stand until firm, about 30 minutes, in the refrigerator.
- For an additional garnishing idea, in a heavy, small saucepan, heat and stir 2 ounces pink vanilla-flavored candy coating until the mixture is smooth and melted. Transfer the mixture to a small freezer bag; snip a tiny piece off one of the corners of the bag. Pipe the coating onto the truffles as desired.
Tim and Liesel Reilly
1000 Grand Ave.
West Des Moines, IA 50265