I once heard something like, “Chocolates mean I love you. Flowers mean I’m sorry.” I am fairly certain this sentiment was uttered on a reality TV show set in California. In confessing I remember such a thing, which implies I once watched reality TV shows set in California, my inclination is to move on as quickly as possible.
Yet, I can not help but remember that sentiment. “Chocolates mean I love you.”
As we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of the holiday season, it is so very easy to fall prey to the idea that only the perfect gift will demonstrate our love. But will it really? The older I get, the more I find that the people I spend the holidays with want little more than for me to show up so we can spend some time together. If I happen to show up with chocolate, well then, all the better.
Homemade holiday gifts can range from “Oh, dear” (think a hand-knit sweater…with three arms) to “Oh, wow” (think chocolate truffles…with booze). Let’s focus on the “Oh, wow!”
I developed this truffle concoction as part of a holiday truffle challenge hosted by Four Roses Bourbon and Frontier Co-op. I have had the opportunity to work with Four Roses before, that time creating savory bourbon barbecue sauces. This time, something sweet was in order.
The something sweet was chocolate truffles. Technically speaking, a truffle is any confection with a ganache base that is often, but not always, coated with cocoa power or nuts. Making truffles at home requires little more than quality ingredients and a good whisk. There are no candy molds to worry about, and wrappers are optional.
We start with chocolate melted in cream. Then we add bourbon and spices and a bit of minced fruit. When the chocolate sets up, we roll it in balls, coat it in whatever we please, and present the finished product as a gesture of love.
This holiday season, forget baking cookies. Make chocolate truffles. And remember the words of Charles M. Schulz, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Enjoy!
Bourbon Apricot Chocolate Truffles
Yield approximately 26 truffles
For the Truffles
1/4 cup dried apricots
10 ounces high-quality chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup bourbon
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Coating
pecans, finely chopped
- Place the dried apricots in a small bowl. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil, pour the hot water over the dried apricots, and allow the drenched fruit to sit for about 20 minutes.
- When the dried apricots have plumped up a bit, drain the water, dry the fruit, and chop as finely as possible. You can also use a food processor to chop the apricots into a fine consistency. Set aside.
- Next, place the chopped chocolate in a medium to large bowl.
- Bring the heavy cream to a boil over medium heat.
- As soon as the cream begins to boil, pour it over the chocolate and let the mixture stand for one minute.
- Starting at the center of the bowl, gently stir the chocolate and cream until smooth.
- Once the chocolate is fully melted and smooth, stir in the bourbon, cinnamon, vanilla, and chopped apricots.
- Cover the mixture, place it in the refrigerator, and allow to stand at least two hours, preferably overnight.
- Once the chocolate is set, remove the mixture from the refrigerator.
- Allow the chocolate to soften just slightly, then use a melon baller or other small spoon to scoop the chocolate and roll it into balls.
- Roll or toss the truffles in a coating of chopped pecans, cocoa powder, or chocolate sprinkles.
Ten ounces of chocolate should equal about 1 1/2 cups of chopped chocolate.
The yield may vary depending on the size of your truffles. I used roughly two teaspoons of chocolate mixture for each truffle to yield just over two dozen.
In exchange for this blog post, I received a bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon, Frontier Co-Op Simply Organic pure vanilla extract and ground cinnamon, and a Whole Foods gift card to offset the cost of ingredients.