Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Recipe: Homemade Chocolates

What is better to spice up a relationship than a little indulgence? Chocolate is an aphrodisiac after all. Making your own chocolates can be simple or a bit more complicated.

If you're looking for simple, try a marble bark. You'll need:

-1 pkg semi-sweet baking chocolate or chocolate chips
-1 pkg white baking chocolate or chocolate chips
-1 cup toasted pecans, chopped.

To toast pecans, bake them on a cookie sheet at 350ºF until lightly browned (about 8 minutes). Let cool and chop into fine pieces.

Melt chocolate in separate bowls. Stir in 1/2 cup of pecans per bowl.

Cover cookie sheet with wax paper. Spoon chocolate and nut mixture onto cookie sheet and swirl with a knife. Refrigerate 1-2 hours or until firm, then break into pieces.

This recipe can  be modified according to taste. Why not try it with dark chocolate, butterscotch or peanut butter chips? Walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds can also be substituted for the pecans.

If you're looking to make something a little bit closer to the chocolates you find in stores, why not try making chocolate-covered butter rum balls? You'll need:

1 1/2 cups toasted pecans (or almonds, or walnuts, or hazelnuts), chopped
1 1/4 cups vanilla wafer cookies, finely crushed
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar (icing/powdered sugar)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 cup rum

As above, toast the nuts by baking them in the oven for approximately 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and chop into fine pieces. I normally cheat -- I put the nuts (and the vanilla cookies) into a plastic bag and hammer them with a meat cleaver. Easier.

Combine crushed vanilla cookies and chopped nuts. Add confectioners' sugar and cocoa; stir until mixed. Add corn syrup and rum, mix well. If too dry, add more rum a tablespoon at a time until batter is sticky. Refrigerate 1 hour. Then shape batter into 1-inch balls.

The topping is up to you. You can roll the balls in confectioners' sugar, cocoa, or chopped nuts.

Or you can coat them in chocolate. If you choose to do so, combine 1 cup of baking chocolate (chopped) or chocolate chips with 1 1/2 - 2 tsp of butter or shortening. Microwave in 20 second spurts until melted and mixed. Dip balls in chocolate before placing on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper. Refrigerate until chocolate has set (about 10-20 minutes to be safe). Then drizzle with more chocolate -- with white chocolate if you coated the balls in milk/dark chocolate, or vice versa.

Serve at room temperature. Makes about 3 dozen balls.

Mmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about all that chocolate! Bon appetite!

Lindsay Below writes young adult novels. Her YA science fiction novel Lurkers will be released on July 1st, 2011. Her middle grade novel, Same Old Lie, will be released on November 1st, 2011. She also writes adult romance and fantasy under the name L. K. Below. Visit her online at www.lbelow.net or on her blog at http://lbelow.blogspot.com.