Tag Archives: Valentines Day

Caro: Chocolate Raspberry Truffles

***Sigh. I disappeared again ūüė¶ …

I don’t want it to be this way. But something about working 11-hour days at the office and trying to make the most of Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays with people I will only be with for a few more weeks robs me of both my time and my motivation to cook/bake, clean up, photograph, write… but I’m trying, really. The kind of funny part is that I’ve kept up with the creating and “photographing” (with Camera+ on my iPhone, as I may or may not have misplaced my parents’ fancy D-SLR…) for every single week, but then I realize I have yet to edit the pictures (for whatever that’s worth) and I have yet to write the post, and, well, it just doesn’t feel like there’s enough time. I know, I know, people juggle a lot more than what I have on my plate… but I’ve never been known for my time management skills, and somehow the hours escape me.¬†“I’ll do it tonight” becomes “I’ll do it tomorrow” becomes “I’ll have more time for this over the weekend” becomes a fridge full of food that has yet to be shared with the world via our little corner of the internet.

But anyway. All that rambling to let you know that I’m still alive, and I’m still cooking and baking, and hopefully there’ll be a lot more of me around here as my Tampa adventures wind down.

And, if it helps make up for my absence at all, today I bring you chocolate. (Yay!)***

Are you a fan of the combination of chocolate and raspberry? Truth be told, I used to hate it. HATED every raspberry-flavored thing I tried for years and years, so I eventually stopped trying raspberry-flavored things. Raspberry and I spent years apart before we were fatefully reunited one day…

(*Cue flashback initiation sequence*)

Lauren and I were lucky enough to go to pretty much a “foodie” university. Our dining halls had Indian, Mexican, Chinese, comfort, etc. food stations, and all the food was way awesome. But despite all this variety, my favorite part of the Wash. U. dining experience was the dessert case in the cafe (no surprise there!) that came as part of the new construction that went down while we were students. I would walk by it every single day just to see if there was anything I needed to try. Lauren and I spent¬†so many¬†nights with three desserts spread across a table, taking bites of and judging each one.

And one day, I spotted this slice of a chocolate pound-cake/loaf kind of deal that I HAD to have. It looked impossibly moist and just totally irresistible. So I bought a slice, duh, (maybe two…), and ventured home, nestled into bed, took a bite.

Well, it was so super amazing, obviously. I kept thinking it was chocolate and something else, and I couldn’t even pin down what the other flavor was… until my fork hit a little pocket of jam. I tried the jam alone, and that’s when it hit me. Raspberry! And chocolate! Chocolate raspberry, and I loved it. Converted!!!

And so, when I was thinking of what to make for Valentine’s week, chocolate raspberry something was a no-brainer. I settled on truffles pretty quickly, since I’ve always wanted to make them and spending $10/mall visit on Godiva truffles was really putting a dent in my budget, considering how often I go to the mall.

chocolate raspberry truffles

Ok. Here’s the thing. These were AWESOME. So, so awesome. So very wonderful, in¬†fact,¬†that my friend would not believe me when I told him I made them. (As if the fact that I offered them to him in a Tupperware container wasn’t enough of a hint…) So, they’re probably almost¬†as good as the best truffles you’ve ever had unless you live in Belgium or something.¬†Maybe.

photo (3)

BUT… they are a LOT of work. At least they were for me. First they were too soft to roll into little truffle-y shapes, so I refrigerated the chocolate blob for an extra hour… which¬†led it to¬†harden to¬†a rock-like consistency, which made it impossible to scoop any shapes out at all. So I ended up microwaving that blob until it was manageable… and then I used a knife to, in ruthless caveman-like fashion, carve out chunks of chocolate, which I then had to let sit and soften until they could be rolled into truffles, which I then had to freeze. AHH! So much temperature particularity to make these handle-able! It was a little too much for me.

So as good as they were, I probably won’t be making them again soon. The value of a recipe like this, though, is that you can adapt it any of nine billion ways… so next time some crazy chocolate combo pops into my head, I might whip up a batch of these just to say I made my own peanut butter potato chip truffles or white chocolate strawberry basil truffles or something. You know? Yep.

Anyway. Try these if you need a kitchen project to keep you busy! Maybe you’ll have more luck than I did at making the whole process manageable… but in any case, you’ll end up with perfect truffles, or goofy-looking little chocolate blobs, or a bowl of raspberry-infused dark chocolate goodness. Win, win, win!

Click here for the recipe!

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Lauren: Valentine’s Day Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

red velvet cheesecake brownieThe day of red and pink is here at last! Valentine’s Day!

A few weeks ago I tested this recipe from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen for red velvet cheesecake brownies and they changed my life. If you decide to plunge into this dreamworld of butter, sugar, chocolate, and cream cheese, then please follow these tips to achieve brownie bliss.

Whichever kind/percentage of chocolate you use (since the recipe simply calls for “dark chocolate,” (wow, thanks for those ultra specific directions), make sure the bar is something you’d be happy to eat in bar form as the chocolate is the star of the recipe. I made these brownies two times, the first with an organic cream cheese and the second with Philadelphia cream cheese. While the organic version looked like a curdled mess in the mixer, it retained more flavor and was a tangier counter to the chocolatey sweetness than the Philly version. The first bars also received rave reviews and Susan, my resident taste-tester, said, “Lauren, these might actually be one of the best things I have ever eaten.” But you know, take your pick.

Note too that these are FUDGY with a capital F. I had to cook them for several extra minutes (around 10) to achieve even the slightly brown edge described in the recipe due to their intense moisture (sorry!). They are totally worth it though and the recipe is low maintenance and comes together in a hurry‚ÄĒtwo mega pluses. They do well kept in tupperware in the refrigerator once they’ve cooled since they’re topped with cream cheese, but do let them stand at room temperature for around 10 minutes before serving so that you’ll really be able to taste their flavor.

These decadent bars are the perfect dessert for you, or you + others. You know what, these should only be baked in the event that you’ll serve them to a large group of people or else be prepared to eat the whole pan (which I DO NOT RECOMMEND!).

Some other recipes I considered before settling on this one:

Now go bake with your boo(s)/family/friends/furry companion and share the love that is these brownies. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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