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Preparing for Valentine’s Day with decadent dessert

February 5, 2013

By MATT CRANE
life@starkvilledailynews.com

Once again, Valentine's Day is almost upon us. This "holiday" of sorts is the perfect time to show your significant other how much he or she means to you and what better place to do that than in the kitchen.

Many couples will take this day as an opportunity to dine out at their favorite restaurant in town. While spending some extra money on your significant other at a restaurant in town allows for break from the kitchen and helps out the local economy, you can put a personal touch to everyone's favorite course: dessert. This recipe for chocolate raspberry truffles is decadent and delicious, and while the process is longer and more involved, the result is certainly worth it.

Because these delectable dessert bites can last up to two weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator, prepare them ahead of time so you can enjoy a night out with that special someone have your own homemade dessert waiting for the perfect date nightcap. Making something from scratch in the kitchen shows that you put time and effort into creating something for your date, which makes the evening that much more special.

However, everyone is not going to have a date on Valentine's Day or have someone with which to share these truffles. Never fear, single citizens. In my experience, the only thing that should be bittersweet on Valentine's Day is your chocolate.

Go ahead and make these wonderful truffles ahead of time and when Single Awareness Day approaches, plate these desserts and scroll those DVR records you have been meaning to get to and take some time for yourself. Beware getting down on yourself, though. Instead of "The Notebook," maybe watch a bawdy comedy or even a scary movie. There is no sense in crying over perfectly good chocolate because it is not fair to you, and it is certainly not fair to the chocolate.

Whether you make a date with that special someone or just make a date with yourself and the couch, enjoy your night and save yourself some extra truffles for Feb. 15.

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TRUFFLES
Recipe courtesy of http://candy.about.com.

Ingredients:
1 package (10 oz.) frozen raspberries, thawed
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 lb semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup cream
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 lb. chocolate candy coating, for dipping
1/4 cup red candy coating, for decoration (optional)

Preparation:

Place the raspberries in a blender or food processor, and process them until they are liquid. Pour the raspberry puree into a small saucepan through a strainer or cheesecloth to remove the seeds.

Add the powdered sugar to the raspberry puree and heat it over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it is thick and syrupy and reduced by about half. Remove the puree from heat and set aside for now.

Place the chopped chocolate into a large bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan until bubbles start to form around the edges, but do not allow it to come to a full boil. Once simmering, pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and allow it to sit for a minute or two to soften and melt the chocolate.

Whisk the chocolate and cream together gently, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and homogenous. This is your “ganache.” Add the corn syrup and raspberry puree to the chocolate mixture, and whisk it all together. Cover the surface of the ganache with cling wrap, and refrigerate until it is thick enough to scoop, at least 3 hours.

Cover a baking sheet with foil or waxed paper. Using a candy scoop or teaspoon, scoop the ganache into small balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Once all of the ganache is scooped, freeze the balls for 2 hours or until firm.

Place the candy coating in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in one-minute increments until melted, stirring after every minute to prevent overheating. Stir until the coating is completely smooth. Allow the coating to cool until it is barely warm. Do not let it start setting up, but let it cool down so that it does not melt the truffle fillings.

Using dipping tools or a fork, dip a truffle into the chocolate. Bring it out of the chocolate and allow the excess to drip back into the bowl. Place the dipped truffle back onto the baking sheet and repeat with remaining truffles and chocolate.

Place the truffles in the refrigerator to set the candy coating for about 30 minutes. If desired, you can melt red candy coating (or tint white coating with red candy coloring) and drizzle a small amount over the truffles decoratively.

Chocolate Raspberry Truffles can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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