Friday, February 13, 2009

Sweets for your Sweetie ...

I'm probably dating myself here, but long ago there was a perfume commercial that began with a seductive voice repeating the phrase: "If you want to capture someone's attention ... whisper." If you want to capture my attention, give me chocolate. Deep, dark, velvety chocolate. Give me truffles.

Dark Cherry Truffles:
  • 8 ounces of good quality bittersweet chocolate, 70% cocoa or higher, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fat-free half and half
  • 1 cup of dark cherries, pitted (I used frozen, unsweetened cherries)
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of ground cinnamon, optional
  • 1 tsp. pure almond extract
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder for rolling the truffles.
Finely chop the cherries and reserve. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-safe bowl and reserve. Heat the half and half in a small saucepan over medium heat and when it begins to simmer, add the chopped cherries. Stir and allow the mixture to return to the simmer then remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Add the pinch of salt, a dash of cinnamon and the almond extract. Stir well until all of the chocolate has melted and the ingredients well combined.

Place the bowl in the freezer to chill, removing the bowl every 3 or 4 minutes and stirring until the chocolate is set. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes. When the chocolate is opaque and has begun to harden, remove from the freezer, cover and chill in the fridge overnight.

Once the chocolate has chilled, place the cocoa powder in a small shallow dish or plate. Remove the chocolate from the fridge and, using a teaspoon, scoop out some chocolate and press and roll between moistened palms, compacting the mixture to form a small ball. Work quickly so the chocolate will not melt. Roll each ball in cocoa powder to coat, tapping off the excess, and repeat. If the room is warm, or the chocolate becomes too soft, return the bowl to the fridge for a few minutes to re-chill then proceed.

Serve immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container.

I've adapted this recipe from The South Beach Diet Taste of Summer Cookbook and I've made a few changes in both the ingredients and the process. I've added some cinnamon, because I love it, and included the almond extract to bump up the cherry flavor. Having tasted the mixture as the chocolate was melting, I felt the truffles needed some oomph. Almond extract tastes like cherries to me ... it worked beautifully.

The original instructions called for rolling the truffles immediately after taking the mixture from the freezer, but in my experience they really roll better after spending the night in the fridge. If you're pressed for time, you can certainly roll them right after freezing but doing so will be more difficult and time consuming. They're much easier to form after resting overnight.

The flavor? Exquisite! I used Scharffen Berger Bittersweet chocolate bars and I recommend them, highly. Their velvety texture is perfect for making truffles and their flavor really complements the cherries.

These truffles are rich, decadent and oh-so-smooth. They're everything a truffle should be and the perfect little treat for Valentine's Day. Why not whip up a batch for your sweetie and kick off the holiday with a luscious homemade treat? As for the yield - I'm not sure - I haven't finished rolling them yet and I'm not certain how many of them will survive long enough to count!

So, are you making a special Valentine's Day dessert this weekend? Are there truffles or some other chocolaty concoction in your future? Curious Diva wants to know.

Bon appetit!


Nej said...

I just got done posting about my holiday weekend sweets. Key Lime Cheesecake I made last night.

OK, admittedly, not the most romantic goodie I could have made...but we've had 50 and 60 degree days for a week. I thought I'd make something in honor of those nice days. :-)

(I had my sunroof of my car open yesterday, and so far today, we've gotten just over 5 inches of snow. Go figure!)

Anonymous said...

We'll be whipping up a couple of cakes, though nothing specific to Vday. Wish we could have a few truffles though!

stephchows said...

mmmm those look so good! I need some chocolate to snack on now.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Nej - Welcome! I love anything key lime, or lime, or cheesecake, so its all good. I'll bet its delish! We're having crazy weather too. No snow this week, thank heaven, but some wild temp swings. I am SO ready for this winter to be over!

Duo - cakes are always a treat! Happy baking and Valentine's Day to you both!

Steph - Welcome! You sound like me ... I only say that every single day. LOL

Tracy said...

Oh my goodness, those truffles look sooooo good! I will be making chocolate souffles for dessert Saturday night (I've been inspired by Mark Bittman).

The Diva on a Diet said...

Tracy - what time shall we arrive? LOL and j/k! Bittman's column certainly was inspiring - I was tempted myself. I know they'll be spectacular and I hope you'll blog about them when you get a chance. Happy whisking and Happy Valentine's Day! :)

pixelgal said...

I was going to go out and buy my sweetie a box of Rocher chocolates which have a sentimental value to us. When we were in Italy one of my relatives gave us a box for the road which we savored for awhile and then polished off at the airport...but these look so much tastier. Who knows, maybe I'll get ambitious! Thanks Diva dear.
(Wonder where Nej is from? Hope it's not too near us! I'm so over the snow.)

Nej said...

Omaha, NE

The Diva on a Diet said...

Enjoy the "Giuseppinas", Pixelgal ... I know your sweetie will. :)

No more snow. Period.!

pixelgal said...

We were spoiled by previous winters here in the East and can't cope with the old fashioned one we're getting this year even tho we used to love them...I said USED to love them. The 60 degrees we had a few days ago had everyone running to the garden shops--with the sunroof open! Back to 40s and windy which is bearable...and we can actually see the grass again!

Vintage Kitten said...

Happy Valentines Diva! X Oh my god those truffles look divine. I wonder how many I could fit in my mouth at any one time? LOL!

words words words said...

These sound great! I always use Scharffen Berger for baking, it's great. And I fully approve of the cinnamon addition - I try to work cinnamon into as many things as I can. Had you ever thought of doing a version with some ancho chile powder?

The Diva on a Diet said...

words words words - god, Yes! In fact, chili spiced truffles are already slated to be in the blog line-up somewhere along the way. Great minds think alike ... and I like to keep thinks spicy! ;)

Deb said...

Ah chocolate - my weak spot. I don't dare make your truffles even though they appear quite easy as I would be inclined to polish them off all by myself. The DH is not a sweet eater while I am the origianl chocoholic. I guess I'll have to reserve for a compny occasion so I can feed them to others beside myself.



What if you don't have a sweetie? Can you just scoff them all youself lol?!

Oh, finally got around to answering those questions! Sorry for the wait!

Scarlet x

Taste of Beirut said...

Chocolate and cherries! what a wonderful combination! my favorite is the tart cherries called griottes in France