Shopper Kitchen: Chocolate truffles make great Christmas treats

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By ANGELA McRAE, Special to The Shopper

Making and giving Christmas treats is something I plan for literally all year long. Presentation is important, so I’m forever prowling antique malls and thrift stores in search of bargain plates, bowls, trays, and saucers that can be used for giving away holiday treats. This year’s finds are especially nice, and I can’t wait to surprise a few friends with food gifts!

I’ve gotten attached to the Christmas pie plate I found at the Salvation Army in Newnan earlier this year, so alas, that will be staying with me. But over the summer, Alex and I visited family in Wisconsin, and while in Green Bay, I visited a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store that is by far the largest one I’ve ever had the pleasure of shopping. That was the first time I ever stepped into a thrift store and immediately reached for a shopping cart. I racked up that day.

Just a few weeks ago, I stopped by Gloria’s Country Collectibles in Whitesburg and picked up more fun finds that were all two dollars or less, including a vintage hand-painted dish with pink roses on it that was in mint condition. Deciding which recipient gets which dish will take some effort, but I have so many choices that everyone should get something lovely.

What goes on my treat plates? Spritz cookies and sugar cookies are longtime favorites, and I like to include a bar cookie or brownie as well.

Then it dawned on me that I could vary the presentation by including some sort of truffle, and I’ve found one that I love—and believe that my friends will too. This easy recipe came from the 1994 book Midwestern Tea Room Pleasures by Joyce Decherd. The Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles are a snap to make, and they’re so creamy and luscious that I can’t help thinking these will be a hit.

Another reason I like this recipe is that it’s a no-bake treat. The ingredients are quickly cooked on the stovetop, and it takes less than ten minutes to whip this mixture up and have it cooling in the refrigerator prior to scooping. I recently learned that some women I know absolutely love a good no-bake recipe at Christmas, so I’m happy to share this one. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles

1 cup peanut butter baking chips

3/4 cup butter

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Finely chopped nuts, unsweetened cocoa powder, graham cracker crumbs or powdered sugar

In a heavy saucepan, melt peanut butter chips and butter over low heat. Stir in cocoa and whisk until smooth. Add condensed milk and vanilla. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until thick and well blended. Remove from heat. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours or until firm enough to roll into 1-inch balls. Roll in nuts or other coating (I used pecans). Store, covered, in refrigerator. Serve at room temperature. Yields about 4 dozen truffles.

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