Working in seminaries provides one with the opportunity to meet many people – and then know people all over the world. Brian, a friend of mine who now works in Texas, used to work in North Carolina. He is great with chocolates as you’ll soon see in these recipes. I wanted to make all of these as soon as I saw the recipes. Holy yum!
Here’s a little story from him: (the above picture was taken with another friend of mine: Wendy)
Like most of us, my memories of Christmas are crowded with smells from Grandma’s kitchen. She was a master craftsman in her art and the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Years Eve was an ongoing celebration of home-baked sweets including fruit pies, cream pies, cobblers, cakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and donuts. Candies, such as fudge and lemon-bars, though faithfully present were relegated to second string when forced to compete with Grandma’s star performers. One year I was intrigued to spot a new-comer among the home-made candies. It was a chocolate of some sort, rough in shape and kept in the refrigerator. Grandma simply called them “frangos”. Lighter in texture than fudge, yet rich and minty, these chocolates soon dominated the “candy” category and subsequent years witnessed the unnoticed departure of the other candies from the menu. As the years progressed, family tastes slowly changed with the times becoming more health conscious. The quantity and variety of Christmas desserts dwindled. Instead of reproducing the entire array of baked desserts, grandma would select a few favorites to highlight from year to year. The minty chocolates, however, had established themselves as a Christmas staple and so, while never center-stage, they became an ongoing Christmas tradition.
After college, I moved to the South and took the recipe with me. I soon discovered, however, that the soft chocolates did not fare well in the warm Southern climate. I modified the recipe slightly by portioning the chocolates onto wax paper, chilling them in the freezer, and then dipping them in melted chocolate chips. This created a “truffle” with a hard chocolate shell and a soft minty center that can remain indefinitely at room temperature and travel to parties. In the years since, it has become my most popular (and requested) party contribution.
Here is the recipe:
Dark Mint Truffles:
1 ½ Cup Powdered Sugar
½ Cup Softened Butter (one stick)
1tsp Vanilla Extract*
1tsp Mint Extract*
2 eggs (whites)
36 oz (3 bags) Dark Chocolate Chips (I prefer Hershey’s Special Dark)
*Note: Do not use artificial flavorings. They contain too much water which will make your chocolate grainy.
Cover two cookie sheets with wax paper and set aside.
Cream sugar and butter, then blend in two egg whites, one at a time, making sure each is fully combined before adding the next. The mixture will resemble cake frosting at this stage. Mix in vanilla and mint extract. Melt one bag of chocolate in a microwave (60 to 90 seconds, be sure to mix well after the first minute). Allow chocolate to cool slightly and then add to mixture. Combine thoroughly (filling will look like cake batter) and spoon onto wax paper (like making small drop cookies). Place in freezer for ten to fifteen minutes to set firmly.
Melt the other two bags of chocolate in a double boiler. Remove fillings from freezer, dip in melted chocolate and return to wax paper. When all the chocolates are dipped, return them to the freezer for another ten to fifteen minutes to allow the chocolate to set. They may then be moved to air-tight containers for storage or served. Allow them to warm to room temperature before serving.
He also has: peanut butter, white raspberry, and english toffee truffles. Let me know if you want any of those recipes.
Thanks Brian. Keep making that chocolate. I know everyone who eats one feels the need to eat the rest of them (and then go run)!