(Family Features) Named for the earthy, exotic fungi they resemble, chocolate truffles require no hunting, digging or specially trained dogs and they won’t break the budget either. Real white truffles from Italy can set back the pocketbook more than $1000 for just one pound. Of course, chocolate truffles are a visual imitation only; they are sweet, addictive, and a great way to turn some organic chocolate, cream and butter into a decadent treat.
These ultra creamy truffles are made in the tradition of the Swiss style of chocolate truffle using heavy cream and butter to create what is called a ganache – a lovely French word for a mixture of chocolate and cream. According to Monique Hooker, Organic Valley’s French-born Chef, “using the best quality, organic cream and butter makes a difference.”
This recipe is so easy that kids can help and it is open to many variations. One option is to infuse the cream with some rich, floral Organic Madagascar vanilla extract, or split a whole vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the cream as it simmers. Or, try using white chocolate, and roll the balls in finely minced sweetened coconut. For decoration, top each truffle with a small piece of roasted nut such as pistachio or pecan, a tiny candy, or if serving immediately, add one perfect raspberry to each truffle. Serve for parties, birthdays, or any occasion that needs a little chocolate.
For more dessert recipes using organic cream and butter, visit www.organicvalley.coop.
Easy Decadent Chocolate Truffles
Makes 25 truffles
- 1/2 cup Organic Valley heavy whipping cream
- 12 oz best quality semisweet chocolate (preferably Fair Trade and Organic) chopped into small pieces, or 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 6 tablespoons Organic Valley unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- In a small heavy saucepan, bring the cream gently to a simmer over medium low heat. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate and butter. Stir mixture just until the chocolate has completely melted, using very low heat if necessary. Remove from heat. Pour the chocolate mixture into a shallow bowl, and allow to cool. Cover tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least two hours or overnight.
- Line a cookie sheet or platter with baking parchment or waxed paper. Dip a teaspoon or small scoop such as a melon baller into warm water and scrape across the surface of the truffle mixture to form a 1-inch ball. Quickly roll balls in cocoa powder. Repeat with the remaining truffle mixture. Cover and refrigerate truffles. Serve in paper candy cups which are available in cookware shops or where cake decorating items are sold.
Variations: For a variety of truffles, roll balls in finely chopped nuts, finely minced sweetened coconut flakes, chocolate sprinkles, colored sugar or powdered sugar.
Tips: Truffles make a wonderful gift. Nothing says “I Love You” better than chocolate. Wrap a selection of truffles on a small red paper plate with cellophane and tie with a ribbon.
Source: Organic Valley
(Family Features) Holiday entertaining is all about food, wine and quality time with family and friends. This year, try a new approach to holiday get-togethers by hosting an hors d’oeuvres party.
Skip the hassle of preparing a full meal by serving a number of small bites, dips and spreads for your guests to enjoy. Most hors d’oeuvres can be prepared ahead of time so you can spend more time with your guests instead of in the kitchen, making it easy to entertain flawlessly.
The best part is you don’t have to break the bank to host a fabulous holiday gathering. By switching from national name brands to a grocer like ALDI, party essentials and seasonal must-haves, such as holiday gifts and baking necessities, can be as much as 50 percent less. Manufactured by many of the nation’s leading food producers, these exclusive brand items often meet or exceed the quality and taste of the national name brands.
Try these hors d’oeuvre serving tips from food stylist and loyal ALDI shopper Janice Stahl:
- Rethink the regular: Surprise guests and get creative with classic recipes by changing the presentation. Square pizza bites, circular tea sandwiches or star-shaped fruit make entertaining fun.
- Keep hors d’oeuvres simple: Serve foods that are bite-sized and easy to pick up. Try skewers to create festive kabobs, which are perfect for nibbling.
- Presentation is everything: Experiment with serving pieces like vases, champagne glasses or appetizer cups that add special interest to bite-sized snacks from chips and dip to shrimp cocktail.
With these simple tips and recipes, you’ll be ready to throw a festive holiday hors d’oeuvres party that’s easy and affordable. Visit www.aldi.us for more entertaining ideas.
Cranberry Shrimp Ceviche Cups
$0.58 per serving at ALDI
Recipe courtesy of Chef Alyssa, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill
Cook time: 3 minutes
Yields: 16 ceviche cups
- 1 1/2 teaspoons iodized salt, divided
- 16 ounces medium raw shrimp, thawed
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley
- 1/2 jalapeno, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 16 ounces tortilla chips
- 2 limes cut into wedges
- Fresh cranberries, optional
- Bring medium pot of water to a boil. Season with 1 teaspoon salt.
- Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Immediately plunge cooked shrimp into ice water bath. Peel shrimp and place in flat dish.
- In food processor, combine cranberries, red onion, parsley and jalapeno. Pulse until finely chopped.
- Add cranberry mixture to shrimp.
- Add lemon juice, lime juice, remaining salt, crushed red pepper and oregano. Stir to combine ingredients thoroughly.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- To assemble, spoon ceviche, about 4 to 5 shrimp each, into small clear cups or glasses. Garnish with tortilla chips and lime wedges.
Pistachio Lemon Truffles
$0.43 per serving at ALDI
Recipe courtesy of Chef Michelle, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill
Cook time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill
Yields: 24 truffles
- 1 1/4 cups pistachios, shelled
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 4 ounces plain goat cheese
- 3/4 cup dried mixed berries, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon iodized salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 4 teaspoons finely chopped lemon zest
- Pinch ground black pepper
- Roughly chop pistachios, place in bowl.
- With electric mixer, cream together remaining ingredients. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Scoop tablespoon size balls of cheese mixture and roll in pistachios to coat.
- To serve, sprinkle platter with remaining pistachios and place truffles on top. Serve with crackers.
A signature drink is a must at any holiday soiree. Get creative by offering guests a specialty cocktail that matches the color scheme for the event. An avid party hostess, food stylist Janice Stahl makes the occasion special by pairing white wine with a splash of cranberry-pomegranate juice, garnished with fresh fruit or herbs. Giving your signature drink an original name to reflect your personality is an added touch your guests will love. For a lasting impression, hand out recipe cards of your signature drink as party favors.
$0.58 per serving at ALDI
Recipe courtesy of ALDI Food Stylist, Janice Stahl
- Sugar for glass rim
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup cranberry- pomegranate juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh cranberries
- Fresh fruit for garnish
- Dip rim of glass in sugar.
- Pour wine and juice into glass, stirring to combine.
- Drop in cranberries, along with any additional fruit desired. Serve immediately.