For my Valentines... love Jacqueline
Shy confessions, Bloggereaders,
- I can be accidentally romantic.
- I haven’t been single on Valentines day in over 10 years (Big Sis said, “cry me a river”).
- I am reluctantly thankful for cake pops.
Valentines Day is not a huge marker in my book. For the majority of those 10+ years Ruark and I went in and out with celebrating depending, honestly, if we felt like it or not. We had started dating when we were so young, and found plenty of moments to show each other how we felt. And in general I’m not a big fan of commercially-fueled tokens. Two years ago the man I was with was away for work and had his friend stop by with a huge bouquet at the theatre I was working at. Last year new boyfriend and I had no plans until mid-morning, when he called where I was out of town working and sweetly said, “I’m thinking it’s Valentines Day and you’re my Valentine, so we should be together tonight”. I trained it back to NYC.
So this year, being single, I’ve been more contemplative about the love in my life in general. Not at all mournful, just reflective. I have so much love, so many people I’m surrounded by who have full, generous hearts, that I feel more in love than ever.
Oh, the 3rd point up there? A few months ago I had to develop a gluten-free recipe for Valentine Cake Pops for Easy Eats. Two weeks ago I made 75 chocolate chip and lemon zest cake pops in the shape of Winnie the Pooh honey pots for a baby shower. They were cute, but not as adorable as I’d wanted them to be for the mom-to-be. And they took me eight hours! Lastly, for the first Milk Bar Mondays swap last week I made Carrot Cake Truffles, which are essentially cake balls (and one of my favorite super-sweet recipes).
In the beginning of this road with cake pops, I was often cursing, whining, or whinging. But the result of all the frustration?
Moments of joy this morning as I deftly baked, blended, dipped, flipped and formed these truffles. I had some cake I’d been experimenting with (a new flour blend), some leftover liquid cheesecake, some bags of chocolate and lots of fun things to toss truffles in. I found myself smiling in the silence of my kitchen, thinking about those I’d be wrapping and gifting these for. They look so cute all ribboned up. And, they were actually pretty easy. I enjoyed making them.
While made of cake, these truffles taste a bit more ganache-y because of how dark, rich and buttery they are. I tossed them in ground walnuts, dark cocoa powder, raw cacao nibs, and some candy hearts I had leftover from the Easy Eats recipe. It was a very romantic morning in my kitchen. I was in love with the natural light pouring through my windows and my ancient camera that was snapping away.
I hope you have a lovely Valentines Day, Bloggerreaders. But more than that, I wish you much peace, love and sweet, sweet life… always.
Freshly rolled truffles
Double Dark Chocolate Truffles
Makes about 30 truffles
For the cake:
- 12 Tbsp unsalted butter or butter-flavored Earth Balance
- 10 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2/3 cup gluten-free flour (my blend was 1/3 cup brown rice and 1/3 cup tapioca starch plus 1/2 tsp xanthan gum)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup ground raw walnuts (optional)
For the Truffles:
- About 4-6 Tbsp liquid cheesecake or prepared frosting of choice
- 6oz dark chocolate (I used 70%)
- Ground nuts, candies, cocoa powder, crushed cookies or cacao nibs for coating
- Preheat the oven to 350°
- Grease an 8×8″ cake pan (I prefer glass)
- In a small pot on medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in cocoa until smooth. Turn off heat and allow to cool slightly while you continue.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat eggs on high until creamy, about 45 seconds. Add the sugars and beat until thoroughly incorporated with no traces of sugar, 2-3 minutes.
- With the mixer on low, slowly stream in butter/chocolate mixture. Beat until incorporated.
- Slowly add flour and salt. Mix on low until incorporated. Stir in walnuts.
- Pour into pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out relatively clean.
- Immediately turn out onto a baking sheet and break up into pieces. Allow to cool completely.
- When cool, return to standing mixer with the paddle attachment. Paddle on medium/low until completely broken up. Add liquid cheesecake or frosting 1 Tbsp at a time, until the cake comes together and you can easily roll a piece into a firm ball without it falling apart.
- Roll batter in quarter-sized balls, placing on cookie sheets lined with wax paper. My batch made 30.
- Place all toppings in bowls (shallower and wider the better). Melt chocolate in the microwave, first for 1 minute, then stirring to melt completely, then for another 30 seconds if the chocolate isn’t smooth enough (it should be fluid but only warm to the touch).
- Quickly use your fingers to lightly coat each ball in chocolate, then toss into topping bowls, up to three in each bowl. Shake / lightly toss the truffles to coat completely, then return to wax paper-lined trays. Repeat with remaining truffles until done.
- Refrigerate at least 10 minutes before packaging.
- Share with those you love. Or freeze them and slowly eat them by yourself, one by one…
I heart you Bloggerreaders