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Chocolate Praline Truffles Recipe

For the praline powder:

Vegetable oil to coat the baking sheet

1/2 C. chopped, blanched and slivered almonds

1/2 C. sugar

For the truffles:

8 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or morsels

1/2 C. whipping cream

4 T. unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

1 T. plus 1 t. powdered instant coffee

Prepare the praline powder: Up to one week ahead, wipe a baking sheet generously with the oil; set aside. Combine the almonds and sugar in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves, about 1 to 2 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring, until the sugar turns a rich golden brown and the almonds take on a golden color, just a few minutes more.

Carefully pour the hot mixture onto the baking sheet, spreading it evenly with a metal spatula or knife. Let cool completely.

Break sugar-almond sheet into chunks. Place in a food processor and pulse the chunks (quickly turning the machine on and off) to a coarse powder. (Or, chop coarsely with a large sharp knife and pulverize with a mortar and pestle. Do not use a blender, because the hard caramel pieces can break it.) Transfer powder to an airtight container and refrigerate.

Make the truffles: Place the chocolate, cream, butter and coffee powder in the top of a double boiler or in a heat-safe bowl set over a saucepan of (but not touching) simmering water. Whisk until the chocolate and butter melt into a smooth mixture, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour into a shallow bowl or pie pan and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

When ready to shape the truffles, spread the praline powder on a dinner plate and have another plate ready. With a spoon, scoop out tablespoon-size pieces of chocolate and roll into balls. Roll the truffle balls in the praline powder, coating all sides. Set the truffles on the extra plate. Repeat until all the chocolate is used. Cover the plate with plastic wrap and refrigerate until balls are firm.

Transfer firm truffles to an airtight container. They will keep well for 5 days in the refrigerator.

Makes about 24 candies.

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