Deck your kitchen table this holiday season with these tasty herbal cookie recipes that your family and friends will love.
Chocolate-Peppermint Truffles become tasty "snowballs" when placed in banks of powdered sugar in our holiday scene.
Makes 25 to 30 truffles, 3/4 ounce each
For a frosty touch to our winter tablescape, we tumbled these peppermint-infused truffles into a drift of powdered sugar beneath a forest of stacked cookie trees.
• 14 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate chips or finely chopped block chocolate
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 cup loosely packed fresh peppermint or spearmint leaves, coarsely chopped
• 2 pounds premium white or semisweet chocolate, tempered
• About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar or tinted sanding sugar, optional
Place chocolate chips or chopped chocolate in a large bowl and set aside.
Combine cream and coarsely chopped mint leaves in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring mixture to scalding point, turn off heat and steep mint in warm cream about 30 minutes. Strain cream into another nonreactive saucepan to remove mint leaves. Squeeze leaves over pan to recover any retained cream; discard leaves.
Gently reheat cream to scalding point. Strain hot cream through a fine-meshed sieve directly onto chocolate chips or chopped chocolate. Let mixture sit 1 to 2 minutes before stirring to allow cream to melt chocolate; gently whisk until chocolate and cream have come together and the filling is perfectly smooth. If chocolate does not melt completely, place bowl over barely simmering water, stirring as needed to achieve desired consistency. Pour filling into a small bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight, until mixture is very firm.
To finish: Using a 11⁄4-inch melon baller, scoop truffle mixture into small (1⁄2-ounce) spheres. Roll spheres between palms to smooth out any lumps or divots. Place a single sphere on a fork and submerge in tempered white or semisweet chocolate. Shake off excess and set truffle on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining spheres. As soon as cookie sheet is filled, set it in refrigerator to allow dipping chocolate to solidify completely. Transfer truffles to an airtight container and store in refrigerator until ready to eat.
Just before serving, remove truffles from refrigerator, trim off any chocolate “feet” with scissors and roll truffles in confectioners’ or sanding sugar, as desired.
Julia M. Usher is a food writer, recipe developer and food stylist in St. Louis. Contact her by visiting www.HerbCompanion.com/contributors.aspx
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