June is National Candy Month, and according to the National Confectioners’ Association, that’s a pretty sweet deal.
Although the association claims candy accounts for only 2 percent of the calories in the American diet, snackers are no less obsessed with these sweet, chewy, hard, spicy and sour treats. We each eat an average of 22 pounds of candy every year split almost equally between hard candies and chocolate products. And with a total of 2.8 billion pounds, Americans consume the most chocolate candies of any other nation.
Beautiful, delicious and notoriously difficult to make, truffles are time-consuming, messy and temperamental little balls of joy that are best saved for special occasions. That is, unless you take shortcut.
Starting with an easy-to-create base, truffles can be made at home in almost any flavor. With the addition of flavor extracts or fruit juices, this candy base makes no-fail truffles ready to impress any crowd, every time.
NWA Media reporters were to supply random flavor ideas for this project, creating an array of truffle recipes for every taste and personality.
Truffle Base Recipe
12 ounce package chips: chocolate, white chocolate or chocolate-peanut butter
16 ounce jar of frosting
8 ounce package room temperature cream cheese OR 1 cup crushed cookies OR 1 cup nut butter
Flavorings and coatings (see recipes below)
In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt chips in the microwave. To keep from burning, melt chips in 20 second intervals, stirring after each 20 seconds.
After chips are melted, add icing and mix well. The mixture will be soupy. Add cream cheese or cookies and mix.
Add flavorings per recipe below and place truffle mixture in the refrigerator to set.
To form truffles: Using a spoon or melon-baller, spoon out about 1 tablespoon of mixture. Form mixture into balls and roll in coating. Bring to room temperature to serve.
Orange Creme Truffles
Base Truffle Recipe: chocolate chips, orange flavored icing and cream cheese
1 teaspoon extract of orange
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Prepare truffle mixture above, adding extract of orange and lemon juice to the base. Allow to set in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Form into balls and roll in powdered sugar.
Notes: These are fabulous. They taste just like the fancy orange-shaped chocolate stocking-stuffers. These truffles would benefit from a hard chocolate coating, though my attempts at creating that masterpiece failed in an epic, melty mess. My apologies to my sweetheart, Đông, if he happens to find dark chocolate splatter throughout his kitchen. Oops!
Staff member inspiration: Laurinda Joenks
Maple Bacon Truffles
Base Truffle Recipe: white chocolate chips, vanilla flavored icing and vanilla cookies
1 teaspoon maple extract
1/2 pound cooked bacon
1/2 cup brown sugar
Prepare truffle mixture above, adding maple extract to the base. This base will be particularly soupy, so allow a full hour to set up before forming.
While setting, make candied bacon.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a rack on top. Set aside.
Scoop brown sugar into a baking dish long enough to accommodate the bacon. Pat strips of bacon dry with paper towels, then dredge bacon in brown sugar. Transfer sugary bacon strips onto rack. Place bacon into the cold oven. Turn the heat to 350 degrees.
Flip bacon strips after 15 minutes. Check the bacon every few minutes to prevent burning. Remove once bacon appears glossy.
Allow to cool and crumble into small bacon bits.
Form set truffle mixture into balls and roll in bacon bits. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. (Hint: They won’t last that long!)
Notes: These were the favorite truffle in the Springdale newsroom. Easily the most extraordinary flavor in all of truffledom, the maple and bacon pair well with a flavor similar to a Sunday morning breakfast. The newsroom has adamantly requested more of these.
Staff member inspiration: Tracy Rogers
Sparkling Lemon Truffles
Base Truffle Recipe: White chocolate chips, lemon flavored icing, lemon cookies
Yellow food coloring
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Yellow sugar sprinkles
Prepare truffle base, adding lemon juice after heating. If desired, add a few drops of yellow food coloring to the mixture and allow to set in the refrigerator.
Using a spoon, form into truffles and roll in sugar sprinkles. These will keep well in the refrigerator.
Notes: These were the cutest and sparkliest truffles of the whole bunch. With the addition of lemon zest or powdered lemon, these sweet truffles could become more tart, adding a shock of flavor to the typically sweet candy.
Staff member inspiration: Erin Spandorf
Chocolate Nutella Peanut Butter Truffles
Truffle Base Recipe: Chocolate peanut butter chips, chocolate frosting, Nutella
Chocolate milk powder (like Nesquik)
Prepare base recipe by melting chips and adding frosting. After fully mixed, add Nutella. This keeps the spread from melting too much.
Allow to set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Depending on the temperature of the fridge, the mixture may set up quicker than expected. If so, allow to sit at room temperature until more pliable. Do not reheat.
Using a melon-baller, form small truffles and roll in powder. Keep in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature when ready to serve.
Notes: These are pretty sweet and chocolatey truffles certain to please just about every palate. They are not as firm as the other truffles, which makes them feel more like a fudge. Though these are rolled in chocolate milk powder, it could be fun to roll them in crushed almonds or peanuts.
Staff member inspiration: Ashley Batchelor
Banana Covered Raspberry Truffles
Base Truffle Recipe: White chocolate chips, cream cheese, vanilla cookies
1 teaspoon banana extract
25-30 frozen raspberries
1 cup walnuts
Prepare truffle base. After heating, add banana extract and allow to set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Using a spoon, form a small ball over each frozen raspberry and immediately roll each in walnuts. Place in single layer in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
Notes: These are different and fun. They are not truly as sweet as some of the other truffles. The ones I made honored our Features editor’s new healthy lifestyle, made with sugar-free cookies and fat-free cream cheese. The result was a cushiony, pudding-like truffle.
Staff Member inspiration: Becca Martin-Brown
Truffle Base Recipe: Dark chocolate chips, chocolate fudge icing, omit third ingredient
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon Cayenne pepper, with more for dusting
Prepare base, adding Sriracha and cayenne pepper after heating. Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Do not allow to cool any longer or base will set up too hard to mold.
Using a metal spoon, form truffles. Dust each truffle lightly with pepper.
These truffles will keep for up to a week at room temperature in an air-tight container.
Notes: This one is my own creation. Unfortunately, the warning I placed on them was not large enough to dissuade several of my unsuspecting coworkers. I’m no longer the most trusted baker in the newsroom.
Link to the article can be found here.