Saturday, February 13, 2016

Scotch-Peanut Chocolate Truffles for Valentine's Day!

My father is a Scotch connoisseur.  Lucky for him, Robert occasionally makes a trip to Scotland, and when he can, brings back a drop or two of that country's finest drink.  Dad's favorite distiller at the moment is Deanston, which makes (according to Dad) some wonderful single malt Scotches. When I saw this recipe for Scotch Peanut Chocolate Truffles by Florence Fabricant on the NY Times Cooking website and noted that they used a bit of honey, too, I knew I had to give them a try. We're not as taken with Scotch as Dad is, so I had to borrow a few tablespoons from him to make these chocolates. (Don't worry, Robert! I didn't use the good stuff!)  If you don't have Scotch, a liqueur or other distilled drink would probably work--Grand Marnier or amaretto or Chambord? Bourbon?  You might also swap out the peanuts for another kind of nut like almonds or cashews.  A slight and lovely hint of the Scotch does come through and marries well with the peanuts in the chocolate. I used milk chocolate to coat the truffles instead of the bittersweet chocolate called for in the recipe. This made what seems like a ton of truffles--about 48--that I'll be sharing with Dad and Mom. Next time I make them,  I'll likely cut the recipe in half, though.  If you have some grown up valentines, these unique truffles would be a lovely, homemade gift!

Scotch Peanut Chocolate Truffles
8 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons honey
3 tablespoons Scotch
6 tablespoons salted peanuts, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lb 4 ounces good quality milk chocolate, chopped into small pieces

Place the bittersweet chocolate into a heat-proof bowl.  Heat the heavy cream to a simmer and pour over the chocolate, stirring to melt.  If you need to, briefly place the bowl over a post of simmering water to melt all of the chocolate.  Stir in the honey, Scotch, nuts and vanilla.  Chill until firm.

Using a scant teaspoon, roll the chocolate into small balls about an inch in diameter.  Place them on a lined cookie sheet and then freeze for about 30 minutes, or until nice and firm.

Melt 16 ounces of the  milk chocolate (either in a pan over very low heat or in the microwave for a minute or so--being careful not to burn it).   Add the remaining 4 ounces of milk chocolate and stir to melt.  Dip the truffles into the chocolate to cover completely and place on a lined sheet. (The directions in the original recipe called for spearing the truffles with a fork and dipping them into the chocolate to coat.  That didn't seem to work for me. I plopped a few a time in the bowl, tossed them around, and then used a fork to scoop them out.)  In about 15 minutes, they'll be ready to eat.  Store in the refrigerator.

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