Chocolate Heart Truffles

Oh my goodness, I had NO earthly idea how easy it is to make truffles! If I had known this YEARS ago I would have made these for every Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Birthday, Baby Shower, etc.!

After assessing quite a few recipes – with what seemed to me like way too many unnecessary ingredients – I opted for one of simplicity, the most basic of basic recipes. OK, so here we go! Put on your apron and give it a whirl!

The recipe I used is Basic Truffles from allrecipes.com. It calls for only three (YES, 3!) ingredients and the directions are just as simple. I purchased these FANTASTIC silicone heart-shaped ice trays and silicone cupcake molds from Target for $2.50/pack. They work WONDERS! My next run will have raspberry fillings in the hearts and a peanut butter layer in the middle of those cups. YUM!

I’d also like to share this Candy Making Tips Article from All Recipes. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 6oz. Guittard dark and 6oz. semi-sweet chips)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used Madagascar vanilla. I’m not certain if the country of origin matters!)

DIRECTIONS:
I omitted steps 4 and 5 since I was using the silicone molds. Once the chocolate melted into a creamy mixture, I simply spooned them into these ice trays and cupcake molds and popped them all in the fridge. I went about cleaning up the mess I made and by the time I was finished, these babies were ready to go into their pretty little containers!

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine chocolate and cream.
  2. Cook, stirring, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and whisk in flavoring.
  4. Pour into a small dish and refrigerate until set, but not hard, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  5. Use to fill candies or form balls and roll in toppings.

Cinnamon Rolls – Finale

Ladies and Germs ;), it gives me great pleasure to announce that I have FINALLY perfected a cinnamon roll to my liking. I have omitted, replaced, added, and everything in between, to achieve what I think is the ultimate “Lulu Cinnamon Rolls.” It took a total of four tries, but here they are….

They are perfect little bite-sized rolls. Not too sweet, not too fluffy, not too healthy, not too evil, perfectly sweet with strong cinnamon flavor and dressed up with a citrus zest glaze (this was only because I ran out of cream cheese). I’m keeping this filed in my recipe archive! 🙂

Using the Cinnamon Rolls III recipe I found on allrecipes.com…

INGREDIENTS:
Dough:

  • 1/4 cup warm water filtered water
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix OMITTED
  • 1 cup warm milk buttermilk
  • organic egg, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon white organic evaporated cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea  salt
  • 4 cups bread flour 2 cups King Arthur 100% organic unbleached/unbromatd bread flour -and- 2 cups 100% organic pancake-waffle flour mix from Sprouts
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

Filling: 

  • 1/4 cup organic butter, softened 
  • 1 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 5-6 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (I did not have handy) OMITTED. I used 1 heaping cup organic raisins

Frosting: 

  • 1/2 (8 ounce) package organic cream cheese, softened 
  • 1/4 cup organic butter, softened 
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons milk buttermilk
  • ADDED: 2 tbs citrus (Minneola tangelo, tangerine, orange mix) zest 

DIRECTIONS:
Follow these directions as is, but keep in mind of all my edits above. Happy Baking!

  1. In the pan of your bread machine, combine water, melted butter, vanilla pudding, warm milk, egg, 1 tablespoon sugar, salt, bread flour and yeast. Set machine to Dough cycle; press Start.
  2. When Dough cycle has finished, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 17″ x 10″ rectangle. Spread with softened butter. In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over dough.
  3. Roll up dough, beginning with long side. Slice into 16 (I wanted to make mini rolls, so divided my dough into 25) one inch slices and place in 9″ x 13″ buttered pan. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° F (175° C).
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. While rolls bake, stir together cream cheese, softened butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and milk. Remove rolls from oven and top with frosting.

Cinnamon Rolls – Part 2

After the disaster with altering Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls recipe, I decided to tackle another recipe. I am now officially obsessed with getting “it,” the cinnamon roll, RIGHT! Though I was tempted to replace all the “bad” ingredients with healthier ones, I refrained with much success; I simply improvised with what I had. The end results were fluffy, light, and delicious cinnamon rolls with a tasty cream cheese frosting! Although…I have issues with the package of instant vanilla pudding mix. Is this really necessary?? I will find out next time…

Using the Cinnamon Rolls III recipe I found on allrecipes.com…

INGREDIENTS:
Dough:

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups bread flour (I  used King Arthur 100% organic unbleached/unbromated bread flour)
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

Filling: 

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (I did not have handy)

Frosting: 

  • 1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons milk (I used buttermilk)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In the pan of your bread machine, combine water, melted butter, vanilla pudding, warm milk, egg, 1 tablespoon sugar, salt, bread flour and yeast. Set machine to Dough cycle; press Start.
  2. When Dough cycle has finished, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 17″ x 10″ rectangle. Spread with softened butter. In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over dough.
  3. Roll up dough, beginning with long side. Slice into 16 one inch slices and place in 9″ x 13″ buttered pan. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° F (175° C).
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. While rolls bake, stir together cream cheese, softened butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and milk. Remove rolls from oven and top with frosting.

Cinnamon Rolls – Part I

One of my all-time favorite sweet breads is cinnamon rolls! Unfortunately I have not found too many bakeries that can pull off a great, fully-baked, moist bun with just the right touch of sweetness, cinnamon, and frosting. Sometimes they’re just too sweet. Sometimes it’s like eating dough (yuck!). Often I am just disappointed, not to mention flabbergasted at how pricey they can be! All this lead me to the great idea that I’d make my own…

AHEM, little did I know the amount of “love” (read: labor) involved in creating these high-calorie treats! Reading over Alton’s recipe, it didn’t seem all that difficult or complicated. However, my end result was such a disaster that I didn’t even want to post the picture! Well…they looked pretty, but they were extremely dense – the dough never rose as it should have, though I left it to rise for about 3 hours. I also baked them over the time instructed but just could not get them to not be doughy on the inside. *SIGH*

Oh Alton Brown, it’s not you, it’s me. It’s me because I keep trying to “health up” your recipes. For some unapparent reason to me, it’s just YOUR recipes that I try to alter.:)
INGREDIENTS:
Dough:
  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 large whole egg, room temperature
  • 2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
  • 6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
  • 20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting (I had the great idea of using an organic mix of unbleached/unbromated white-multigrain flour)
  • 1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

Filling: 

  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray 8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4-ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons

Icing: 

  • 2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened, approximately 1/4 cup
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups

Almost Walkers Shortbread

The absolute BEST shortbread in the whole world, in my opinion, are made by Walkers. They can be purchased here in the US, but they are imported from Scotland, land of Highlander, bagpipes, and pleated tartan (FYI: this is the true name for what we North Americans call “plaid”) kilts. They have a fantastic ratio of butter and sugar: super buttery but easy on the sugar, which is perfect for tea time. Unfortunately, if you consume your body weight in these shortbread cookies, it gets costly! That is where my journey in search of a comparable recipe begins. (Note: The cookies in the picture are mine. I was being eco-friendly by reusing the awesome tin.)

Googling “walkers shortbread cookie recipe,” I stumbled upon quite a few recipes that claim the same worthiness of space in my belly. I read the reviews on most of them but only one really stood out. It is the Scottish Shortbread II recipe from allrecipes.com. Many of the reviewers had stated they thought the cookies from this recipe taste just like or even better than the real deal! THIS I had see!

INGREDIENTS:
*Makes 24 cookies (I ended up with 16 fat, oblong cookies)

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour organic unbleached flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar organic evaporated cane sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter organic butter sticks from Whole Foods

DIRECTIONS:
Before you begin, I should let you know that this recipe never states how long to bake them (I baked for 18 minutes at 350°F). Also, I added 1/2 cup cranberries to my dough and I did not use the 9 x 9 dish. Instead, I shaped the cookie bricks myself and just baked them on a cookie sheet. They expanded ever so slightly, so next time I will freeze them for several minutes prior to baking.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Blend all ingredients well. Dough will be stiff.
  3. Press into a 9 x 9 inch buttered dish.
  4. Prick top with fork.
  5. Bake until pale golden brown on edges.
  6. Cool and cut into squares.

Cappuccino Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies

luluesque-cappucino chocolate chip cookiesIf you’re a fan of coffee and chocolate, and you also happen to be a cookie monster, this is the perfect recipe for you! The recipe is from a bargain baking book (yet another one) that I found at Barnes and Noble. It calls for 3 cups of chocolate chips and each bite is dense with clusters of chocolate chips. I was a little generous with the chips, using heaping cupfuls that probably equated to 4 cups of chips in the end. I also increased the coffee from 2 teaspoons to 3. Next time I may increase it to 4 as the coffee flavor was very subtle.

INGREDIENTS:
Yield: ~3 1/2 dozen cookies.

  • 2 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (I used organic, unbleached flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or ground cloves (I used nutmeg)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used organic evaporated canes sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups double chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips (I used a mixture of dark and semisweet)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Dissolve coffee in boiling water.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in medium bowl.
  4. Beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs, coffee, and vanilla; beat until well blended.
  6. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed until well blended.
  7. Stir in chocolate chips. *
  8. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  9. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set.
  10. Cool on cookie sheets 1 minute; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Jalapeño Chocolate Cake

luluesque-jalapeno chocolate cakeThis is a very fun recipe I found on the internet when I was in a “spicy foods” mood. I never thought of combining chocolate AND spice in a dessert! It was my first time making such a cake, though next time I will be altering this recipe a bit as this tasted more like chocolate cake with green specs. It is possible the jalapeños I purchased were not in season (the hotter the temperature, the hotter the peppers), so next time I may either use serranos or process the whole jalapeño, seeds and all! Also I discovered the frosting got really runny once it was left at room temperature for a while. Next time I’ll be using buttermilk in lieu of milk.

Ingredients (cake):

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels ~ melted, cooled
  • 1 1/4 cups organic evaporated cane sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) organic butter ~ softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup organic whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons jalapeños ~ seeded, diced (about 1 large or 2 medium peppers)

*Preheat oven to 350º F. *Beat granulated sugar, butter and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. *Add eggs; beat for 1 minute. *Beat in melted morsels. *Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in medium bowl; beat into chocolate mixture alternately with milk. *Stir in jalapeños. *Pour into two well-greased 9-inch-round baking pans or one 13 x 9-inch baking pan. *Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. *Cool in pan(s) for 20 minutes; invert onto wire rack(s) to cool completely.

Frosting:

  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar (add more to thicken the frosting)
  • 1/3 cup organic whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter ~ softened
  • 2 ounces cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sliced, toasted almonds (optional)

*Beat powdered sugar, milk, butter, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and salt in small mixer bowl until mixture is smooth and creamy. *Frost cake. *Decorate sides with nuts.