These assorted holiday truffles are SO easy, there’s no reason not to skip the line at the mall and make your own holiday treats!
This year, I may have gone a little overboard with all of the Christmas decorations—which I know would make my grandmother so pleased. It’s true what people say about celebrating the holidays after the loss of a loved one who the holidays centered around. In my case, Christmas was my grandmother’s jam. From the front door to the back door, and even the ficus trees, the whole house was decorated from top to bottom in festive greenery and her signature Christmas color: purple. While I don’t have much in the way of purple up (this year), I know she’s loving all the extras I’ve thrown into my decor this year.
Growing up in a proud German family, I quickly realized that our families holiday traditions were a little different from my friends, starting with the sudden appearance of a creepy German advent calendar on December 1st which was filled with marzipan candies that nobody except my grandmother (and great grandmother) ate. As I got older, the marzipan was replaced by chocolate champagne candies and eventually cherry brandy cordials, which only my grandmother enjoyed. Like I said, Christmas was her thing.
One of my absolute favorite traditions that I plan to continue someday with my own children is the celebration of St. Nicholas Day, which takes place on the evening December 5th. While I’ve mentioned St. Nicholas Day before on social media, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it here. While it’s not a big celebration by any means, it was the last opportunity for my parents to farm me out to my grandmother so they could finish up their Christmas shopping without me getting into the way. On the evening of December 5th, I would spend the night at my grand parents house, and we’d all leave our shoes out in the foyer (this was changed after a raccoon or some other creature stole my shoe overnight), and when we’d awake in the morning, there were tiny chocolate truffles wrapped and left in our shoes. The story goes that if you wake up to an empty shoe, Krampus has come by to punish you for less than great behavior and stole the treats out of your shoes.
While St. Nicholas Day didn’t come with the same excitement as say, Christmas morning, it’s a small gesture that can bring a smile to someone’s face.
The assorted holiday truffle recipe I am sharing with you today was something I thought would be perfect as a St. Nicholas treat. They don’t take a lot of effort or ingredients, and can be easily made non-alcoholic to give to children… unless you need help putting the kids to bed so you can get some gift wrapping done. :)
While I am only sharing three flavor options (dark chocolate peppermint mocha, semi-sweet cherry brandy, and milk chocolate with salted caramel), you can let your imaginations run wild. White chocolate and eggnog is also delicious (my husband ate them all before I could photograph them). In place of the use of alcohol, you can use high quality extracts instead. I cannot recomment this peppermint extract enough, and this Nielsen Massey Pure Orange Extract is a great subtitution for Grand Marnier.
It’s also important to use high quality chocolate to make these truffles. Since there’s not a lot of other ingredients to disguise poor-quality choclate, I recommend using Valrhona Dark Chocolate and Valrhona Jivara Milk Chocolate.
Even if you don’t plan to stick these truffles into a pair of shoes, they’ll make a wonderful addition to a holiday cookie tin, or out on display at your holiday open house.
What are some of your favorite memories from the holidays as a kid? Does your family participate in any “unusual” or “uncommon” traditions? I’d love to hear about them!
Christmas Chocolate Truffles
- 8 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons flavored liqueur, such as Peppermint Mocha Kahlua, Cherry Brandy, Rum, Cognac, Grand Marnier, Chambord
- 1 1/2 teaspoons high quality vanilla extract
- Crushed peppermint candies, unsweetened cocoa powder, assorted decorative sprinkers or sanding sugars
How to cook Christmas Chocolate Truffles
- In the top of a double boiler over medium heat, combine the chocolate, heavy cream and liqueur. Make sure the boiling water cannot touch the bottom of the double boiler. Stir the chocolate until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or until the mixture has partially set.
- With a teaspoon and gloves, roll the chocolate into 1/2 balls. Depending upon the liqueur used, roll each truffle through the coating (peppermint candies, cocoa powder, etc).
- Store truffles in an airtight container for up to 1 week, and remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to serving.