FoodGirl and the kitchen

The Perfect Holiday Party Treat – Hazelnut Truffles

Every year around this time I sit at my laptop and ponder, what I am going to bring to my holiday parties to blow everyone away. Usually I come up with some complicated, over the moon recipe that I spend days perfecting. Only to have it served to some rather inebriated guests who, at this point, would consider an Oreo a delicacy. So this time I somehow stumbled upon my recipe of choice completely on accident. A few years ago I brought over to a New Year’s Eve party some homemade truffles along with 2 cakes, some moon pies and a few cupcakes. Needless to say, those truffles were never eaten and therefore wasted. So this year I decided to recreate those delicious truffles, adding one simple ingredient: hazelnut butter.

Hazelnut butter is my version of homemade nutella. Except, if you can imagine, it tastes even better than nutella. This creation actually was born out of laziness and necessity. I had just come back from the store in the middle of a very snowy day, when I realized I had no more nutella left. It was simply impossibly for me to run out to the store, because my exhausted 1-year-old had already been 30 minutes into her well-deserved nap. So I managed to find some hazelnuts in my pantry and decided to give this whole nut butter thing a shot. The hazelnut butter is a simple blend of roasted hazelnuts, some sugar, half and half and Dutch cocoa powder. It is then whizzed away in my trusty Vitamix and a few spins of the sharp blade later, I had creamy and velvety hazelnut butter. One taste – and (I knew!) my laziness was actually a blessing in disguise. The roasted hazelnuts gave a much deeper and richer flavor to the butter, when half and half added the silkiness to it. I was in total hazelnut heaven!

The best part about this recipe is its true simplicity. The hazelnut butter is combined with melted bittersweet chocolate and cream cheese. A few tosses in some toppings and the end – truffles are done. And you can bet that these truffles will not be left sitting alone at some sad buffet table.

Hazelnut Butter

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of roasted hazelnuts

2 tbsp Dutch powder cocoa

3 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup half and half

DIRECTIONS:

1. Roast the hazelnuts at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until fragrant.

2. In order to remove the skin, shake the hazelnuts in between two bowls, until most of the skin has come off. Remove the nuts and rub off the remaining skin gently with your fingers.

3. Place all ingredients into a food processor or Vitamix and blend until a smooth consistency. If the consistency seems too grainy, add a bit more half and half.

truffles 2Truffles

INGREDIENTS:

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate

8 oz. cream cheese

1 cup hazelnut butter

DIRECTIONS:

1. Melt chocolate in the microwave or double broiler. If using the microwave, melt the chocolate in 30-second increments, ensuring to mix the chocolate every 30 seconds to prevent it from burning.

2. In the meantime, whip cream cheese on high in a mixer, so it is nice and fluffy.

3. Add melted chocolate and hazelnut butter to cream cheese and mix until well combined.

4. Spread onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for two hours.

5. Using a spoon or small ice cream scoop, gather the chocolate mix and roll in your hands to create a small ball.

6. Dip in crushed nuts, cocoa powder, melted chocolate or sprinkles.

7. Place into freezer and remove an hour before service.

For a step by step tutorial and more pictures go to www.girlandthekitchen.com.

Mila Furman

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