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Elegant holiday truffles a breeze to whip up



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Raisins add richness to homemade chocolate truffles for holiday desserts and hostess gifts.
December 01, 2004 - Homemade chocolate truffles, a blissful pleasure, are surprisingly easy to make at home. For busy holiday cooks, chocolate truffles are a good choice because they are made ahead, freeing the cook from last-minute dessert frazzles.

Luxurious and festive for parties, chocolate truffles have their origins in France, a country known for its culinary feats. This recipe begins with the decadence of chocolate and deepens the flavor with a surprise addition of raisins. In fact, raisin is a French word, meaning a cluster of grapes, according to Sun-Maid, a leading raisin purveyor. The raisins add contrast and enhance the chocolate experience when added to truffles.

Don't let the lofty origins of truffles put you off. For everyday cooks, chocolate truffles are fairly straightforward. Even the kids can help in the kitchen by rolling the finished truffles in cocoa.

Noel Truffles with Raisins are a charming gift to take along to holiday celebrations, too. This recipe makes enough for a hostess gift with more to grace a seasonal buffet table at home. To dress them up for giving, place each truffle in a gold foil candy cup and package in an ornate gift box or tin.

Noel Truffles with Raisins

cup Sun-Maid Raisins

2 Tbls. orange juice (or orange-flavored liqueur)

cup whipping cream

1 Tbls. butter

1 egg yolk

1 cups (8 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

tsp. vanilla

Unsweetened cocoa powder

Combine raisins and juice (or liqueur) in blender container or food processor. Pulse until raisins are coarsely chopped; set aside.

Heat cream, butter and egg yolk in a 2 quart saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until mixture just starts to simmer. Continue to stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Add chocolate. Let stand 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is completely smooth. Stir in raisins and liquid. Transfer mixture to a bowl and chill until firm, 2-3 hours.

Scoop tablespoons and roll with hand into small balls about 1 inch in diameter. Roll in cocoa powder, or sift cocoa generously over truffles.

Place in foil or paper candy cups and refrigerate until serving. Serve chilled. Makes about 30 truffles.

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