With a week of lazy mornings and kid-filled days ahead, it's a good idea to have some activities planned. So why not make candy. I guarantee your kids won't complain about it, as long as you let them sample the goods.
Dark Chocolate Truffles are considered more of an adult treat because of their intense dark chocolate flavor, however, my kids loved them. But they also enjoy and prefer the Peppermint Bark, partly because the recipe calls for smashing and breaking things and partly because it's sweeter. Either recipe is a good choice for treats at home or to give as a gift.
Dark Chocolate Truffles
I have eaten more than my share of these fiendishly rich confections, but I had never made truffles before this week. And I'm delighted to report that these are the easiest treats I've ever made. And the most satisfying for that chocolate craving.
I followed this recipe to create these dark chocolate truffles. To further enhance the pure chocolate flavor, I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa. These little balls of goodness are bursting with so much chocolate flavor that one at a time is actually enough.
To add some variety, try rolling these in toasted coconut, finely chopped hazelnuts or pistachios, powdered sugar or crushed peppermint candies.
For a more finished look, dip these in melted white, dark or mild chocolate, set them on parchment paper and chill. Adding a drizzle of contrasting chocolate color adds a nice finishing touch. Make sure to keep truffles chilled.
I've seen many recipes for peppermint bark using only white chocolate, but that combination has always seemed too sweet for my taste. So I searched for a recipe with two types of chocolate.
This recipe calls for semisweet chocolate, but I used about half bittersweet and half semisweet in the first chocolate layer. The dark flavor of the chocolate complements the sweetness of the white chocolate, with the peppermints adding holiday color and a pleasing crunch.
Let your kids help with these recipes. For the truffles, they can stir and roll them in the cocoa. For the bark, kids can smash the bagged candies with a meat tenderizer or rolling pin. They can help break up the piece when firm because the pieces should be irregularly broken anyway.
Both of the these recipes call for double boilers when melting the chocolate. I used my microwave in 30-second increments to accomplish the melting. It worked beautifully and took a lot less time and effort.