I feel the need to redeem myself after sharing a recipe that reduced my life expectancy a little, and added considerable more gray hair around my face. Maybe you are like us and prefer to stay home in Valentine’s Day? After all, it’s hard to beat a home-cooked dinner with the fireplace going and a nice glass of wine… Maybe you are planning on a store-bought dessert to make your life easier?  Well, I am here to change your mind. This is one of the simplest ways to end a romantic meal, and so easy to put together it is almost a non-recipe.  You can make it the day before, you can make it in the morning, you can make it just a couple of hours before showtime, whatever suits your schedule.  Come to think of it, it is the antithesis of a sugar cookie with royal icing.  And, let’s face it, a truffle is a lot more elegant and grown up. Plus no need to spend 1 hour and 49 minutes cleaning up the kitchen when you’re done. The recipe comes from the new FoodTV show Giada Entertains, which truth be told puts me in a compulsive eye-roll mode. Still, some recipes seem like winners, and this is definitely one. She called them poppers, I am calling them truffles, and you’ll soon understand why.

Raspberry Chocolate Truffles

(from Giada de Laurentiis)

3/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces dark chocolate (70 percent), chopped fine
Three 0.33-ounce packages cherry Pop Rocks
12 raspberries

Add the heavy cream to a small saucepan and warm it gently over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edges. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let sit for about 2 minutes, then stir with a whisk, working from the center of the bowl outwards, until the ganache mixture is smooth and well incorporated.

To a 12-cup silicone mini muffin pan, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon Pop Rocks in each cup. Divide the ganache evenly among the cups and press the raspberries on top. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours. I refrigerated them overnight. Just before serving, unmold the tarts.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments: As you know, I did not grow up in the US, so most  kid-friendly candies are unknown to me. For instance, popping candy, or pop rocks. I was clueless about them, but when I saw Giada’s face as she poured some in her mouth, I could not wait to try some myself. Problem is, they were nowhere to be found. I searched all grocery stores, even tried Walgreens, but no luck. So I did what any sensible human being does, took a virtual stride to amazon.com and placed an order. I specified the flavor used in the show, Original Cherry.  The package took forever to arrive, but when it did, watermelon pop was inside. Oh, well, it’s also pink, and it pops. I decided to go with it.

The crystals made cute noises  when I poured the ganache on top, but by the time we enjoyed the truffles, no one could tell there was anything in them apart from chocolate and the crowning raspberry. Still, they were perfectly delicious, fantastic texture, creamy, luscious, dream-inducing… just pop-less.  Oh, well. Maybe you need to consume them within a couple of hours so that the candy won’t completely dissolve in the truffle?  A carefully controlled experiment is needed. At any rate, if you don’t have popping candy around, don’t let that stop you.  They will be perfect to close your romantic meal…

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Happy Valentine’s Day!


ONE YEAR AGO: Red Velvet Cupcakes

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Truffles for a date? I actually think it could be a great idea to make the occasion special,  particularly if your date is a truffle-worthy someone, but the name refers in fact to their main ingredient which I happen to love: Medjool dates. If you are fond of the regular chocolate truffles, these will surprise you because they look almost the same but taste completely different.  Think sweet but complex, exotic and intriguing.  Ridiculously easy to make, they are ready in minutes (literally) using the food processor.  Both the recipe and the main ingredient were sent by our friend Steve, who through his visits to Saudi Arabia (against my wise advice) keeps me stocked on fantastic dates and spices, saffron included…

Date Truffles

(from our friend Steve)

for truffles:
3 cups dates, pitted and roughly chopped
12-ounce cup of strongly brewed coffee (or 6 oz coffee + 6 oz brandy)
1 cup pecans, chopped finely in a mini – food processor
1/2 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
zest of 1 orange
optional: 2-3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
& ½ teaspoon cinnamon

to coat truffles:
Shredded coconut
cocoa powder
ground nuts
melted semi-sweet chocolate

Soak dates for 10 minutes in coffee, or in a mixture of coffee and brandy. Drain the dates but do not squeeze out liquid. Discard the coffee.

Transfer dates to a regular food processor, add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until mixed. Shape into 1-inch balls. Refrigerate at least 30 min.

Keeps well for many days in an airtight container in the fridge. Bring to room temperature to warm up slightly before serving.


to print the recipe, click here


Going, going, GONE!

Comments: Next time I make these, I intend to coat them in melted chocolate to pump the decadence level up a little. Actually, a shell of white chocolate would be amazing for color contrast. Not that I need strong reasons to use white chocolate. To coat this batch I used Oreo-type cookie crumbs. They turned out delicious with a little bit of extra texture the crumbs offered.

The truffles were inhaled at lightning speed by our colleagues at the department, which is obviously one of the best compliments for my concoctions… If you have a dinner party coming up and would like to keep the dessert course very simple, serve these truffles with a cup of coffee or tea at the end of the evening. Or make a small plate with 4 or 5 and offer to your guests to take home… they will absolutely love it!


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