This delicious "tree" created from chocolates—is rooted in Elisa Schmidt's generosity. "I wanted to give family and friends something they'd remember," she detailed. "So I whipped up piles of these sweets for everyone." Adding to the fun, the CT kitchen staff turned Elisa's treats into a tree. They took their cue from the way she described preparing those piles of candies in her kitchen. You'll find it easy to do the same for Valentine's ...a birthday...or to brighten a cloudy winter day.
- 3 packages (12 ounces each) semisweet chocolate chips, divided
- 2-1/4 cups sweetened condensed milk, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1-1/2 pounds white candy coating, coarsely chopped, divided
- 1/2 cup ground almonds
- 12 inch-high Styrofoam cone
- Miniature silk roses, red, pink and white (tree pictured used approximately 60 roses)
- In a microwave-safe bowl, melt one package of chocolate chips. Add 3/4 cup condensed milk; mix well. Stir in orange extract. Cover and chill for 45 minutes or until firm enough to shape. Repeat two more times with remaining chips and milk, adding peppermint extract to one portions and almond extract to the other.
- Shaping truffles: Shape chilled mixture into 1-in. balls; place on three separate waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Chill 1-2 hours or until firm.
- Melt 3/4 pound candy coating in a microwave-safe bowl. Dip orange-flavored balls in coating and return to waxed paper to harden. Melt remaining candy coating and dip balls once more to thoroughly cover. Let harden.
- Melt chocolate coating in a microwave-safe bowl. Dip peppermint-flavored balls in coating and return to waxed paper to harden.
- If desired, melt any remaining coating and drizzle over orange-and peppermint-flavored truffles, as shown in photo at left.
- Roll the almond-flavored truffles in ground almonds.
- Making the tree: Cover the Styrofoam cone with foil if desired. Using toothpicks, stick one end into each truffle and the other end into the cone, covering entire cone with as many truffles as will fit attractively. Fill gaps between truffles with silk roses.
- (If necessary, you can attach the rose stems to toothpicks with small pieces of floral or masking tape and insert the toothpicks into the cone.) Yield: 44 servings, 3 per serving.
Originally published as Truffle Topiary in Country Woman January/February 1997, p26
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