I've been a little tired and a little busy, and I've also had a bit of writer's block, but I don't want to leave you with nothing, so here's another candy recipe for you. (Who doesn't love truffles?) I made these for the holiday cookie platters along with the candies I wrote about a couple weeks ago. They always get rave reviews, at least from those who like cranberries.
Cran-Marnier Truffles (Christmas Cookies, Better Homes and Gardens special issue, 2007)
1½ cups sugar
1 5-ounce can evaporated milk
½ cup butter
2 cups tiny marshmallows
8 ounces premium dark baking chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
½ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
12 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons shortening
Unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside. Butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Combine sugar, evaporated milk, and ½ cup butter in the saucepan. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking for 6 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove saucepan from heat. Add marshmallows, dark chocolate, liqueur, and orange peel; stir until melted and smooth. Stir in cranberries. Beat by hand for 1 minute. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Cover and chill in the refrigerator about 1½ hours or until almost firm.
(I measure out everything I need to pour into the saucepan ahead, so I don't have to worry about the sugar mixture burning.)
Shape chocolate mixture into 1-inch balls. Place balls on prepared baking sheet. Cover and chill in the refrigerator about 1 hour or until firm.
Microwave semisweet chocolate and shortening in a medium microwave-safe bowl on 50% power (medium) for 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture is melted and smooth, stirring after every minute. Cool slightly. Dip balls, one at a time, into melted chocolate. Let excess chocolate drip back into bowl. Place truffles back on baking sheet. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until chocolate is set. If desired, lightly sprinkle truffles with cocoa powder before serving. Makes about 54.
Place truffles, without cocoa, in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 1 month. Let stand for 30 minutes. If desired, sprinkle truffles with cocoa before serving.
Instead of sprinkling the truffles with cocoa, after I've rolled them in the melted chocolate, I'll stick a dried cranberry piece on top. They don't just look pretty... they also let everyone know what's inside!