Christmas gifts made in the kitchen

 

 Truffles

Homemade truffles picture by Mairlyn Smith

Homemade truffles picture by Mairlyn Smith

I found this recipe for decadent Truffles in a magazine about 24 years ago and I’ve made them every year since. It was developed by Rose Levy Beranbaum of the Cordon Rose Cooking School in NYC – and all I can say is “Rose, you created a genius recipe!”

get your kids involved –  when my son was little we made these for his Grandmas, teachers and neighbours.

 

7 oz (200 g) dark chocolate, chopped up – I used PC Extra Dark, it took 33 squares to make 7 oz.

1 ½ cups (375 mL) whipping cream 35% MF

 

1.      You need a heavy bottom pot for this – or the cream will scorch.

2.      Pour the cream into the pan and heat over medium low heat until it comes to the boil. Boil, stirring until reduces by half – it takes about 10 minutes. Professional home economist tip: it goes from white to a light creamy yellow. If you aren’t sure if it has reduced by half pour it into a measuring cup, not quite right? Then pour it back into the pot and continue reducing it.

3.      Remove from heat, once it has reduced down, and add all of the chopped chocolate.

4.      Stir until it has completely melted. Pour into a shallow glass pan and place UNCOVERED in the fridge away from any strong smelling foods. Let set for 4-5 hours.

5.      Meanwhile assemble what you want to roll the truffle in: I like crushed toffee, ground almonds, coconut, and chocolate cookie crumbs (see the picture below)

6.      Remove from the fridge and let warm up for 10 minutes.

7.      Using a spoon, scoop out about 1-2 tsp (5-10 mL) of the chocolate and roughly form into a ball – I use my fingertips. Roll into the toppings of your choice. Place in a container and store covered in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Must be stored in the fridge.

 

My four favourite toppings for the truffles: from left to right - cocnut, foreground hard caramels crushed in the food processor, behind it - crushed almonds, to the right crushed chocolate cookie crumbs.

My four favourite toppings for the truffles: from left to right – coconut, foreground hard caramels or toffee crushed in the food processor, behind it – crushed almonds, to the right crushed chocolate cookie crumbs.

 

Here’s the video clip

 

Sweet and Spiced Walnuts

These Sweet and Spicy Walnuts are great with drinks or as a snack

These Sweet and Spicy Walnuts are great with drinks or as a snack

From: Healthy Starts Here! (Whitecap)

By: Mairlyn Smith

These are a fabulous hostess gift or as part of a gift basket.

1 tbsp + 2 tsp (25 mL) ground cumin

1 tbsp + 2 tsp (25 mL) ground coriander

1 tbsp (15 mL) paprika

1 tsp (5 mL) cracked black pepper

1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon

½ tsp (2 mL) cayenne

¼ cup (60 mL) pure maple syrup

4 cups (1 L) whole walnuts

 

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 9×13-inch (3.5 L) rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the cumin, coriander, paprika, cracked pepper, cinnamon and cayenne till well combined. Add maple syrup and whisk together till thick and well combined.
  3. Add walnuts and using a rubber spatula mix till the nuts are really well coated.
  4. Pour out onto prepared pan. Spread them out into one layer.
  5. Place in oven and roast for 14-16 minutes or until the nuts are dry and crispy looking. Don’t let them burn, so check at 10 minutes to see if they are browning on the bottom. If they are carefully pick up the edges of the parchment paper and roll them around. Or if that sounds too complicated, try using a flipper to flip the nuts around. Return to oven.
  6. When done remove from oven and leave on baking sheet till completely cooled. Toss to break up any that are sticking together.
  7. They need a day to let the flavours really meld, but if you’re in a hurry just make sure that they are completely cooled. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

 

Makes – 4 cups One serving = ¼ cup (60 mL) which contains: 204 Calories, 18.2 g Total Fat, 1.7 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 4 mg Sodium, 8.3 g Carbs, 2 g Fiber, 3.1 g Sugar, 4 g Protein

 Diabetes Food Choice Values Per Serving: ½ Carbohydrate, ½ Meat and Alternatives, 3 ½ Fats

 

 Here’s the video clip

Gift Basket of Health

 

The wonderful Tracy and moi on the set of Cityline

The wonderful Tracy and moi on the set of Cityline with this year’s Gift Basket of Health.

 

Many years ago I started giving Gift Baskets of Health to friends and family.

The first basket was the Gift Basket of Flavanols. Brutal name – I can hear you saying the Gift Basket of What? The basket contained flavanol rich foods that can help reduce your chances of developing heart disease. It had beans, cinnamon, chocolate and grape juice in it. Went over like a lead balloon.

The next year I created the Gift Basket of Reducing Your Chances of Developing Heart Disease, once again a brutal name and too many words to fit on a gift card. The basket contained chocolate, wine, pomegranate juice, and cinnamon. It got a slightly better response, mainly because of the wine.

Every year I experimented on what to put in it – the year I added my book Healthy Starts Here! along with chocolate and red wine was a huge success. I realized I was on to something – the basket had to contain a book.

This year I am pulling out the stops and I’m giving an amazing book I discovered My Handy Little Health Journal. This handy little journal (the authors’ picked the perfect name) is every woman’s personal wellness assistant. There’s space to record health care providers, appointments, medications, tests, expenses, and procedures, this journal is as useful before a routine appointment as it is in an emergency. Plus, the journal highlights helpful tips about meditation, smart recipes, fitness, and travel-and even includes brainteasers for the waiting room. Buy one for your friend and one for yourself – it’s a great addition to this year’s Gift Basket of Health.

 

This year's Gift Basket of Health

This year’s Gift Basket of Health

 

Plus the basket will have Giddy YoYo natural cocoa powder and a variety of their raw amazingly delicious chocolate bars, Pippins tea – my favourite tea shop in Toronto, a container of my  Sweet and Spiced Walnuts (see recipe above) , and Lavender Bath Salts – I got the recipe from My Handy Little Health Journal. I think this basket will be the best one so far!

Here’s a mini behind the scenes look at me while I was prepping for the show http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQt2tCz870U

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7 comments on “Christmas gifts made in the kitchen
  1. Sandra Roy says:

    I live in Quebec and I watch City line almost every day and it’s one of my favorite shows. I particularly enjoy it when you are on the program. You have have a great sense of humour and you give so much good advice. I printed the recipes for the sweet and spiced walnuts and the chocolate truffles..which I will be making this week.. I’m sure they will be delicious… You inspire many of us and I want to thank you…

  2. Joanne says:

    How many truffles does this make?

  3. Mairlyn says:

    Depending on how big you make them I average about 24 truffles
    Peace, love and fibre,
    Mairlyn

  4. Mairlyn says:

    Well bless your heart! I am so lucky that I get to work with the amazing people at Cityline. So glad you are going to make the truffles and the spicy nits, they are both favourites if mine.
    Peace, love and fibre,
    Mairlyn

  5. Karen Novak says:

    Marilyn, I was wondering if you would share your grandmother’s Christmas pudding recipe with me. My grandmother made Christmas pudding every year that she was alive. She has been gone approximately 10 years already and we haven’t had it since. I have searched through her cookbooks that my mother still has and have found a partial recipe. It does not say any amounts. I would like to make it and I’m wondering if it is much like your grandmothers recipe and if the ingredients are similar I could use hers as a guide. She also made a custard sauce to go on top and I do believe it may have had rum in it. I was so excited to see you on Cityline on Monday and when that you mentioned your grandmothers recipe I was hoping you would go into more detail. I am addicted to the show and watch it first thing every morning that I am home and PVR it when not. Thanks Marilyn. I hope you respond soon. Sincerely, Karen Novak

  6. Mairlyn says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write me such a lovely comment. I’m sad to say that my mom has asked me not to share out family heirloom recipe……she wants it to be special for our family. I don’t agree but I must follow my mothers wishes, after all she is my mom!
    But the Christmas Pudding that I should King George Pudding is fabulous and the year we didn’t have any of my Great Grandmothers it was so close. Check out http://www.theartofpudding.com
    Hope that helps and my apologies for not sharing, this is a first for me!
    Mairlyn

  7. Sheila MacDonald says:

    I made your recipe for the Squares using choc cookie and oatmeal base covered with 3 types of Chipits then the sweetened condensed milk and it was a hit. I don’t have a printer and now cannot find it using Google or the Cityline recipe finder. I need to make it for a group showing up this Tuesday. Help please.

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