Monday, January 26, 2009

Chocolate Party! In praise of the at-home birthday

OK this is mud, not chocolate, but I swear their little hands looked just like this when covered in chocolate truffle mix!

My older daughter turns 10 today! We celebrated with a birthday weekend extravaganza, and the highlight was a Chocolate Truffle Making party for six tween girls and one very pleased to be included three-year old. I am a big proponent of the at-home birthday and a home-made cake, as noted here. As the guests get older, the main party activity can be making something to eat at the party and they love it! You can also do make-you-own pasta or pizza or anything really. Just plan it out ahead of time and be sure there's enough time during the party to make, bake, and eat it!

Making the truffles was so easy and so fun for the girls. They really delighted in getting their hands all chocolate-y and rolling up the little balls in toppings. The recipe is below. You have to make the chocolate mixture a couple of hours ahead and allow to cool.

Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Truffles
2 cups of Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Chips (1 - 11.5 oz bag)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Coating Options:
Unsweetened Cocoa
Finely Chopped Nuts
Nonpareils or other tiny sprinkles

Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add butter and stir until melted. Add chocolate and stir until completely melted and smooth. Keep heat very low to avoid scorching. Remove from heat and pour into a shallow bowl. Cool, cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. When ready to make truffles, use a teaspoon to scoop out the mixture and roll into 1" balls. Roll each ball in coating of your choice.

More Ghirardelli Recipes here.

Chocolate warms up into your hand very quickly. Roll balls quickly to reduce mess. (FYI: Ten year old girls are not interested in reducing the mess!)

For food safety at a party, have children wash their hands thoroughly before touching the chocolate and have them each use their own spoon. Have each guest put their own truffles on a party plate labeled with her/his name. At our party, they later packaged their truffles in a decorated candy box to bring home as the "goody bag". Decorating the candy boxes was another party activity.

In addition to making truffles, we also had home-made, make-your-own brownie sundaes. I was ambitious at first, thinking every component could be made by the girls: brownies, ice cream and whipped cream. But then realized the timing and the clean-up wouldn't be right, so I made the brownies the night before and bought a can of whipped cream. Still, they made the ice cream in this crazy ice cream ball contraption. A perfect activity for girls who like to chat and gossip around a circle. Once the ice cream was ready, they constructed their own sundaes, with lots of fun toppings.

My daughter proclaimed that it was the best party EVER! It certainly was the most chocolate EVER!

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