Free And Easy Chocolate-Covered Butter Cream Recipe

Chocolate shops, also known as chocolatiers, cater to our chocolate candy fetish. Gourmet butter creams are easy to make and give as gifts.

Have you ever been to a real chocolatier? Not the jelly colorful candy stores in malls but a real chocolate shop where the chocolate is actually made, poured, molded and sculpted? What a magical experience! As you walk in the door of the shop, you're greeted by the heady aroma of melted warm chocolate and the sight of chocolates of every description piled in welcoming towers on plastic or silver platters.

As you pick your chocolates, the workers place them in pleated candy cups, packing them into cardboard boxes with the shop's logo. An average pound of these chocolates is about thirty-four pieces - give or take one.

Chocolate shop workers will tell you of the children coming in with parents, fingers and faces pressed against the showcase glass staring in wonder; the constant unoriginal jesting of customers, "I'll take one of everything!" Most of them will tell you how they're really not tempted by the chocolates after being around them on a daily basis. Looks like there can be too much of a good thing.

Good chocolate has a signature just as great artists would sign their work. For example, check out the top of a vanilla cream. Look closely and you most likely will see a 'V' scripted on top. This mark is made as the candy is hand-dipped coming out of the liquid chocolate. It's done by a flick of the wrist. You'll see a continuing pattern of 'S' for strawberry, 'C' for chocolate, etc.

Some consumers balk at the idea of chocolate's $5.95 or more per pound price. But if you weigh a regular-sized bar of chocolate such as Nestles or Hershey's and tapped in the 59 cent price, you'd see that you're already paying $5.95 or more! You just don't notice the pound price when you buy in smaller quantities..

Chocolate has been a part of our lives accentuating our best moments such as holidays, birthdays, and of course, our precious stolen secret moments when we need a little chocolate to reward ourselves. Memories of many people regarding fancy boxed chocolates always seem to include a family member poking the bottoms to see what luscious cream center waited inside. Those memories also recall the orange and raspberry creams with poked bottoms usually being the last in the box to be claimed.

Before making the following recipe, fashion a dipping implement using wire. Be sure that its curved opening is small enough to keep the chocolate on the dipper and yet let the excess chocolate run on through. It will look like a tablespoon with the center gone. Curve the tool some to keep the butter cream centers from slipping off. That's the perfect dipper!

It's easy to make your own butter cream centers and hand dip chocolates at home. Follow this recipe and create your own gourmet chocolates. Keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Fancy Vanilla Butter Creams

8 oz. cream cheese

2 lbs. confectioners sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 lb.butter (2 - 1/4 lb. sticks at room temperature for ease of blending)

Method: Stir together well all ingredients. Roll into balls large enough to sit on your dipping tool.

Chocolate Dipping Mix

1 box of unsweetened chocolate squares (found in the baking aisle of grocery)

1/3 bar of paraffin (found in the canning aisle)

Method: Melt the chocolate and paraffin together in the top half of a double boiler. With a steady hand, dip the butter creams into the chocolate mixture while the chocolate is still warm. Let the excess chocolate drain from each ball and set on wax paper that has been laid on a cookie sheet. Refrigerate to cool. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container

These variations are also quite good. When you make the variations on the above recipe, try putting your own signature on the chocolate top.

Maple butter creams: Add 2 teaspoons of maple flavoring, cut vanilla down to 1 1/2 teaspoons.

Almond butter creams: Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of almond flavoring. Use the original amount of vanilla.

Chocolate butter creams: Cut vanilla in the recipe down to 1 1/2 teaspoons and add 1/4 cup of Hershey's Syrup. Add a little more powdered sugar as needed to keep the ball's butter cream consistency.

Experiment with other flavors if you'd like and -- if you want less orange and raspberry butter creams with poked bottoms left in the container, here's a hint: just don't make those!

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