Here’s a fun fact on chocolate from ‘Beyond the Cake’ a dessert cookbook aimed to please the sweet tooth of kids and grown ups alike…
‘Be careful how much chocolate you eat. It’s long been used in survival kits, and for good reason. A single chocolate chip can provide enough energy for an adult human to walk 150 feet.’
So what did my boys think of the Croatian Chocolate Balls Truffles from Beyond the Cake?
Well, I’m still trying to get a word out of them while they munch on these perfectly kid-sized chocolate treats! (And the smaller size meant I didn’t feel too guilty munching on a few of them either, as we went along.)
Jokes aside, I’m glad to have started with something simple and instantly appealing to children. Must add that to my list of 10 things to consider while cooking new cuisines with kids from last week.
Jasmina’s book is based on an adorable concept – taking a train ride along various desserts – each one of the desserts goes beyond the ordinary. She accompanies every recipe with a delightful story about it, which in my opinion is a neat way to reach out to a younger audience.
Plus I like how the chocolate balls truffles recipe opens the doors to creativity in toppings and servings…Some of the ideas floating around between the boys and me range from:
- Rainbow sprinkles
- American flag-colored sprinkles
- Crushed walnuts and almonds
- Chocolate sprinkles
- Chocolate or vanilla frosting
- Flavored sugar crystals
- Sea salt, my favorite
- Powdered vanilla sugar
- Rice crispy cereal
- Coconut flakes (those were just for Rohit and me!)
- Put the truffles on a stick and serve as cake balls….
I met Jasmina Brozovic and Zvonimir Fras on Google Plus, and in spite of the miles separating us, we quickly hit it off. Back in Zagreb Croatia, much to my delight, they have been sportingly trying their hand at Indian fare from ‘Tikka Tikki & Spicy Bites‘ and serving it to friends!
‘Beyond the Cake’ has become my go-to resource when I’m looking for new and impressive desserts. Last week, for a July 4th party, I made Jasmina’s interesting Croatian style pie which is actually like a thin layer of cake above and below the filling.
Since we are seeing a great crop of strawberries and blueberries this year in northern California, I replaced apples in the original recipe with a mix of berries instead. The flavors of the pie were unique and absolutely amazing. Everyone loved it and we savored every morsel of the little leftover. Below is a picture.
Now back to the Chocolate Balls Truffles and how the boys and I went along creating them. Hope this inspires you to try them out too…
To start with, since it was our first time making this recipe, we halved the original recipe. Print out the original and have your kids write half amounts next to the ingredients (this avoids any confusion while cooking).
Note: For most recipes, halving a recipe is fine to do with a little common sense. But I don’t recommend halving or doubling baking recipes, since those are like a science formula that is best left untouched.
Bring out the weighing scale. Since the measurements were in grams, we went with grams (though Jasmina does give handy cup measurements alongside; I trust gram measurements more while trying European recipes), plus kids got to brush up on their metric skills.
Heat a sauce pan with 2 inches of water in it on a medium to low flame. Find a glass or metal bowl that fits snug on top of the sauce pan (look around your kitchen, you’ll find this combination easily). This is called a homemade double boiler which is used to cook the chocolate indirectly.
In the glass or metal bowl, melt 100 grams of butter with 50 grams of sugar.
Add 80 grams of chocolate chips (we used semi sweet, Jasmina recommends 60% cocoa) and 40 grams cocoa powder. Let the chocolate melt in, stirring for a few minutes. Then add 50 ml of milk.
In a mini processor, grind 125 grams of any kind of sweet leftover cookies or biscuits (called crackers in America) that you have on hand and 25 grams of walnuts. Add the ground cookies and walnuts to the chocolate mixture. Now it will begin to get thick like a truffle consistency.
Take the truffle mixture off the flame…and taste it for desired sweetness. Let it cool down so you can handle the mixture…and while it does, try your best to avoid eating it all!
Make small balls of the chocolate mixture in the palm of your hands. Roll them in toppings of your choice.
The chocolate balls truffles store well in an airtight container for a 2-4 days (could be much longer, but we never found out)!