Welcome to another Green-It-Yourself post! This week, Madi and I attempted to make two different types of truffles for Valentine’s Day! By making your own chocolate, you can avoid some of that pesky packaging and enjoy a more sustainable holiday!
Madi: We’re back!
Laurelin: I can’t believe that it’s already February, which means that Valentine’s Day is two weeks away now – at the time of writing this blog. So are you someone who likes celebrating Valentine’s Day, Madi?
Madi: I am! I’ve always gotten really excited to celebrate the holiday. Even if I don’t have a significant other to celebrate with, I find that I’ll always get together with my close girlfriends, and we’ll have a good time.
Laurelin: When I was younger, my mother would give my family hearts filled with little candy chocolates, so I always connected Valentine’s Day with family. And I remember back in grade school when we’d make our own little boxes with our own homemade, DIY Valentine’s Day cards and get lots of candy from everyone, so that’s sort of what I associate Valentine’s Day with.
Madi: So we were sort of inspired by this holiday to think about new ways that we could make Valentine’s Day a little more sustainable.
Laurelin: And one way of doing that is actually making your own chocolates. Because if you think about it, the amount of packaging that goes into a box of chocolates is kind of ridiculous. Every single chocolate has its own little wrapper or its own section in a tray, and that’s a lot of plastic that we’re throwing away.
Madi: Granted, there will be some packaging with the different things we’ll buy to make the chocolates – but it’s still a lot less packaging than what would normally come with a box of chocolates.
Laurelin: Right! Although to be honest, I’m not much of a cook. So another way that you can be sustainable this Valentine’s Day is to buy fair trade chocolate. Those chocolates are actually made by small-scale farmers in a more sustainable way.
Madi: Didn’t you give me some fair trade hot chocolate for Christmas this year? It’s delicious!
Laurelin: I did! I bought it for you from our fair trade store, Worldly Goods, in downtown Ames! But a lot of grocery stores and department stores carry fair trade products, too. You can also buy fair trade local and sustainable ingredients for food.
Madi: But back to Valentine’s Day – we hope that you spend this Valentine’s Day with your loved ones, whether they’re your significant other or your friends and family. And if you have time, maybe try and make your own chocolates this holiday season. I think they’re more meaningful and from the heart that way.
Laurelin: We’ve looked up a couple of different chocolate recipes, and we’re going to show you how to make two kinds of chocolate at home. And then we encourage you to try it out and share with your special someone(s) this Valentine’s Day!
Peanut Butter and Pretzel Truffles
Materials (To make 10 truffles)
- 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup finely chopped salted pretzels
- 1/2 cup melted chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Plate or cookie sheet
- Microwavable bowl
Step 1: Chop your salted pretzels! I found it easiest to crush the pretzels with the side of a knife before chopping them into smaller pieces. But beware – the pretzels fly everywhere!
Step 2: Measure out your peanut butter, add pretzels, and stir!
Step 3: Place your peanut butter and pretzel mixture into the refrigerator to cool for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 4: Form the peanut butter and pretzel mixture into 1 inch balls. Place the balls on a cookie sheet (or other plate) and place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
Step 5: While your peanut butter balls are in the freezer, measure out a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil into a microwave-safe bowl. Place the bowl into the microwave for 1 minute, and then stir and repeat until mixture is melted and smooth.
Step 6: Remove your peanut butter balls from the freezer and dip them in the melted chocolate. (Note: if chocolate starts to cool and harden, heat it up again in the microwave). Coat all sides as evenly as possible and place the chocolate-covered peanut butter balls back on the cookie sheet. (Tip: if you have too much chocolate like I did, cut up a banana and dip the pieces in the leftover chocolate for a yummy frozen treat!)
Step 7: Place the cookie sheet back in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours.
Step 8: Take out your peanut butter and pretzel truffles and enjoy!
Recipe inspired by eatingwell.com
Milk Chocolate Truffles
- 8 oz milk chocolate, chopped
- 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa or 3/4 cup finely chopped almonds or peanuts
- Medium saucepan or microwavable bowl
One caveat with this recipe – Make sure you read ingredient lists carefully! Madi and I thought whipping cream was the same as whipped cream – and we found out when we made the recipe that we were wrong! Our chocolates tasted fine, but they had a strange texture and weren’t easy to roll into balls. So make sure that you purchase whipping cream!
Step 1: Bring the whipping cream to a simmer in a saucepan, then add butter until melted.
Step 2: Add chocolate and stir until completely melted and smooth.
Step 3: Remove the pan from the heat and pour the chocolate into a shallow bowl. Cool, cover, and refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours).
Step 4: Roll mixture into 1 inch balls and cover each ball with your coating of choice! (Ex. Sprinkles, powdered sugar, nuts).
Step 5: Enjoy your milk chocolate truffles!
Recipe inspired by cookingontheside.com
Written by: Laurelin Haas
Edited by: Madisun VanGundy
Photography: Laurelin Haas and Madisun VanGundy