Holidays

Holiday chocolate pumpkin truffles

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ellamarie Fortenbach, founder of Chez le Petit Chef, a children's cooking school in San Carlos, shares a recipe for chocolate pumpkin truffles for the holidays.

Holiday Chocolate Pumpkin Truffles

2 cups graham crackers
½ cup vanilla wafers
1 cup almonds
¾ cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
8 oz of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate (2 bars)
½ cup pure pumpkin
¾ cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup Frangelico liquor

For optional dipping sauces:
1 bag (11.5 ounces) Ghirardelli white chocolate bar
½ bag (approximately 6 ounces) Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ bag (approximately 6 ounces) Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips

Place the graham crackers and vanilla wafers in a food processor. Process until finely chopped.

Grind the almonds in an automatic grinder (like one which you use to grind coffee beans).

Sift the powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add the crushed graham crackers and vanilla wafers. Add the ground almonds and cinnamon. Stir until thoroughly blended.

In the food processor, finely chop the semi-sweet chocolate.

In a sauce pan, add the pumpkin and light brown sugar. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes. Add the finely chopped chocolate and continue cooking over low heat for 3 additional minutes. (The chocolate should be completely melted.) Turn off heat and stir in Frangelico liquor.

Add this pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator. Leave the mixture in the refrigerator until it is firm (approximately 30 minutes).

Take the truffle mixture out of the refrigerator and roll into 1" balls. Place the balls on a cookie sheet.

You can roll the truffles in crushed pecans or finely chopped chocolate to your liking. Alternatively, you can use the optional dipping sauces below.

Put the finished truffles in the refrigerator for another 20 minutes to firm more.

Optional Dipping Sauces

Place the cookie sheet of 1" balls into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Set up 2 double boilers. (If you don't have a double boiler, you can use a metal mixing bowl placed on top of a sauce pan filled with boiling water). In the first double boiler, melt the white chocolate chips. In the second double boiler, add the semi-sweet and dark chocolate chips and melt them together.

Coat the truffles with either the melted white chocolate or melted brown chocolate mixture.

Put the truffles in the freezer to harden the chocolate coating (about 5 minutes). Store in refrigerator and when guests arrive, take out truffles to enjoy!

Ellamarie Fortenbach Bio:
In addition to being the president and chief executive officer of a couple of small businesses that market to national clients, Ellamarie Fortenbach is the founder of Chez Le Petit Chef, a cooking school in San Carlos, California, that focuses on children chefs. She creates a culinary learning experience for them in a safe and nurturing environment. Her classes teach about foods from around the world, where foods come from, and the importance of nutrition.

Her cookbook, Cooking with Ellamarie, features fantastic recipes, personal stories and words of wisdom that have been contributed by successful people from all walks of life. For example, Chef Thomas Keller from the French Laundry sharing his childhood story that began his life dream John Harris of Harris Farms started by picking cotton. These people and others celebrities like actor Brian White offer children their life experiences. Those partnerships will continue on the small screen on Ellamarie's TV show, Guess Who's Cooking With Ellamarie.

Ellamarie has created a forum that gets these celebrities and executives to roll up their sleeves and work side by side in the kitchen with young chefs between the ages of 5-17. Ellamarie creates a supportive atmosphere where children learn more than how to cook; they are encouraged to set goals and believe in themselves. The AAR Burn Foundation endorses the emphasis of safety in her cookbook that Ellamarie has developed.

Ellamarie grew up in Texas where her love of cooking started as a young girl in her grandparents' restaurants. She comes from a very strong background of family-owned businesses, primarily but not limited to, the restaurant industry. From the time she could walk, she was exposed to all of her grandfather's businesses. It was through her younger years of experience where she developed the love of interacting with people and the art of pleasing, seeing her grandfather's difficulties and business savvy skills. She quickly learned that becoming well informed is a must in any business. Finding the art of business while entertaining, she understood that these two things go hand in hand. The kitchen has always been the heart of her household, and she is excited about extending that atmosphere to readers who engage in Cooking with Ellamarie.

When she isn't in the kitchen, Ellamarie loves being involved in all aspects of her children's school projects and their activities. Ellamarie loves to dance and a good game of Gin Rummy with her husband is always a treat!

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