These pretty to-go containers can easily be personalized.

Alison Shaw


Sweet Treats for Wedding Guests

Many brides these days are choosing to put their personal stamp on the big event by handcrafting special wedding details, and those involving food are particularly appreciated by wedding-goers. Dinah Corley’s new book, Gourmet Gifts to Make Yourself and Wrap with Style (The Harvard Common Press, 2011), offers myriad presents designed to please the palate. You’ll find great ideas for favors and welcome bags; some are seasonal and others will work year-round. The book, illustrated by Oak Bluffs photographer Alison Shaw, includes recipes and instructions for creative wrapping.

Four-plus pounds of truffles
Chocolate is temperamental. To ensure success, never let so much as a drop of water come in contact with the chocolate, and use the best-quality chocolate you can find. If you are inexperienced with chocolate, divide the recipe in half and make two batches; smaller amounts are easier to work with. Truffles freeze well for longer-term storage before coatings are added, and after they’re coated, they have a shelf life up to two weeks stored in a cool, dark, dry place. You can freeze the decorated containers filled with wrapped truffles for up to three months.

Makes 4 to 5 dozen large, or 8 to 10 dozen small

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup golden corn syrup
  • 3 pounds bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 11/3 cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sanding sugar (available in many colors at LeRoux at Home in Vineyard Haven and other gourmet shops)

1. In a large, heavy saucepan, combine cream and corn syrup over medium heat, and slowly bring to a boil.

2. In a large heatproof bowl, place chocolate chips and pour boiling cream mixture on top. Using a clean dry spoon, stir briefly then set aside for 3 to 5 minutes. Use the same spoon to stir in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue to stir until smooth and glossy. Pour into four separate bowls and set aside to cool completely. Then cover bowls tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours, or until truffle mixture is very firm.

3. Depending on the size of truffles you want, use a small melon baller, a mini cookie scoop, or a tablespoon to scoop portions of firm truffle mixture onto wax paper–lined trays. Work with one bowl of truffle mixture at a time, keeping the others refrigerated. Put filled trays into the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes.

4. Remove trays one at a time from freezer. Using the palms of your hands, quickly roll the scoops into balls and return them to the lined trays. Refrigerate the truffles for 1 hour (or you can freeze them at this stage for up to 3 months).

5. In a pie pan or a wide, shallow bowl, mix the cocoa and sanding sugar (or other coating variations, below). Roll 5 or 6 chilled truffles in the pan, tilting and shaking the pan (as if you were panning for gold) until they are evenly coated. Return coated truffles to the lined trays. Loosely cover trays with plastic wrap and put them back in the refrigerator to firm up for at least 24 hours. Store in the freezer in a large, airtight container in single layers between sheets of parchment until you are ready to assemble the gifts.

Coating variations for truffles
Each of these coating variations will cover about 2¼ pounds of truffles, or half the recipe.

❤ Chai spice truffle coating: Combine ¼ cup cocoa powder with 1 teaspoon of each of the following ground spices: white pepper, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and ginger.

❤ Espresso truffle coating: Combine ¼ cup cocoa powder with 3 tablespoons powdered instant espresso and 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar.

❤ Dark and sweet truffle coating: Combine ¼ cup cocoa powder with 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar and a pinch of sea salt.