When we moved into our new house in December, a few of our good friends were unable to join us. Thankfully, I have an incredibly thoughtful friend for whom that scenario “just wouldn’t do!” So, we scheduled a ladies only brunch so they could see the new house and we could have a relaxing day indoors.
Well, today was the day! A snowy, very cold February Monday brought me three dear friends, a salmon fritatta, fresh fruit, blueberry bran muffins and plenty of chocolate! I provided the venue, mimosas (and of course, tea & coffee) and a warm fire and they brought brunch. I set the table with square Lenox Butler’s Pantry plates I purchased about 15 years ago at the factory in Italy over chocolate brown woven chargers topped with my grandmother’s ivory cloth napkins. I love, love these plates and I simply do not use them enough! I specifically bought them for ladies luncheons and so, they had to be featured on this special day. Please do keep in mind, I am not a stuffy ladies luncheon kind of person — but I was a military spouse for 25 years and sometimes you have the privilege (or responsibility) of hosting a whole lot of wives for a social or luncheon and I wanted to be prepared.
The party favors were wrapped in clear cellophane bags tied with tiny gold ribbons. Inside each bag are three pieces of chocolate heaven, otherwise known as Boozy Chocolate Bon Bons from VanillaandBean.com. While I rarely make desserts that must be dipped (other than chocolate covered strawberries which are too simple and delicious to resist), recently at a local community theatre event I picked up a trio of bon bons from the concession counter and ever since, I have been looking for an excuse to make my own.
I know you’re probably wondering, and “just how did she flip this recipe on end?” Oh, you know me so well already!
- I did start with the linked recipe for Perfect Chocolate Espresso cupcakes, but baked it in a 9×13 pan for about 40-45 minutes in the oven. After cooling, I cut it into 4 equal pieces and froze 3 of them.
- I do not drink coffee, so there is rarely a hot pot in the house except on Saturday morning when my husband makes it. I keep a jar of instant espresso for a few recipes, so for the espresso/coffee ingredient in the cake, I mixed up 1/2 cup of that.
- There is coconut oil, but not the solid oil that is then heated to liquefy. I had both the solid and liquid oil in the pantry so I opted for simplicity.
- I used Kahlua rather than dark rum. Typically I would choose rum over Kahlua but I only had basic rum or spiced and those didn’t seem like good alternatives.
- My husband has a large dislike for coconut, so I never use it, in a recipe or on top.
- I prefer pecans (maybe it was living in the deep south for 6 years…) over almonds so whenever I can make the swap, I do. I buy a lot of pecans from Priesters and keep the back stock in the freezer.
- Brett and I don’t like really dark or bitter chocolate. We are milk chocolate fans, but I am trying to be more decadent and integrate some of the darker flavors. However, for the chocolate bars needed for melting, I opted for a mixture of semisweet baking bars and German chocolate bars. And believe me, the bon bons are still very rich!
- For toppings, I selected mini semisweet chocolate chips, Heath toffee chips and more chopped pecans.
Chilling the bon-bons for 10 minutes before rolling into balls worked beautifully. I was worried the dough would still be too sticky and almost immediately ran for my flour canister, but was pleasantly surprised I did not need to flour my hands constantly. The most challenging part is evenly dipping without making a huge mess. I use Wilton’s candy dipping tools to help me drop (or lower) the ball into the melted chocolate, roll for full coverage and then sliding onto the parchment for the chocolate to set up. It’s still messy, but the beauty of the toppings is you can cover up whatever mess you make from the tools and your hands stay a whole lot cleaner!
I was so pleased with the end result, I will be soon looking for an excuse to use the 3/4 of cake still in my freezer. These are so good, you’ll be licking your fingers after each bite and were much easier to dip than the last time I tried to make “cake pops.” While the bon bons slice easily for sharing, you may be tempted to sneak a whole one after the kids or hubby go to bed just so you can savor it all to yourself.
Copyright © 2019 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.