In grade school, I always looked forward to Valentine’s Day for two reasons: 1) I’m an artsy type, so I loved making my own valentines (using doilies, animals with heart-shaped faces, my own “witty” catchphrases and the like), and 2) I love sweets, so I was delighted by all of the candy and chocolates from my classmates.
As I have grown, I see there are some things that are just part of being you – you are, and always will be, that same kid. Now I’m an adult, with a career in graphic design and I keep a stash of chocolate in my desk drawer. Some things never change!
Even working in an office, I still find myself looking ahead to Valentine’s Day and feeling that each of my classmates… er, co-workers… deserve a clever little valentine treat. So, this year, I’ve decided to try a new recipe: Buttercreams. They seemed simple, they look fabulous, and how many people are dropping hand-dipped chocolates off at your desk along with a doily card? It’s memorable, so I have to give it a try.
To make these sweet treats, begin by preparing your buttercream filling. You’ll need cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and whatever flavoring you like best. I went with classic buttercream and used vanilla (you could also try mint, rum, orange or other flavorings).
In a medium-sized bowl combine the cream cheese and butter. When they are thoroughly mixed, add your vanilla (or other flavoring).
Now it’s time to add your powdered sugar. Since the sugar is so fine, you only want to add about half a cup at a time so cream cheese/butter mixture can absorb it. Keep adding powdered sugar until the filling has thickened.
I like my buttercream a little fluffier, so I went light on the powdered sugar. Then, I used a cookie scoop to make consistent filling sizes. Initially I tried to roll the scoops of filling in my hands to make nice round ball shapes, but here’s my recommendation: skip that step. The filling was a little sticky and the shapes were not very impressive.
So, instead of getting picky about how perfectly shaped your filling is at this point, simply place the little scoops onto a waxed paper-lined pan. Then, cover them lightly with plastic food wrap and refrigerate the filling for about an hour. This gives you a little time to clean up from preparing the filling and maybe even the chance to put your feet up.
When the hour is up, the filling is the perfect consistency for rolling! It now has the texture of cookie dough, so it’s easy to shape into smooth, consistent ball shapes. This is important because they will be the same shape after they are dipped – and you want that shape to be pretty!
Now get your chocolate coating ready. Just add the chocolate chips and shortening to a small pan. Heat it on Low and use a spatula to keep moving the chocolate so it doesn’t burn.
When the chocolate is nice and smooth, it’s time for dipping. Have another waxed paper-lined pan ready for the dipped buttercreams to set on. Here’s the system that I developed for coating the creams. Start by dropping a ball into the pan and roll it around so it gets completely coated. (Be careful not to let it sit in there, because the buttercream will melt and lose its shape).
Use a toothpick to spear the buttercream and transfer it to the pan.
The toothpick will probably leave a small unsightly hole in the buttercream, so simply dip it in the pan of chocolate and then use that chocolate to cover and mend the hole.
When all of your buttercreams are dipped, place them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, so the chocolate can set.
When they are finished cooling and are firm, it’s time for you to taste test and then begin your plans for sharing! I discovered that an average-sized jewelry box from a department store was the perfect fit for a set of four buttercreams! So, the crafter in me is already thinking about how to cover the lid with pretty papers and line it with pink tissue so I can turn that collection of boxes in my gift closet into elegant little cases for my grown-up Valentine’s Day gifts!
Try these sweet treats for Valentine’s Day, teacher’s gifts, parties and more! Then rate and review this recipe, Buttercreams.
Come back in a few days when Mallory will tackle the art of making croissants.
Amanda is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buz