Tiny Unexpected Treasures

I grew up in a family that always strongly honored tradition. My sisters and I have instilled this in our children. One of our favorite fall traditions is to all meet at a maple sugar house in the next state to where we live. My parents had taken my sisters and me every year, starting before I was even born! As we grew up, married and started having our own families, the trip continued. My parents have since passed, but my sisters and our families have kept the tradition alive. There are now close to thirty of us, three generations in all, meeting to enjoy an afternoon of fall festivities including  choosing pumpkins and apples, sampling apple cider and of course lots of maple syrup and other maple products! This year, when we arrived, I went straight into the store and in my exuberance to be there, stocked up on way too many maple products. A tub of sweet, smooth maple cream was among my purchases. 


When I got home and was putting my treasures away, I had to laugh to myself. I had bought this delicious maple cream, which was made to be spread on warm toast or an English muffin. I have never been a toast eater, and being gluten-free I really don’t eat breads, crackers or grain products. What to do with it? I thought about spreading it on fruit, but that didn’t really appeal to me. I’m not really sure how the idea came to me, but I decided to see if there was a way to use the maple cream for truffles. 

I started by lining a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. I dropped small spoonfuls of the maple cream onto the paper-lined sheet, using the whole container. I wasn’t sure how they would freeze, but put the sheet in the freezer and hoped for the best. After a few hours, I took them out. They had solidified but were still pliable enough to form into small, round balls. I put them back into the freezer to stay solid while I prepared the chocolate to dip them. I melted a package of chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand to assure that no dairy, gluten, soy or other allergens is in the chocolate). The melting technique that I used was to microwave the chips at 30 second intervals, stirring in between until smooth and melted. Then I stirred in about a teaspoon of coconut oil. I think it helps make the chocolate extra smooth, making for a nice coating. With the chocolate melted and ready, I took the pan out of the freezer and carefully dipped each little ball of maple cream, working quickly before the cream got too soft. I had also bought some maple sugar on the trip, so as I coated each one, I sprinkled a little maple sugar on top for a garnish. Once they were all coated, I put the sheet back in the freezer to harden. I’m happy to say that they ended up as tasty little treasures! 


Buying the maple cream at the Sugar House and making it into truffles will become a new tradition for me. As you read this, my hope is that you will be inspired to see what you may have in your refrigerator or pantry that you can turn into an interesting new truffle. Maybe you bought a funky flavored peanut butter or spread that you ate a few spoonfuls of before the thrill was gone. Dollops of raw honey or even raw honey mixed with a little peppermint extract to make a quick peppermint patty. Get creative and try making something new, you never know what you can turn into a tiny unexpected treasure of your own! 


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