When it comes to truffles that melt in your mouth, Holiday Buttercream Truffles are the best! The bright white centers are prepared with cream cheese and butter, just like the beginnings of a good cake frosting! Dipped in melted milk chocolate, it’s hard to eat just one of these!
If you’re not familiar with buttercream at all, let me give you just a little bit of an overview. Buttercream is – in most cases – a dessert topping that is super rich, creamy, and sugary. If I were to make an educated guess, I would say that 80-90% of all the cakes and cupcakes you see in bakeries are frosted with buttercream. So if you like those, you will love Holiday Buttercream Truffles! Most of the time, it consists of butter, confectioner’s sugar, and milk. If the buttercream is flavoured, an extract is usually added like peppermint, for example.
But, there are many types of buttercream. There’s French buttercream, which has egg yolks; and then there’s German buttercream, which is more of custard than the classic American-style buttercream described in the previous paragraph. Once can’t forget about Italian buttercream, which is my personal favourite. It’s made with egg whites, and it’s less rich, so I can eat twice as much before my sugar-induced coma!
So, why am I telling you about all of these buttercream variations? Well, there is a reason. If something so simple as a bit of butter and sugar can be combined in so many ways and used globally, it must mean that it’s delicious! Yes, I’m saying all of this just to tell you that Holiday Buttercream Truffles are delicious, and I’m so happy to place them at Day 5 in Lord Byron’s 12 Truffles of Christmas series!
LOVE BUTTERCREAM? I’VE GOT YOU COVERED!
Lord Byron’s Kitchen is no stranger to a good buttercream recipe. One of my personal favourites, and one that fits right into the Christmas theme, are these Cherry Cake Squares. My mom used to make these, but she didn’t make the buttercream frosting. She used to use her version of ermine frosting on hers. My absolute favourite bar type of confection are these Walnut Oh Henry Bars! With that buttercream on top, they are completely irresistible!
Once you’ve mastered your own buttercream frosting, there are countless ways to use it. I said “mastered,” but what I meant was “made.” Ha! One doesn’t really need to master buttercream frosting, because it’s super easy to make! I used it to top these Pumpkin Spice Blondies – cute, right? I applied the same frosting to these gorgeous Bakery Style Mini Vanilla Cupcakes.
MORE CHRISTMAS CONFECTIONS!
Maybe you don’t care much for truffles. Or, maybe you’re impatient and can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s recipe will be! If either one of those applies to you, I have a remedy. Last year, I published a series called Lord Byron’s 12 Biscotti of Christmas. The year before that, I published a series called Lord Byron’s 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas. You can click on the image below and see the entire series on one page! Don’t worry, you won’t lose this page. It will open up a new webpage so that you can easily get back to these truffles!
HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL NEED FOR THIS RECIPE:
- Cream Cheese – When baking with cream cheese it is always best to use brick style rather than whipped or cream cheese in a tub. The brick style is firmer and more condensed. Cream cheese adds texture and flavour to baked items. Even though these truffles are no-bake, the brick style cream cheese still works best. The firmness ensures a firmer truffle which is easier to roll into balls.
- Butter – You can’t make buttercream without butter! I used salted butter, because I knew it would cut the sweetness just a tad. Some people swear by unsalted butter, but I always use salted for buttercream.
- Confectioner’s Sugar – This is what gives buttercream it’s sweetness and creaminess. When confectioner’s sugar is combined with something moist, like butter and cream cheese, it basically melts, which in this case, creates that creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture!
- Vanilla Extract – You can use other extracts too! More on that later.
- Milk Chocolate – The milk chocolate is a great choice for these truffles. They compliment each other quite well.
- Vegetable Shortening – This is optional, but will thin out the chocolate if you want a thinner chocolate coating.
- Sprinkles – These are optional as well, but because it’s Christmas, I wanted to add a bit of festive flair!
WANT TO CHANGE UP THE FLAVOUR?
You can easily change the flavour of these Holiday Buttercream Truffles simply by changing the extract. To keep things simple, I used vanilla extract, but when it comes to extracts, you have so many possibilities! These would be great with orange extract or peppermint extract. Something about orange and peppermint just screams Christmas for me! But you don’t have to limit yourself to just those two.
Almond extract would help these buttercreams taste more like fondant. You could try pumpkin spice, because even though most people are pretty much over pumpkin spice by the time Christmas rolls around, I am not! My go-to brand for extracts is Watkins. I don’t usually buy them online, because you can find a good selection of them at Walmart. But, if you want to explore all they have to offer, you can find them here.
If you think you’re limited to extracts, you’re wrong! You can add booze too. The only thing you need to remember is that you cannot exceed one and a half teaspoons of liquid. That’s the volume of vanilla extract used, so if you are substituting with another liquid, use the same amount. Otherwise, you will through off the wet and dry ingredient ratio and you might lose your religion trying to roll the buttercream mixture into balls!
TIPS & TRICKS: To get the best results, use real butter. DO NOT be tempted to make these with margarine or any other butter alternative. In contrast, margarine is quite bland and you will not get the right texture or flavour.
HOW TO MAKE HOLIDAY BUTTERCREAM TRUFFLES:
Let’s just get this one thing out of the way first, because it’s clear that I’m going to say this in every truffle post in this series. But, it’s important and worth repeating! Even though truffles are super easy to make, they do require a little bit of patience. I’m speaking of course about the time it takes for the truffle mixture to set up in the fridge before they can be rolled into balls. It’s one of the things I hate the most when it comes to baking! I can’t tell you how many times I refuse to make a recipe because I have to wait for something to chill. I have no patience, I tell you! Ha! This recipe needs at least two ours of refrigeration time!
Now that I’ve made you aware of that, let’s prepare the buttercream. First, place the softened cream cheese and softened butter into a large mixing bowl and use a handheld mixer to cream them both together. Scrape down teh bowl and beat the mixture again. You want it to be really smooth and a cohesive unit at this point. Add the vanilla extract (or any other flavour you have decided to use) and beat together until well incorporated.
Next, beat in the confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time. Remember to start the mixer on the lowest possible speed. Confectioner’s sugar is extremely light and it’s so easy to make a mess with it! Once that is done, cover the bowl and refrigerate mixture for 2 hours. It needs to be firm before you attempt to roll the mixture into balls.
When firm, measure out a tablespoon of the mixture. Roll into balls and place on a parchment-lined baking tray. Once all of the balls are rolled, place the baking tray in the fridge for another 2 hours. It’s always best to dip truffles into chocolate after they have had some time to chill in the fridge. If the mixture is too soft, return it to the fridge for a while longer.
THE BEST WAY TO COAT TRUFFLES IN CHOCOLATE!
I used to think that perfectly dipped chocolate truffles was witchcraft! Of course I’m kidding, but honestly, I could never master it. Either the chocolate was too thick, or not smooth enough. And, I was always left with a pool of chocolate at the bottom of the truffle that would harden. There’s nothing wrong with extra chocolate, but I so badly wanted to make my truffles look better.
I tried that fancy little tool for dipping things into chocolate. It’s like a two-tined fork with really long tines. Apparently, the truffle is supposed to balance on there, while the thin tines allow the excess chocolate to drip off. Lies! There is no fancy tool needed to get perfect chocolate dipped truffles. All you need is melted chocolate with a good consistency and two toothpicks. Here’s how I did it.
If you use melting chocolate right out of the bag, like candy melts or chocolate chips, for example, you will end up with very thick chocolate. The thicker the chocolate, the longer it will take to harden, which means more time for it to run. Thin your chocolate by adding a teaspoon of coconut oil or butter to the bowl before you start to melt it. This will thin it without any risk of your chocolate seizing or compromising the flavour. In this case, I’m using vegetable shortening, because it has no flavour and will not interfere with the taste of the buttercream.
DIP, LIFT, TAP AND TOOTHPICKS???
Working with chilled Holiday Buttercream Truffles, which I keep refrigerated until the chocolate is ready, I insert a toothpick about 1/3rd of an inch into the truffle. Dunk the truffle into the bowl of chocolate and gently move the toothpick in a circular motion so that the entire truffle is enrobed. Carefully lift the truffle out of the chocolate and slightly tap the toothpick on the rim of the bowl. The excess chocolate will fall back into the bowl.
I cannot stress enough the importance of using a chilled truffle center. The coldness will help to harden the chocolate right away. The rest is just semantics! With a second toothpick, run it very gently under the truffle to wipe away the excess chocolate. Do not press against the truffle; just wipe against the dripping chocolate.
Next, transfer the truffle to the prepared baking tray. You should still be holding the toothpick sticking out of the truffle and the truffle should be sitting on the parchment paper. Using the second toothpick, push it gently into the hole where the first toothpick is standing. Gently twist the first toothpick between your thumb and finger to loosen. Pull the toothpick up and out. Finally, remove the second toothpick, and use it to carefully smooth the still melted chocolate over the hole.
MORE CHRISTMAS RECIPES!
Did you know that I’ve been posting a 24 Cookies of Christmas series for a few years now? There are over 100 Christmas cookie recipes that you can find right here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen! To make it easier to find, I have created a page for each series. Just click on the image below and you’ll find the full series for that volume all one page!
WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, GARNISH!
I had to practice quite a bit to get truffles looking their best. Even now, there are sometimes when I’ll run into a problem and they don’t turn out as nicely as I’d like them to! I learned a long time ago from watching re-runs of Julia Child’s cooking series that garnish can cover up little mishaps. There’s a running joke in my family that parsley is my best friend, because I love to garnish everything!
Even if you dipped the perfect truffle, it’s still nice to add something to the outside of it. As you can see in the photographs, I garnished the truffles with sprinkles. Not only does it look better, it covers any holes left behind from the toothpick! Also, it tells everyone what is in the truffle. This is especially important if you have a holiday platter with more than one type of truffle!
STORING, PACKAGING, AND FREEZING
When it comes to Holiday Buttercream Truffles, they taste best at room temperature, but they don’t hold up well to being left out on your countertop. Store them in a food-safe container in your fridge. When you want one, two, or half a dozen, take them out of the container and place them in a single layer on a plate. Let them sit at room temperature for 5 minutes and they’re ready!
If you plan to freeze these truffles, again, pile them into a food-safe, freezer-friendly container. You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. (I use these quite often when freezing baked goods.) I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that freshness locked in! You can freeze these for up to three months. Enjoy!
Holiday Buttercream Truffles
- 4 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 5 cups confectioner's sugar
- 2 cups milk chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
- Place the softened cream cheese and softened butter into a large mixing bowl and use a handheld mixer to beat until smooth and well blended together. Scape down the bowl with a spatula and beat once more to be sure of complete smoothness.
- Add the vanilla extract and beat together until well incorporated.
- Next, beat in the confectioner's sugar one cup at a time. Start on low speed and increase as the sugar begins to incorporate into the butter and cream cheese mixture. Once done, cover and refrigerate mixture for 2 hours.
- When firm, measure out a tablespoon of the mixture. Roll into balls and place on a parchment-lined baking tray. Once all of the balls are rolled, place the baking tray in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Place the milk chocolate chips and the vegetable shortening into a microwave-safe bowl. On medium power, microwave the chocolate for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Continue to microwave in 15 second increments on half powder until chocolate is smooth. Stir between each increment.
- Working with chilled truffles, insert a toothpick about 1/3rd of an inch into the truffle. Dunk the truffle into the bowl of chocolate and gently move the toothpick in a circular motion so that the entire truffle is enrobed. Carefully lift the truffle out of the chocolate and slightly tap the toothpick on the rim of the bowl. The excess chocolate will fall back into the bowl.
- Next, transfer the truffle to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top with festive sprinkles.
- Continue to coat all of the truffles in the melted white chocolate. Once done, transfer baking sheet to fridge until chocolate is firm.
- Transfer to food safe container. Keep refrigerated.