Happy Valentine's Day!  Each year for 18 years, when Jim and I lived in Santa Fe, NM,  Valentine's Day meant a trip down to our favorite chocolatier.  A box of Twin Peaks for him and Bolitos for me.

We left Santa Fe ten years ago, so this year I decided to try my hand at recreating those two treats.  I also made a batch of "Elspeth's Mocha Butter Balls.

The Twin Peaks are made of Caramel, Almonds and Chocolate.  I've never made caramel before, so it was somewhat trial and error.  I started off with Ina Garten's recipe for Fleur de Sel Caramels (left off the salt).  I cooked it a little too long and it turned out like a brick.  The great thing about caramel is that if you get it wrong the first time, you can just melt it again, add a little more butter and cream, and Voila!

 When I finally got the right consistency for the caramel, I spooned it into mini muffin cups, that had been lightly buttered.  I placed the almonds on before I put them in the refrigerator.  While they were cooling, I melted chocolate baking bits in a bain marie.   After the caramels cool in the fridge for a bit, dip just the bottom half in the melted chocolate and put on a cookie sheet lined in parchment paper.  Put them back in the fridge until the chocolate hardens.

 Bolitos are simply truffles or fudge rolled into balls and coated with crushed nuts.  I used this recipe for the truffles and rolled them in crushed pecans.

Elspeth's Mocha Butterballs -  a recipe from a Santa Fe friend.  They are great with a glass of cold milk.

Elspeth's Mocha Butter Balls

1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1-3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 TBS instant coffee
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate bits

1. Cream butter & sugar
2. Add vanilla
3/  Mix in dry ingredients, Dough will be slightly stiff
4.  Stir in chocolate bits
5.  Roll into 1" balls.  Place on cookie sheet
6.  Bake for 15 minutes in preheated 325 degree oven
7. Fragile when warm.  When cool, sprinkle confectioner's sugar over cookies.

Photography By: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman - Sotto Il Monte