Li-Lac Chocolates

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Alright, alright…it’s Valentine’s Day. But, I know other people are really into it. Yesterday I posted an easy recipe for Red Velvet Cake Bon Bons. But, if cooking and baking isn’t your thing, what better way to say “I love you” than some chocolate? There isn’t one. Li-Lac Chocolates is Manhattan’s oldest chocolate house, since 1923. How did I not know this? Well, I didn’t, until I found them on my Grand Central Tour.

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Described as “stubbornly old fashioned”, this chocolate company has been making their chocolates the old school way, not changing or conforming to trendy, new comers along the way. They have a range of classic truffles, fudges and caramels, something for everyone.

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I tried a couple of their signature items. First, I had a Hazelnut Truffle Square. Holy mother of candy. This was incredible, maybe one of the best hazelnut candies I’ve had? Maybe? It’s decadent, rich, chocolaty, and an amazing nutty, hazelnut flavor. It’s pretty generous in size too, so, you basically get four pieces in one. 

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Then, I also got a Champagne Truffle. Another one that made me believe in Heaven. It’s silky, creamy, and melts in your mouth. You really get a nice champagne flavor as well, which, I mean, what goes better with chocolate than champagne?

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Champagne + Chocolate Truffle = Power Couple.

The Shorts:
Name: Li-Lac Chocolates
Location: Grand Central Market (43rd Street and Lexington Avenue), NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Uhhh…YEAH!!
Would I recommend it? Definitely, some of the best chocolates I’ve had in a while. 

Red Velvet Cake Bon Bons

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I don’t really like Valentine’s Day, but I do love desserts. So, here’s a beyond simple recipe to make some fancy looking Valentine’s treats. Cakes and pies are always nice, but these are great because they’re simple to transport and you can give them to your sweetie, bring some into work, to friends, or, give V-Day the middle finger and eat them all yourself (go, you!).

I’m a fan of scratch baking, but, sometimes you just need to simplify your life. So I’ve come up with ways to cut corners without compromising taste or presentation. No one has to know (shhhh).

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 box of Red Velvet boxed cake mix (if for some reason you can’t find that, get regular vanilla and some red food coloring-you can add cocoa powder for the flavor if you want)
  • 12 oz can of Seltzer/soda water (this replaces the eggs and butter/oil that the cake mix calls for, trust me, it works like magic! Plus, it cuts out the extra calories…so you can eat more bon bons!)
  • 1 container of Cream Cheese Frosting (or any other Buttercream or Vanilla flavor you prefer)
  • 1 container of microwaveable chocolate dipping sauce (I used Baker’s brand)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 8-inch pans and set those aside. Then, go ahead and put the cake mix into a bowl and add the can (or 12 oz) of Seltzer. Mix that up and then pour into the cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes. 

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Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes. Then, take the cake out and crumble it with your hands into a bowl. If the cake is slightly doughy when you’re doing this, that’s good, no need to bake longer. 

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Next, take about 2 spoon-fulls of the frosting and add that into the cake crumble. Using your hands, work that altogether until it’s like a big ball of Play-Doh. 

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Using about 1 tbs of the mixture, roll it into balls and line them up on a tray lined with parchment or wax paper. 

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Then, microwave up your cup of chocolate according to the directions on the container (if you can’t find this, get some regular baking chocolate and microwave in a micro-safe cup instead and heat in intervals of 20 seconds, stirring along the way to not over-heat the chocolate). Pop each cake ball into the cup one at a time, fish it out with a fork to let the excess chocolate drip off, and place back on the lined tray.

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If you want to get a bit more decorative, take some white chocolate, melt that up, and drizzle over your new bon bons by dipping a fork into the chocolate and drizzling it back and forth on top.

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If you’re an overachiever, add some red food coloring to the white chocolate and go back over the bon bons with the pink chocolate.

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Pop the tray into the freezer for a couple minutes to set the chocolate so it hardens up to take cleanly off of the paper lining. Store them in a sealed container until they’re read to be eaten. And there you have it, Red Velvet Cake Bon Bons!  

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Recipe-friendly version: Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 box of Red Velvet boxed cake mix (if for some reason you can’t find that, get regular vanilla and some red food coloring-you can add cocoa powder for the flavor if you want)
  • 12 oz can of Seltzer/soda water (this replaces the eggs and butter/oil that the cake mix calls for, trust me, it works like magic! Plus, it cuts out the extra calories…so you can eat more bon bons!)
  • 1 container of Cream Cheese Frosting (or any other Buttercream or Vanilla flavor you prefer)
  • 1 container of microwaveable chocolate dipping sauce (I used Baker’s brand)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 8-inch pans and set those aside. Then, go ahead and put the cake mix into a bowl and add the can (or 12 oz) of Seltzer. Mix that up and then pour into the cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes. Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes. Then, take the cake out and crumble it with your hands into a bowl. If the cake is slightly doughy when you’re doing this, that’s good, no need to bake longer. Next, take about 2 spoon-fulls of the frosting and add that into the cake crumble. Using your hands, work that altogether until it’s like a big ball of Play-Doh. Using about 1 tbs of the mixture, roll it into balls and line them up on a tray lined with parchment or wax paper. Then, microwave up your cup of chocolate according to the directions on the container (if you can’t find this, get some regular baking chocolate and microwave in a micro-safe cup instead and heat in intervals of 20 seconds, stirring along the way to not over-heat the chocolate). Pop each cake ball into the cup one at a time, fish it out with a fork to let the excess chocolate drip off, and place back on the lined tray. If you want to get a bit more decorative, take some white chocolate, melt that up, and drizzle over your new bon bons by dipping a fork into the chocolate and drizzling it back and forth on top. If you’re an overachiever, add some red food coloring to the white chocolate and go back over the bon bons with the pink chocolate. Pop the tray into the freezer for a couple minutes to set the chocolate so it hardens up to take cleanly off of the paper lining. Store them in a sealed container until they’re read to be eaten. And there you have it, Red Velvet Cake Bon Bons!