Dear Sun Spots: I am looking for a recipe to make chocolates. I had one and lost it. The recipe that I am looking for is one which you can can make a variety of chocolates from. I could make chocolate covered cherries, maple walnut balls or strawberry balls by just changing the basic flavor. If any readers have any out there and would like to share it with me, it would be greatly appreciated. I may be reached via phone at 782-4516. Please just leave a message. Thank you for your help. – Anita G., Lewiston.

Answer:
In addition to responses from readers, perhaps you and your family will enjoy the following basic recipe that can also be adapted with a variety of liqueurs and coatings. Yields four dozen balls. Ingredients: 8 ounces good-quality semi-or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, your choice of flavoring and coating (see below). Method: Heat chocolates, butter and milk in a pan until chocolates and butter are partially melted. Remove from heat and stir until completely melted. Whisk in desired flavoring until creamy-smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let stand until firm enough to hold its shape, about two hours. Using a tablespoon (a spring-action 1 Tb. scoop is ideal), mold chocolate into balls, 1 level Tb. at a time, and place on a cookie sheet lined with greased parchment paper. Place desired coating in a small bowl. Working one at a time, drop truffles into the bowl with greased fingertips. Shake bowl back and forth so truffles are completely coated. If necessary, roll truffles by hand to make round. Return to parchment. (Can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to five days or frozen up to 1 month.) Before serving, let stand at room temperature to soften slightly.

Flavoring options:

Orange: 6 Tbs. orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier, and ½ tsp. finely grated orange zest

Coffee: 6 Tbs. coffee-flavored liqueur, such as Kahlua and 1 tsp. instant coffee

Raspberry: 6 Tbs. raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord

Coating options:

1 cup of minced sweetened, flaked coconut

1 cup of minced roasted pistachios

1 cup of minced toasted walnuts

1 cup of sifted unsweetened cocoa

1 cup of sprinkles

You and your family might also enjoy the following from www.dakinfarm.com, Maple Cream Candies Ingredients: 2 cups pure maple syrup, 8 oz. melted milk chocolate, 1 cup heavy cream or half and half. Method: Cook syrup and cream in a saucepan over medium heat to 238º (using a candy thermometer). Pour mixture onto a cold, clean surface; cool until lukewarm. Use a spatula to help mixture hold its shape. Form into ¾-inch balls and dip in melted chocolate. Makes about 20 pieces.

Dear Sun Spots: I enjoy reading your column every day. I have an older style metal hospital bed with mattress. I will donate it to anyone who could use this and who wants to come and pick it up. Thank you. I may be reached at 353-8809. – No Name, No Town.

Dear Sun Spots: I enjoy your column. I try to help out when I can. Now I need to find a pattern for a bed jacket to knit or crochet for a friend in a nursing home. Also, I have a large 6-foot-plus tin man or suit of armor. I don’t know who would be interested in it. It takes up a big space. Thank you in advance. I can be reached P.O. Box 97, East Poland, ME 04230. Thanks. – No Name, Poland.

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