I absolutely love Studio Ghibli.
I think the obsession began when I was younger. Kiki’s Delivery Service started it all. Once I was older, I sought it out for the nostalgia factor because, lets face it, we geeks love nostalgia. Then I somehow somersaulted into other Studio Ghibli movies. I found My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle (my favorite), and The Secret World of Arietty.
Of course I have more. I’m obsessed, as you saw from my watercolor splash art paintings. The Soot Sprites, which made a cameo in My Neighbor Totoro and a bigger splash in Spirited Away, have got to be the second most iconic ‘character’ from all of Hayao Miyazaki’s work.
(Did you know that Spirited Away was an allegory for child prostitution in Japan? Mind = Blown.)
Without further ado, here is how I made adorable Soot Sprites truffles. There’s no egg in these so they’re totally safe to eat! Do NOT bake.
Soot Sprite Cookie Dough Truffles
Prep Time: 45 min-1 hour
Makes: approx 24 (half dollar sized) truffles or 48 (quarter sized) truffles
1/2 Cup Butter, softened (One Stick)
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup Apple Sauce
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Almond Meal
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Bags Chocolate Chips
Candy Eyes (I found mine at Wal-mart)
- Cut a length of wax paper to cover a cookie sheet. Cut a second piece, but leave it to the side. This is where you will put your truffles as you roll them. Set aside.
- Begin by creaming the butter and sugar together until it is one cohesive mixture. This works best when the butter has been left out out reach room temperature and a hand mixer always helps (can you tell I finally broke mine?). After that mix in the 1/4 cup apple sauce and vanilla extract. You don’t want the cinnamon applesauce for this unless you want a snickerdoodle cookie dough. This adds the moisture that the egg would have. That was we can eat this raw!
- Fold the almond meal into the sugar and butter mixture. If you don’t have almond meal or don’t want to buy it that’s cool. No worries. Substitute equal parts all purpose flour. Or, you can even throw some almonds in the blender for a good blitz. Either way, you’re cool.
- Add one bag of chocolate chips and your all purpose flour. This should form a thick cookie dough like consistency. You want this to kind of reach an almost play dough state, just a little bit wetter. Just a little.
- Take your rings off and smear your hands with butter or oil because it is time to get all up in that. Roll small balls of cookie dough between your hands and set them on your pre-cut wax paper. Using your fingers, flatten them into 1/2 inch thick discs. I made mine about half dollar coin sized, but if you’re serving kids or watching your waist you can make them quarter sized. Once you fill the first sheet of wax paper, gently lay the second over the first layer and continue rolling truffles, flattening them with your hands before placing them on the paper.
- Move the cookie sheet to the refrigerator or the freezer. This will allow the butter to firm up and make the truffles much more handle-able when dipping.
- You will need to melt the second bag of chocolate chips. You can do this in 30 second increments in the microwave (stopping to stir and make sure it hasn’t burnt) or you can use a double boiler on your stove. I don’t own an actual double boiler, but will often use a glass bowl a little bigger than my pot. Add enough water to the pot to touch the bowl, making sure that the bowl doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot. This introduces indirect heat to your chocolate and keeps it from burning as well as keeps it melted. This is my preferred dipping method.
- After 10-15 minutes in cool down the truffles will be ready to dip. Keep your candy eyes and sprinkles at the ready. I would have very much liked an extra set of hands at this point. If you don’t have help, just do it all one step at a time.
- First, roll the cooled truffle in the melted chocolate, coating the entire truffle. Using a fork, gently remove it from the chocolate and lay it back onto the wax paper. Now, if you don’t have help, you will have to place the eyes and top with sprinkles before moving on to the next truffle. Being cold makes the chocolate cool faster and then it just becomes a pain.
- Continue doing this until you run out of something. I ran out of dipping chocolate so I placed about 12 of my truffles in the freezer after rolling them in wax paper and sealing it in a ziploc bag. It should keep for about a month if you wish to do this.
- Let the chocolate cool and you have some super sweet, super adorable soot sprites every one can love. These would be totally cool on top of some vanilla ice-cream if you catch what I’m putting down.
Tell me how yours turn out! My were dipped a bit funny, but hubs promptly devoured them so no one could tell. Also, those eyes are so funny. Don’t they look a little like boobs?