Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Capezzoli de Venere

These delightful, provocative little confections are called Capezzoli di Venere - or Nipples of Venus.

You might have first heard of them when watching that great film Amadeus. If you've seen it you may remember the scene. It's the treat offered to Constanze Mozart - Wolfgang's wife - by his nemesis, Antonio Salieri, when she brings him some of her husband's original compositions.

I immediately searched for the recipe, but that was long before Google made it so easy. I was finally blessed with this recipe by a friend who had it among his Italian great grandmother's recipes, but you can find other variations all over the Internet. I understand that the brown versions are more commonly made - probably because it's easier.

If you enjoy cooking and baking and like to make candies, this is not a difficult recipe. Okay, so it's not as easy as picking up a box of chocolates, and its definitely more complicated than hand-dipping your own chocolate covered strawberries, but trust me, it is well worth the time and effort.

You can even get away with just grilling up some steak or fish, steaming some veggies and baking a potato or boiling some rice. Candlelight. Some flowers. A glass of red wine. And, a plate of Capezzoli de Venere and your St. Valentine's Day will be one to remember.

I confess, I didn't make them this year. I simply ran out of time for time in the kitchen - and it's probably too late for you to make them for this Valentine's Day for your sweetie, but do think about saving this recipe for next year.  You will get "Oooh's" and "Aaah's" left and right.

You may even get lucky.

Happy Valentine's Day!

This recipe makes about 60 truffles 
12 ounces high quality dark chocolate, chopped
16 ounces canned whole chestnuts, drained
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces high quality white chocolate, chopped, divided
1 dash powdered red food coloring


  1. Place the dark chocolate into the top part of a double boiler over simmering water, and let the chocolate melt. Turn off the heat and let the chocolate cool.
  2. Place the chestnuts into the work bowl of a food processor, and process until the chestnuts are smoothly pureed, about 1 minute.
  3. Beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chestnuts, brandy, and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the chocolate, and pinch off about 1 tablespoon of filling per truffle. Roll the mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter. If the mixture is too soft to hold its shape, chill for several minutes in refrigerator.
  4. Reserve about 1 ounce of white chocolate for tempering, and about 1 ounce for coloring. Melt the remaining 10 ounces of white chocolate over simmering water in a double boiler until the chocolate is melted and warm but not hot (about 105 degrees F (40 degrees C)). Remove the pan containing the melted chocolate from the double boiler, and add about 1 ounce of chopped, unmelted white chocolate. Stir the chocolate until the unmelted pieces of chocolate melt, and the temperature drops to 80 to 82 degrees F (27 to 28 degrees C)).
  5. Carefully dip each center in the melted white chocolate, and gently place the truffle onto a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper to cool and harden, about 15 minutes.
  6. Melt the remaining 1 ounce of chopped white chocolate over simmering water in a double boiler until the chocolate is melted and warm but not hot. Stir in a very small amount of powdered red food coloring until you get a desired shade of pink. Dip a little colored chocolate out with a spoon, dot each truffle with a pink dot, and allow the pink chocolate dots to set, about 15 minutes.


Sextant said...

A Google search revealed a less inspired translation being used more often than not:

Chocolate Truffles of Venus

Consulting my translator set for English / Italian

chocolate = cioccolato

truffles = tartufi

nipples = capezzoli

In any event the recipe sounds wonderful, and the real name? Quite heavenly.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Most of my knowledge of Italian was gained from watching The Sopranos. I'm just going by Salieri's translation.

Sextant said...

Well it seems that both you and Salieri knew what you were talking about.

If one finds the translation to be excessively risqué, or embarrassing, or perhaps unfitting of proper American family values, why provide a translation at all? Just use the Italian name rather than providing a false translation that better suits one's pretensions of modesty.

Putenesca anyone?

Matthew said...

I will have to try these. You'll have to forgive me if I just roll them in white chocolate and not use the remaining 1 oz and food coloring bit to make them look proper.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Sextant - I hear you, but that's how I first heard them referred to and that's what stuck. One of my family favorites are those peanut butter cookies with the chocolate kiss in the middle. My kids have always called them "tittie cookies". I guess we're just a risque family. It may be a reaction to being a 'church family'.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Matthew - I know lots of people to whom I've given this recipe who have said the same thing. LOL.

Sextant said...

" My kids have always called them "tittie cookies". I guess we're just a risque family. It may be a reaction to being a 'church family'."

And this is why you have hooked me in as a reader. Pious I am not. Keep up the good work.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Tee hee. Thanks, Sextant.

Bill Dilworth said...

There's something similar made for the feast of St Agatha:

Sextant said...

I think I will stick with the notions of capezzoli de Venere.

The story of St Agata and the religious art associated with her martyrdom is quite gruesome. Do google image search on St Agatha.

MarkBrunson said...

Where do you get canned chestnuts?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I get them at my local grocery store. They come in a small can. Not too expensive.

If you take one and wrap a strip of bacon around it and fasten it with a tooth pick, baste it in your favorite BBQ sauce and bake it for 45-60 minutes, you will have a delicious hot appetizer. Yummy.

Alexis Taylor said...

Do not make this recipe. It does not work. I just spent a lot of money and time getting the ingredients and following the directions to a tee. The filling does not solidify enough to dip. I put it in the fridge and freezer to get hard enough to roll into balls, which it did, but the filling just melts and runs and spreads in the white chocolate dipping, even when the white chocolate coating is cooled. The white chocolate dipping is not the right consistency for dipping so I tried to pour it over my truffle filling balls and that looked like an inedible mess. I bought premium brand ingredients and the whole recipe was a disaster.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I'm so sorry, Alexis. They worked for me. And, you're right. They are expensive to make.

Gina said...

Hey, girls, just a word of advice from Northern Italy. Chocolate wasn't used to make sweetmeats in the 18th century, and Salieri does not mention it to Stanzerl in AMADEUS. To make capezzoli di (NOT "de")Venere get some boiled chestnuts (easy here, a problem over there), peel them, mix them with marzipan and the amount of brandy you need untile you get a dough that can be rolled into balls. Mix castor sugar, a drop of red syrup (cherry, raspberry, etc.) or of a liqueur called Alkermes, and very little water. Mix well until it becomes a pale pink cream. Prepare tiny brown balls mixing marzipan and cocoa powder (the nipples). Dip the bigger balls into the sugar icing and top with a "nipple".Let dry for a whole day, in or outside the fridge. That's how we make capezzoli di Venere ! GINA

Anonymous said...

This recipe (and Ginas) doesnt work because boiled or canned chestnuts have way to much water content to be used in chocolates or candies. Capezzoli di Venere are basically cream filled chocolates...if you want your choclates to look classy use a chocolate mold...make cream filling..can be rum flavored...pop them out of the mold and voila! You can put them in mini cupcake papers and in a decorative basically...if you want to make nipples of make cream filled chocolates and put a little dot at the top...thats why you cant find recipes for this online cuz itz just chocolates.