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Agnes Repplier, an astute observer of life and writer of elegant essays, once observed that whereas the dark and unpleasant side of this world is often portrayed as the profound one, it really is just the obvious one.  The individual who can look into the world and find the lovely, the beautiful and the joyful is the one who has looked into life deeply, truly and well.  Discovering happiness and sharing it with others is a gift.

Making food that others will appreciate is a small and honest way of contributing to the sum total of joy in life.  Here is a recipe nicely suited to the aim of making people happy.

May the twin blessings of giving and receiving joy be yours throughout this Christmas season.

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Chocolate Snowballs (for 8 people)

Note:  To print this recipe, or any other diplomatickitchen recipe, go to the bottom of the page, at the end of the post, and click on the icon: Print & PDF. You will have the option of printing in smaller text size and without photos.

A Timing Note:  Chocolate Snowballs must be cooled and refrigerated for at least 8 hours or overnight.  The Snowballs are best when, after they are scooped into bowls cold, they have time to stand at room temperature for a little while–perhaps during an interval between dinner and dessert when everyone is still enjoying their wine–but this isn’t essential.

A Note About Quantitites:  The recipe is included in the diplomatickitchen’s New Year’s Celebration Menu, which is designed to adapt for 2, 4, or 6 people.  There will be a few extra Snowballs, if the number of diners is between 2 and 6.  But never mind…the Snowballs keep well refrigerated and will be a nice  to share with a friend some afternoon with coffee.

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  • 10 ounces of Dark Chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup Heavy Cream for mixing into the chocolate once it is melted, plus  2 cups of Heavy Cream for whipping and serving on the finished dessert
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup Milk
  • 1 and 1/4 cups of Granulated White Sugar
  • 12 Tablespoons (6 ounces) of Butter, cut in pieces and softened, plus a little more to grease the baking dish
  • 5 large Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of Vanilla to add when making the dessert, plus 1 teaspoon of Vanilla to flavour the Whipped Cream served on the Snowballs
  • 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar


  • a heavy, 3-quart size Baking Dish with high sides, at least 4-inches deep:  The dessert rises quite a bit as it bakes.
  • a Double Boiler or Homemade Bain Marie made with a pot partially filled with water and a bowl that fits snugly into the rim of it:  A photograph of a homemade bain marie is here in this previous diplomatickitchen post.
  • a Mixing Bowl and either a Hand-held Mixer or a Standing Mixer and Bowl
  • a small Ice Cream Scoop

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1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Butter the baking dish.

2.  In the top of the double boiler or the bowl of the homemade bain marie, combine the chopped chocolate, 1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup of heavy cream and 1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup of milk and melt the chocolate, without stirring, over water simmering in the bottom part of the double boiler or the pot.

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3.  Transfer the melted chocolate mixture to a bowl and mix in the sugar.  Then, beat in the butter, a piece at a time.  Next, beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Finally, add the vanilla.

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4.  Pour the mixture into the buttered baking dish…

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…and bake it at 350 F for 1 hour.

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5.  Cool the dessert completely and cover it loosely.  (Completely cooling the dessert before covering it loosely will help prevent condensation on the inside of the cover.)  Chill the baked snowball mixture for at least 8 hours or overnight.

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6.  Arrange dessert bowls or stemmed, wide-mouth glasses on the counter beside the bowl of Snowball mixture.  Scoop out snowballs with the ice cream scoop and place them (2 – 3 depending on the size of the scoop) in each bowl or glass.  (If it is convenient, let the bowls of Chocolate Snowballs stand at room temperature for a little while to soften a bit.  This isn’t essential, and the Snowballs will soften some in any case as you whip the cream.)

7.  Whip the 2 cups of heavy cream until it forms soft peaks.  Then beat in the powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla.

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8.  Spoon some of the sweetened whipped cream over each dessert and serve them.

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The First Note:  Chocolate Snowballs is served for Dessert in the Dinner Menu:  New Year’s Celebration for the Romantic, the Introvert, the Homebody ~ a Dinner for 2, 4, or 6.  It is an adaptation of a recipe that appeared in the ‘You Asked for It’ feature of Gourmet magazine in June 1986 and was originally served at ‘Sammy’s’ restaurant in Cleveland.

A Second Note:  Agnes Repplier wrote about ‘The Gayety of Life’ in one of her books of essays, Compromises (1904).  In her day, Miss Repplier was much appreciated for her thoughtful views and much of what she wrote may still be read with enjoyment and profit.  Compromises, as well as several other of her works, may be read here on the Internet Archive.

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012