As it gets closer and closer to Christmas, I debate whether or not to leave my home at all. Ordering online has made it very easy for me to do my shopping (just have to get the packages delivered, but that’s a whole different thing). So many people are clogging up the stores and transit and they are NOT in the Christmas spirit. One theory I’ve heard is that people won’t get all Christmasy until there is snow here. Myself, I’d be just as happy not to see any snow until February or March… 2024.
Maybe if these shoppers had seen the study done by Swiss researchers which found that when agitated people ate dark chocolate every day for two weeks their stress levels dropped, they could start eating some around the middle of November and sail through the holiday season. I’m not stressed, and surely that’s because I have a good amount of dark chocolate in my system at all times.
To maintain my holly jolly mood and to get my shoulders unhunched after my last outing, I made truffles. They’re an easy treat to make and, as the recipe claims, the rolling can be quite relaxing. Listening to some jazzy Christmas music by Oscar Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald didn’t hurt either. The downside is that I exhausted my reserve of chocolate, so will have to go out into the world again before Christmas has passed.
This is how it went:
Got the required amount of dark chocolate.
Then chopped it so it would melt more easily.
Got the other ingredients ready.
Heated the cream, then poured it over the chocolate and butter.
Whisked that until the chocolate melted.
Added the brandy after sampling some to be sure it was okay. Also good for relieving stress.
That mixture went into the refrigerator for a while, then the chocolate mixture was scooped out and onto a cookie sheet.
Those went back into the fridge again. Then they were rolled and dropped into either cocoa powder or nonpareils.
Rows of truffles.
This recipe is from the Williams Sonoma website:
Truffles are easy to prepare and can be stored in the freezer (well wrapped) for at least 3 months. They are also fun to make—sitting around chatting and rolling can be quite relaxing. Listen to the Beatles’ song “Savoy Truffle” as you make them!
1 cup heavy cream
12 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tbsp. brandy
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the cream until very hot but not quite simmering. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and butter until they are melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the brandy and whisk until a smooth ganache forms. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop level tablespoonfuls of the chilled ganache and place on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Spread the cocoa powder on a plate. Using your hands, shape each tablespoonful of ganache into a ball or a log 1 1/2 inches long. Roll in the cocoa powder and return the truffles to the baking sheet.
Refrigerate the truffles for at least 30 minutes to firm them up. Remove them from the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving. Makes 4 dozen truffles.
Vary the flavour:
Toasted coconut: Replace the cocoa powder with 1/2 cup flaked coconut, toasted.
Cinnamon sugar: Replace the cocoa powder with 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon mixed into 1/2 cup sugar.
Praline: Replace the cocoa powder with 1/2 cup finely chopped peanut brittle.
Pink peppercorn: After rolling the truffles in the cocoa powder, gently press a small pinch of finely ground pink peppercorns into the top of each truffle.
Sea salt: After rolling the truffles in the cocoa powder, gently press a small pinch of Maldon or other flaky sea salt into the top of each truffle.