The perfect Christmas gift

my homemade truffles

my homemade truffles

As I exited the library the display of cookbooks, each with “chocolate” in its title, stopped me cold. I’d been struggling to think of Christmas gifts I could make. The books provided me an instant answer. This year I would make truffles.

I checked out two over-sized books with beautifully photographed chocolate desserts on their covers. I started my explorations with the book that had “couture” in its title? Among the truffle choices? Matcha and pistachio, malt whiskey and dacquoise, sake and kinako, cassis and hibiscus, mostly names I couldn’t pronounce. The recipes called for ingredients I’d never heard of — invert sugar and Neige Decor — and baking tools and supplies — silicone baking paper, a pastry bag, palette knife, and a dipping fork — I didn’t own. Did I mention that half my kitchen tools are forty-two-year-old wedding gifts?

I preferred to start with familiar ingredients and names I could pronounce, so I turned to the second book. This featured “raw cacao superfood” truffles in a recipe that called for  three tablespoons of lucuma. Others required ingredients I recognized– ancho chili powder, curry powder, garam masala and cardamom pods — but I didn’t want these flavors to interfere with the unrivaled taste of pure, dark chocolate.

In desperation I set the books aside and checked on-line, where I found a recipe with five easy-to-pronounce ingredients I could pick up at the grocery store. The recipe required two bowls, a wooden spoon, measuring spoons and cups, and a saucepan. Prep and finishing time: 15 minutes. Cooking time:  5 minutes: Cooling time: three hours. Results: delicious dark-chocolate truffles smothered in cocoa powder.

I tested my creations out as possible Christmas gifts by taking a few to friends to sample. If they liked the samples, I would wrap and deliver larger quantities later. As I expected, my simple dark chocolate samples were a big hit. My friends so enjoyed them that they immediately asked for the recipe. They plan to make them for the holidays.

I’m thumbing through the chocolate cookbooks again, searching for the perfect homemade Christmas gift. Mendiants, chocolate olive oil glazes, Nesselrode pie anyone?









About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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3 Responses to The perfect Christmas gift

  1. travelnwrite says:

    Loved this! (but I would like to note that I hope you saved some samples because I didn’t get to try any of the test run).

  2. I loved reading this, made me homesick for the chilly northwest winter and quality chocolate!

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