Let the Baking Begin …

Let the Baking Begin …

Because too many of the people on my Christmas list read my blog, I can’t be too specific — but let’s say that this weekend is all about baking — cookies, cake, pate (well, it’s baked anyhow) and chocolate-chile truffles for my grandmother — I have a hunch that it might be another lost weekend as far as writing goes, since there’s so much to do, and my favorite children are back in town. It’s the holiday rush!

And although it sounds a little hectic — I’m looking forward to a house full of cinnamon and cardamon and cloves. I’m looking forward to packing cookies in little cellophane bags and figuring out how to ship some other goodies I don’t want to be too specific about. I love the idea of my far-away friends and family opening boxes of goodies and having something fun to share on Christmas Eve or Day when I can’t be with them.

So HO HO HO everyone … time to decorate the tree and get out the sprinkles and shiny silver ball decors that they tell you you’re not supposed to eat but whatever. Time to shred more paper for packing and put the little freezer packs in to get cold. Time to dig out the Christmas music — Dean Martin, Rosie Clooney, and my all-time favorite The Rat Pack Christmas.

2 thoughts on “Let the Baking Begin …

  1. I don’t really use a recipe — I sort of wing it (big surprise). Anyhow — the ratio I start with is about a pound of the best chocolate you can buy — I like bittersweet — to a pint of heavy cream (Organic Valley works well and doesn’t have any artificial thickeners in it). Chop the chocolate into bits and put in a big bowl. Heat the cream until it just starts to foam up around the edges — you don’t want it to boil — you can do this in the microwave if you want. While the cream is heating up, I generally add a splash of Grand Marinier, a pinch of salt, and some ground chile to the chocolate. I think the last time I added about a teaspoon of ground ancho for that nice sweet smoky but not hot chile flavor, and then a little sprinkle of cayenne for some heat. Like one quick shake of cayenne — you have to kind of judge it for yourself — it’s important to know how hot your chile is, for one thing, because they vary — and then how hot do your people like things? These are for my 96 year old granny, and her taste buds are sort of shot, so I like to give her a little zap of flavor — but not so hot that it’s overwhelming. What you want is that nice little tingle in the back of your throat. So, when the cream is hot, pour it over the chocolate and stir until it all gets glossy and smooth — it’s sort of fun to watch. Then put some plastic wrap over the bowl and refrigerate until it gets stiff. A melon baller works well for scooping out the truffles and for these ones, I like rolling them in cinnamon sugar — plain old granulated sugar for that crunch with as much cinnamon in it as you like. They’re yummy, and my funny granny really likes them …

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