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Living and Learning with Hearing Loss|
Many years ago, before I was able to afford my first hearing aids and my work options were limited, I supported myself by working as a chocolate truffle maker. What might seem like a glamorous job to the outside world was hard, back-straining manual labor on what were often thirteen- and fourteen-hour days, especially right before the December holidays and Valentine’s Day.
When I would come home after chopping hundreds of pounds of chocolate and whisking gallon after gallon of Willy Wonka-inspired yumminess, eating chocolate was the last thing that I wanted to do. But I am a stereotypical female, and when stress hits I turn to chocolate. It never fails to soothe every single one of my senses.
Chocolate products—especially dark chocolate and unprocessed cocoa—are also thought to be beneficial to the cardiovascular system because they contain flavonoids, substances that have antioxidant properties that protect against cellular damage. Because chocolate is high in fat and calories, portion control is important, but for most people it is fine to indulge in this form of decadence as an occasional treat.6
While I can find a lot of gourmet chocolate out there, and some pretty “out there” flavors, too, the purist in me has always favored the simple classics. Here is a foolproof recipe for sinfully delicious chocolate truffles that you can make with grocery store ingredients and equipment that you probably already have in your kitchen.
Double Chocolate Truffles
Preparation overview: Fifteen minutes of active cooking time, then overnight refrigeration and then thirty minutes to finish the recipe.
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1. Empty the chocolate chips into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
2. Pour the cream into a 2- or 3-quart heavy saucepan. Add the butter to the cream and place the saucepan over medium-high heat.
3. Bring the cream and butter to a boil, whisking frequently. Watch the mixture so that it does not boil over.
4. When the cream and butter have reached the boiling point, carefully pour the mixture over the chocolate in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a cookie sheet for about five minutes, to allow the chocolate to melt.
5. Using the whisk, stir the mixture—called ganache—until the cream is completely incorporated into the chocolate and the ganache is perfectly smooth. Start slowly so that you don’t splash the cream all over the counter. As the cream and butter meld together, you can whisk more vigorously. The ganache will contain a few air bubbles.
6. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber scraper or a “spoonula” to make sure that all of the chocolate is melted. Then whisk in the vanilla extract. Taste the ganache and add more vanilla if desired.
7. Seal the bowl with foil and refrigerate overnight, or until firm.
8. The next day, cover your counter with waxed paper to make cleanup easy. Empty the cocoa powder or sweet ground chocolate into a pie plate or other shallow dish. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper.
9. Using a melon baller or other small kitchen scoop, portion slightly rounded balls of the ganache from the bowl. Roll each one into a smooth ball using your hands, and then roll the smooth balls in the cocoa powder or sweet ground chocolate until completely coated. You can wear latex or vinyl gloves to make the rolling less messy. Place the truffles onto the cookie sheet so that they are not touching.
10. To serve, arrange the truffles on a pretty plate, or place each truffle in a paper candy cup and wrap several in a cellophane bag to give as a gift.
11. Refrigerate until ready to serve or give. If you have competing nonchocolate flavors such as onions or garlic in the refrigerator, transfer the truffles to an airtight container. The truffles will keep fresh in the refrigerator for one week. Truffles can also be frozen for up to two months; thaw covered in the refrigerator overnight.