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Valentine's Day at my high school was big. Various clubs would set up fundraising candy grams. My teacher would have a pile of chocolates waiting to be distributed. It was fun seeing which girl got the most. Then there are those girls who always get bouquets of flowers, and for some reason they had to carry the bouquets to every class.
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My friends and I would send each other chocolate grams. Sometimes they would write "From your secret admirer. I love you, Jenn", leaving me trying to decipher whose handwriting it is.
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Secretly, I was slightly (just a little bit) jealous of those girls who got flowers. I daydreamed that I had a real secret admirer who was too shy to send me flowers. It was important for some to show their love, even at a young age of 15. Pretty sweet actually, now that I think about it. The thought that someone likes or even loves me gives me a warm feeling.
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I still think Valentine's Day is a commercial holiday, the only best part about it is the day-after-chocolate-sale. Why wait until Valentine's Day to show someone that you love them? Why not today?
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I got Cook's Illustrated for Christmas. It is probably the best cooking resource I have ever read. The first issue I got had chocolate truffles (click for recipe or see below). I got creative with the chocolate by mixing half unsweetened and milk chocolate. Turned out pretty yummy. I would definitely not skip parchment-lining in 8x8 pans. It was not easy getting ganache out of my silicon pan. Also, use lots of cocoa powder on hands when rolling these out. Although they don't look too appetizing, homemade chocolate dessert is Always worth the time.
Published January 1, 2012. From Cook's Illustrated.
Makes 64 truffles.
- 2cups (12 ounces) bittersweet chocolate , roughly chopped
- 1/2cup heavy cream
- 2tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/2teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 1 1/2tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 8 pieces and softened
- 1cup (3 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa
- 1/4cup (1 ounce) confectioners' sugar
- 1. FOR THE GANACHE: Lightly coat 8-inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray. Make parchment sling by folding 2 long sheets of parchment so that they are as wide as baking pan. Lay sheets of parchment in pan perpendicular to each other, with extra hanging over edges of pan. Push parchment into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing flush to pan.
- 2. Microwave chocolate in medium bowl at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until mostly melted and few small chocolate pieces remain, 2 to 3 minutes; set aside. Microwave cream in measuring cup until warm to touch, about 30 seconds. Stir corn syrup, vanilla, and salt into cream and pour mixture over chocolate. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, set aside for 3 minutes, and then stir with wooden spoon to combine. Stir in butter, one piece at a time, until fully incorporated.
- 3. Using rubber spatula, transfer ganache to prepared pan and set aside at room temperature for 2 hours. Cover pan and transfer to refrigerator; chill for at least 2 hours. (Ganache can be stored, refrigerated, for up to 2 days.)
- 4. FOR THE COATING: Sift cocoa and sugar through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl. Sift again into large cake pan and set aside.
- 5. Gripping overhanging parchment, lift ganache from pan. Cut ganache into sixty-four 1-inch squares (8 rows by 8 rows). (If ganache cracks during slicing, let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes and then proceed.) Dust hands lightly with cocoa mixture to prevent ganache from sticking and roll each square into ball. Transfer balls to cake pan with cocoa mixture and roll to evenly coat. Lightly shake truffles in hand over pan to remove excess coating. Transfer coated truffles to airtight container and repeat until all ganache squares are rolled and coated. Cover container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week. Let truffles sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.