Thursday, December 15, 2005

Death By Chocolate

Help! Save Me! I'm expanding hip deep in chocolate!

Normally, I wouldn't put out such a plea. Normally, I squirrel away my stash of the good stuff and eat it when I don't have to feel guilty about not sharing. But Christmas is not a normal time in our household and when the air turns frosty, like a compass pointing north, every fiber of my being becomes focused on making candies. Specifically, truffles, toffee and fudge of every and any flavor. Well not every flavor, but before it's time for the school bus in the morning I can whip up a mean batch of kahlua, ginger, jalopeno, or chocolate cherry fudge and still get the girls out on time.

Last year I swore I wouldn't go down this rocky road, that I'd save myself the hassle of trying to lose this holiday 20, as well as last's. But as Christmas drew closer I found myself, without thinking, writing on the shopping list: sweet and condensed milk, heavy cream, butter and more butter. (I buy all my chocolates from Mountain Man.)

So, with the ingredients in house, I was determined to be strong. Make the candies, not eat them and give them all away.

For the batch of Kahlua fudge I did just that. Made it, cut it up and put it in the freezer. Okay, I admit I sampled a few crumbs. But I had to. How else would I be able to answer the question, "Is it good this year?" I had to do some research, at least that is what I told myself.

Next was the toffee. I managed to make one batch, that safely saw the inside of the refrigerator. I didn't taste any. Instead I had my three official toffee piglets handle the horrible task. After three pieces each, they deemed it adequate, as they reached for more. I rescued the rest for Christmas giving. And last week I made a double batch. From this I have been pinching the small pieces. Afterall, who wants a piece of toffee less than three square inches? With a clear conscience I'm making this sacrafice.

Finally the truffles; and as my obit will read, "She died with the sweet scent of chocolate on her breath." Really I tried. I ate one when I made them, just to make sure I had added the right amount of Port, (it's perfect). And then I was fine. I could tune out their gentle calling from the back of the refrigerator. I wasn't tempted at all until today.

Today, I took them out to put together a "Thank You" gift for the designer who had drawn up the plans for our new kitchen. He was coming over to see the final (sans paint -- because I am the painter and I've too busy making candies) product and of course get paid.

He asked if I had been enjoying the new stove and in turn I asked him if he wanted a truffle. As he let the confection melt in his mouth I thought I saw his knees buckle a bit as his eyes rolled back into his head. I asked if he wanted some to take along to his family and he said sure.

Still, when he left I wondered if he was just being polite. Or maybe my truffle defenses were down, but I knew I had to try them to make sure they were okay. The first one, bathed my taste buds with wonderful chocolate. But was it too sweet? I'd have to try another. As the second one melted I knew that the sweetness was fine, but was the powdered cocoa too thick? The third gave me my answer, No, but I wondered if maybe something a little stronger than Port was required. The fourth one sent me into a coma. And as I slipped away I couldn't image a better way to go.


Idiot Cook said...

Hey....this piece is EXCELLENT. Really. SEND it to the TAB!!! I know there's no $$$ but it will be another CLIP!!!!

P.H. said...

Thank you thank you thank you...
I'm bringing candies tonight. :-)

Anonymous said...

ohmigoodness! these sound delectable, love that line about your obit.

And you worked in the word "squirrel"! Am I having an influence on your writing???


P.H. said...

Yes, SW you are having an influence.