Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Truffles, Chestnuts, and My Stage Debut

Growing up in South Florida meant the "Winter Wonderland" at Christmas time was sand going between your toes while you walked barefoot on the beach.  The closest we got to chestnuts roasting on an open fire was the crackle and pop the LP made as our treasured Nat King Cole Christmas album played the tune on our record player.  My dad is a huge Nat fan and has collected his albums for years.  In fact, I often wondered if that was why his album was the only holiday music we owned growing up-nobody could out do Nat King Cole. 

My dad was also a singer himself.  For several years, my father was asked to be a part of a Living Christmas Tree production in St. Petersburg, Florida.  When I was around 8 or so, I was asked to be a part of the production.  My role was to just sit still on my dad's lap as he sang the old favorite that I had heard every year-The Christmas Song better known as Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.  The night of the performance I was so nervous that my mom kept having to take me to the ladies room.  I was afraid I was going to miss my stage debut due to a nervous bladder! 

Alas, my time had come to go on stage. I remember getting up onto my dad's lap and nervously looking out into the audience when I realized I couldn't even see them.  The lights on stage were so bright that all I could see was their bright beams .  So, I just looked at my dad as he sang my  favorite Christmas song to me and I forgot all about the audience.  I have to say his rendition that night of The Christmas Song was the best I had ever heard-even Nat King Cole couldn't out sing my dad!

My South Florida upbringing didn't allow me to experiment with recipes for roasting chestnuts, but as promised here is my Microwave Chocolate Truffle Recipe.  Some of my readers have emailed me that it has  become their "new favorite" Holiday Recipe-so good and so easy.

Easy Microwave Chocolate Truffles
from Tea with a Twist - All About Chocolate Tea Party

 ½ cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoon butter cut into chunks
2 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
10 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate (60%) I like Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips* (If not using chip, break up chocolate into small pieces)
½ teaspoon salt

Cocoa Mixture

Mix 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa and 1/3 cup powder sugar together. For a saltier taste add 1/8 teaspoon fine salt.

Microwave cream, butter and sugar in 2 quart microwavable glass bowl on high for 1 ½ minutes. Stir well; heat an additional 1 minute longer or until mixture comes to full boil. Stir in vanilla and chocolate into cream mixture until chocolate is completely melted. Add salt and blend. Chill until firm enough to shape into balls about 3 hours. Shape into 1-inch balls. If desired roll truffles in Cocoa Mixture. Another option is to roll in finely ground nuts and salt. Store covered in refrigerator. Makes about 2 dozen.

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