I like to think of myself as a healthy person. I try to eat moderately, I think about exercising almost every day. I try to include something green on the menu at least once a week.
Thus it was that when I packed for our marathon road trip last week that I put in yogurt and granola for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and apples and granola bars to snack on. I know from experience the perils of having tasty snacks in the car - you end up snorking them all up out of sheer boredom. So much better and more sensible to pack light, healthy foods.
That's what I was thinking right up until about hour #8 of the drive. Then I started thinking, "Why didn't I pack some cookies? Cookies would be good about now." Hour #10 I started getting seriously itchy for some chocolate. "Why didn't I pack chocolate? What was I thinking making a drive like this without chocolate?" And by hour #11 I was gripping the steering wheel tightly screaming (inside my head, so as not to freak out my children in the back seat), "Where is the sugar? Why is there no sugar? I need sugar!!" Thankfully, hour #12 was spent navigating construction traffic cones in pitch black through a torrential downpour, so I had no extra thoughts to spare on the appalling lack of sugared items in the car.
I'm back home safe and sound. I can go back to pretending to be healthy, feeling smug because I don't eat Cap'n Sucrose for breakfast. But the veneer has been stripped off. I now know I'm only eight hours away from taking candy from small children, knocking over little old ladies for their chocolate cake, or holding up a bakery for some sugar cookies. So, if you're coming to visit, you might check that I've baked recently. Or it could get ugly.
Deep Dark Chocolate Truffles
adapted from The Great Book of Chocolate by David Lebovitz
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 to 10 oz (225 to 285 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 to 3 tsps cognac, to taste (or other favorite liquor)
4 oz (115 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (50 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream just to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until melted. Add the liquor and pour into a bowl. Let stand for at least 2 hours, or until firm. Alternately, you can cover and refrigerate it until firm, but you'll need to let it warm slightly before scooping.
Dip a melon baller into very warm water, tap off the excess water, and scoop the truffle mixture into 3/4-inch (2-cm) balls and set them on a plate. Once you've scooped all the mixture, roll each one with your hands until it's round.
Chill the truffles thoroughly.
Melt the remaining 4 oz (115 g) chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Spread the cocoa powder in a pie plate.
If you're right-handed, spread some of the melted chocolate into your right hand. (Reverse if left-handed). Pick up a truffle with your clean left and hand place it into your chocolate-covered right hand. Smear chocolate all over the truffle and drop it into the cocoa powder. Repeat until the truffles fill the pie plate, keeping your left hand clean. Shake the pie plate to cover the truffles with cocoa powder, then place them in a strainer to shake off the excess cocoa powder. Repeat with the remaining truffles.
The truffles can be served immediately or kept in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Remove them from the refrigerator 1 hour prior to serving.