29 October 2009

A late night chocolateria

Tonight was a long glorious night. A string of magical moments that had me singing along to my iPod, smiling, dancing and seeming to float just above the ground. With a sprinkle of mother's love, my kids drifted off to dreamland immediately tonight. I crept to the other side of the house, pulled out my supplies, cranked up the music and transformed the kitchen into a full scale chocolateria.

Moments ago, I was up to my elbows in chocolate ganache. I've taken a momentary break to visit my laptop, but will soon be returning to the magic that is roasted cardamom pods, split vanilla beans, toasted chili peppers and cream spiked with bittersweet chocolate. It's just after midnight and a fine veil of bittersweet cocoa powder covers everything within my fluorescent lit kitchen.

With Halloween just a couple of days away and a party on Thursday, my desire to create a spectacular has been stirred. Not that I've been alone in my ventures! My five year old has awaken her inner mischief-maker and has busily been creating orange and black construction paper chains that now line our entryway. My three year old has helped out with the painting of dead plants black and stringing them with cobwebs. And, in a combined effort two home made paper mache pumpkin heads sit atop newspaper stuffed clothing creating welcoming giant pumpkin people. Paper mache ghosts float along the ceiling, orange and black balloons loom over a candy covered haunted gingerbread shack and a pumpkin patch was collaged against our dining room wall. And, at least once a day for the last two weeks, a woodland fairy and a spiderman have donned their attire and practiced their magic spells and web slinging in preparation for October 31.

Now, you might remember from my post of last year that Halloween is not celebrated in Thailand. Prior to our move overseas, I really wasn't overly "into" Halloween. Frankly, it's always kind of seemed like a holiday to get through on the way to my favorite holiday of the year. But, a move overseas seemed to stir some odd desire in me to create a magical dream-like Halloween for my kids. And, so, for our second Halloween in Thailand, I have given into my children's need to fill the house with Halloween schlock and my desire to whip them into a Halloween frenzy.

Okay, back to my truffles. Time to continue dancing to the Monster Mash and whip up another couple dozen pieces of dark chocolate before my little ones awake from dream land. And, when they finally rise, they'll catch the drifting scent of dark chocolate, catch the sparkle of the newly strung fairy lights and the flame of the tiny pumpkin candles as the gauzy ghosts float overhead. Happy Halloween!

Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 68:
Ginger Infused Truffles
Dark bittersweet truffles spiked with just a hint of ginger are one of my favorite types of truffles. In addition to buying the highest quality chocolate you can find, look for the very best heavy cream as well... both ingredients make a huge difference in the final product. A delicious grown-up treat that a whole family of goblins will adore.

1 cup of heavy cream
2 cups of bittersweet chocolate
1/8 teaspoon dried ginger
2 cardamom seeds
a pinch of chili powder
a pinch of salt
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

In a heavy bottom saucepan, heat the cream to lukewarm. Add the cardamom seeds, vanilla beans and pods. Remove from heat and let cool. Remove the cardamom seeds, vanilla pods and reheat the cream to lukewarm. Add the ginger, chili powder and salt. In a mixing bowl, add the chocolate and pour the heated cream mixture over it. Stir gently until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is well combined and glossy. Pour into a shallow-sided baking pan and allow to cool at room temperature for one hour. Cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper and place the newly made ganache in the refrigerator for a minimum of three hours. (The ganache will keep for one week if well covered and refrigerated). When you are ready to create the truffles, place the unsweetened cocoa powder on a large plate. Using a melon baller, scoop the chocolate ganache into balls. Roll in your hands to create a rounder shape and immediately place into the cocoa powder. Roll gently to cover and transfer to a parchment lined baking pan. Once all of the truffles have been created. Place them in the refrigerator until ready to serve. (Or, transfer to the freezer, freeze solid and then transfer to an air tight container. The truffles will stay in the freezer for three months. Defrost before serving.)

Makes approximately 30 truffles, depending on size.


  1. The amazing world of chocolate. I must find some now. You have this amazing way of making us all hungry!

  2. I've been reading your blog for almost a year now and wanted to finally say hello and thank you for a great read.

  3. I check your blog every morning while I'm getting started with work and having my cup of coffee. My favorite entries are the ones like this. Your ability to make everyday into something special is a unique talent. Thank you for sharing it with all of us locked in an office, drinking our morning coffee. I look forward to your next everyday adventure.


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