Balls and Machines / by Anne

one truffle When is the last time I have waited for something to come to my house with such elated impatience? I'm thinkin' Christmas, the single digit years.  I'm getting a chocolate tempering machine.  Not a big one, but one that will easily help me dip a decent batch of truffles.  I am dying for it to arrive!

I keep picturing the process that's coming up this weekend: The dark and light spirals of chocolate and cream slowly smoothing together.  The yielding softness of buttery ganache as I gently coax truffles into roundess with my palms.  The satisfying plop of a naked truffle dropping into perfectly tempered chocolate, arising from its bath, fully enrobed in darkness and gleaming like a pearl.   Have you felt just-barely-melted chocolate in your hands lately?  It could seriously be a spa treatment.  I would like the chocolate facial, please.  

Last Monday, sitting next to Rosalie at the play-dough table at her preschool, I looked down at what my hands had been doing while I was talking to her.  Scattered on the table were many small, perfectly round spheres, each approximately one inch in diameter.  "Huh," I realized. "I'm making play-dough chocolate truffles again." 

It's time to come to grips with the fact that I subconsciously make truffles all the time.   Looking over the appetizer menu for the upcoming event, I hope I didn't include too many balls.  Will anyone notice all my savories that are actually confections in disguise?

I'm not a sweet tooth, I keep reminding myself.  I'm not a sweet tooth.  But more and more it seems like I've been unfairly ignoring baking and confections.  Many excuses come up whenever I consider practicing pastries. 

First, I don't wanna eat sweets.  I like salad! Cheese! Sushi!  Second, as I'm repeatedly reminded, confections and pastries are full of details and exactitude and chemistry.  I appreciate the details in theory, but sometimes details send me into a claustrophobic wet paper bag that I try to punch my way out of with some act of messy rebellion.   And then there's the whole random thing.  We've been noticing that our daughter is a methodical soul, just like her dad.  Definitely not like her mom. 

I was just remarking to Michael the other night that it almost hurts me to be methodical in my actions.  It's nearly impossible!  I try to do it all the time, but then that brain lightning hits and my feet run me across the room to do something completely unrelated and somehow completely necessary.  "Well, why are you trying to be methodical, anyway?" my wise and logical husband wondered.  Oh, I don't know.  To see if I can?  Isn't it supposed to be efficient or something?  And then there's the truffles!  And the science! And the exact temperatures! 

Where will this tempering machine take me? I can't wait to find out.  Oh, please show up soon!  I'll be waiting here, making play-dough balls.