I used to sing. A long time ago. A really, really long time ago.
These days, I rock out to Radio Disney to amuse or embarrass my kids (more often the latter), but there was a time when I sang in earnest. I never had any wild aspirations, but from the age of eight till my days in graduate school, I was always committed to singing in some organized form or fashion. Way before Glee was considered hip, I loved performing on a stage, whether it was choruses, musicals, or repertory companies. In college, I found myself auditioning for an acapella group without even knowing what a cappella groups did, and as dorky as it may sound to some of you, back then, it was actually really cool. Like many colleges on the East Coast, a cappella groups at my school had a weird cult-like campus following, and I had such an amazing time and made some really wonderful friends. I still keep in touch with many of them, and have found that there is a fraternal camaraderie that lasts long past graduation.
When I moved to Chicago for grad school, I knew two people, both of whom were alumni of my a cappella group. One of them I knew well, but the other I knew just by name, Marsha, since she had graduated several years before me. But she welcomed me to Chicago with open arms and even an apartment guest room. It was during one of my early visits to her place as I was getting myself settled that I discovered that Marsha was a true foodie and a whiz in the kitchen. She opened her freezer and offered me a chocolate truffle, and I remember looking at her incredulously when she told me she made it herself.
They were Chocolate Raspberry Truffles, and it was love at first bite. When I took that first nibble, a candied chorus sang a sweet harmony of chocolate and raspberry notes, and I immediately asked where she got the recipe. Imagine my dismay when she showed me the cookbook, only to learn that it was no longer in print! But I knew: I need this cookbook. It became a mission to find a copy, and I did indeed manage to find one.
This is the perfect dessert. You can make it in advance, store it for a long time, and it can be dressed up or dressed down with ease. It’s just as well suited to a casual lunch dessert with friends as it is after a romantic evening for two. Or you can eat it all by yourself. Whatever the occassion, they won’t last long. You may even find yourself singing arias about them.
Chocolate Raspberry Truffles
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
- 3 tablespoons raspberry liqueur or framboise
- 1/3 cup sugar
Melt butter and chocolate in the bowl of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl set over a shallow pan of simmering water. Stir well until fully melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the jam and liqueur until fully incorporated. Pour the chocolate into a shallow pan (a 9×12 inch pan works fine), cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours, until very firm. Working with completely firm chocolate* is critical, so be patient.
When chocolate is firm, use a teaspoon or small ice cream scoop to create 1-inch pieces, shaping them into balls with your hands. Drop the chocolate pieces into the sugar, coating well. Return the truffles to the refrigerator to chill up to 30 minutes prior to serving. You may store them for up to two weeks, covered, in the refrigerator or up to 4 months in the freezer. Allow to defrost before serving. I like to refresh the coat of sugar before plating, as well.
* The first time I attempted this recipe, I made it on a hot summer day in a non-air conditioned apartment. Big mistake! The chocolate is much harder to handle when it is melting!