Day 138 – National Chocolate Covered Anything Day

I’m going to admit this right away – I took the easy way out on this one.  Blame it on the cold, but I just didn’t feel like going all out today (or at least out of our house).  Jack Frost nipped at the wrong guy.  But I did make chocolate covered peanut butter balls, and that’s not so easy.  I’m just not bringing anything new to the party.  At the end of the day, I’m ok with that.

For a few moments today, I thought I could have fun with this holiday.  It’s Chocolate Covered Anything Day.  Anything!?!?  I could simply melt some chocolate and get to dipping things in chocolate?  Bananas.  Popcorn.  Potato Chips.  Cashews.  They all work.  Even grapes or strawberries.  Then of course my dark passenger (he’s my Dexter inspired inner being that brings the twisted ideas I get to my head), he was telling me to get a little creative.  Chocolate covered pickles?  Chocolate covered ambrosia?  How about some nice chocolate covered butter?  You could make any of those things look really tasty by enrobing them in a layer of shiny chocolate so any unsuspecting guest would reach for a try.  That would be fun to watch.

The problem was that supplies here at home base were running low.  I know I go to Clements Market almost every day, but I am usually picking up what I need for that day.  So I found myself today in need of actual grocery shopping and with the thermometer reading single digits, it wasn’t my priority.  We had milk, we had coffee.  I even had a steak  ready to cook for dinner.  There was just nothing I could really cover in chocolate.  The popcorn route was most intriguing to me.  I would pop the corn and then lay it out on a sheet pan and sprinkle it with milk and white chocolate.  Maybe a sprinkle of sea salt too.  But alas, we had no corn for popping.

In the end I decided to make my peanut butter balls.  To be honest, it was the most practical solution because there’s always a need for those balls around this time of year.  They are good to have on hand to help spread some cheer.  Plus I had all the ingredients at the ready.  So I could celebrate the holiday, not leave the house and end up with something that I was going to have to make this week anyway.  A win win.

Peanut Butter, confectionary sugar, butter and Rice Krispies.  That’s all I needed (plus some chocolate).  I just realized that between the cupcakes from yesterday and the peanut butter balls, I just went through 3 pounds of sugar.  It really is the most wonderful time of the year.  Here’s a question for all fans of my balls: I happened to have a box of Christmas Captain Crunch cereal on hand.  Do you think if I could have used that instead of the Rice Krispies?  Discuss.  In any case, the balls come together quite quickly and once you make the batter and roll them in to balls, you just let them chill in the fridge.  That’s what I did and then later after dinner, I dunked them in some chocolate that I had melted in a double boiler along with some paraffin wax (for a little sheen).  Balls were done.

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Lola had one (purely as a test) and she approved so once again, my balls are a success.  What can I say about this celebration?  Well, I did celebrate it and had I not just made these balls a few weeks ago, I would have been excited to tell you about my chocolate dunking.  But I feel like I gave you a repeat tonight.  The good news is that we now have two plates of fresh balls at our house which is a good thing to have heading into the week ahead.  PB Balls really have shown me what it takes to cover anything in chocolate.  It taught me how to melt chocolate (slowly and never on direct heat).  It taught me that what ever is being covered needs to be firm or chilled otherwise it will fall apart in the melted chocolate.  And I have also learned that it takes patience and time.  There’s no quick solution until that day when someone buys me that industrial enrobing machine I’ve been waiting for (someone write Milton Hershey to see if he’s got one he’s throwing away).  In any case, I’ve learned about it and become practiced in the art of chocolate covering, so I really did give this holiday the celebration it deserved.  I just wish I had a made a few chocolate covered pickles that I could bring to the next holiday party.

Next Up: National Maple Syrup Day 

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