Sometimes, things that happen in my life leave me speechless. And, as anyone who knows me can attest, moments when I have nothing to say are very rare. My work week started with such a moment at my favorite coffee place ...
All employees of The Berkshire Eagle wear ID badges with our photos and names; newsroom people have a second badge that also has our photo, name and the word "Press" in a black-bordered box at the top. On Monday morning, I slipped the lanyard with the two badges on as I went out the door at home, leaving it dangling outside my jacket.
As I was getting my coffee, I noticed a middle-aged woman staring intently at my "Press" badge. I shrugged it off, thinking she recognized me from my photo or byline in the paper, or maybe I had once interviewed her for a story.
She came toward me and I waited for her to speak. Instead, she reached out and jabbed her index finger on my badge. As I waited for her to rail on me for "fake news," she drew her finger back and jabbed at my badge again. I again waited for her rants and raves. She looked at me in disgust and said crossly, "Nothing happened. Why wear something that says 'Press' if it doesn't do anything when it is pressed?"
I stood there with my mouth hanging open. Maybe she was joking, or, perhaps she was mentally handicapped, but it didn't seem like either was the case. Maybe I should have done jumping jacks or burst into song when she pressed it, so she wouldn't have been so disappointed ...
For a last-minute Valentine's gift, I recommend making these decadent truffles for your sweetheart. The love of my life, however, prefers dog biscuits ...
(Courtesy of Hershey's Kitchen)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1/2 cup cocoa or powdered sugar for rolling
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Add cocoa; stir until smooth. Add sweetened condensed milk; increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes or until mixture has pudding-like consistency and is smooth and glossy.
Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Cover; refrigerate 3 to 4 hours or until firm. Shape into 1-1/4-inch balls; roll in cocoa or powdered sugar. Refrigerate until firm, 1 to 2 hours. Store, covered, in refrigerator. About 2-1/2 dozen candies.
Nut truffles: Add 3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans to chocolate mixture when adding vanilla. (To toast pecans: Heat oven to 375 F. Spread 3/4 cup pecan halves or pieces in a single layer in ungreased shallow baking pan. Bake 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool before chopping.)
Rum nut truffles: Decrease vanilla to 1 teaspoon. Stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons rum (or 1 teaspoon rum extract) and nuts.
Espresso truffles: Decrease vanilla to 1 teaspoon. Stir in 1 1/4 teaspoons powdered instant espresso or instant coffee when adding vanilla. Roll balls in cocoa or chopped nuts.