If you think you are about to read a sweet Valentines Day post, you would be wrong. This is not that kind of story.
As a parent, when your children are young, they idolize you. They think that you can do no wrong and that you have the answers to all of life’s mysteries. But then gradually, that paradigm begins to shift. And there comes that day, usually when your kids are in their teens or early twenties, that they suddenly look at you and think, “My parents are so clueless.” For me, I can pinpoint the exact moment it happened with my oldest son. It was yesterday morning at precisely 6:17 a.m.
Let me back up a minute and go to the beginning of this tale. Wednesday afternoon I was in the bathroom, washing my hands. I went to open the door, but the handle seemed jammed. I twisted, jimmied and turned the handle for several minutes, before coming to the realization that I was locked in the bathroom. I opened my hair accessory drawer and tried to MacGyver my way out. After breaking several hairclips, a comb and some bobby pins, I realized I needed help.
Luckily my oldest son was home. I yelled for him and banged on the door, and eventually he heard me. “How could you possibly get locked in there?” he asked. After explaining to him that kind of comment was not helpful, I sent him to find a screwdriver. He tried to unscrew the handle to get it off, but somehow the screws would not budge. He suggested that perhaps I climb out the window. I was on the second floor, and there was no ledge or roof outside the bathroom window, so I quickly nixed that plan. He offered to get a ladder. I told him to call our handyman. Peter, the handyman, arrived and somehow got the door handle off and rescued me. I left the handle on the bathroom counter to deal with it later.
That night, when my husband came home, I told him what had happened. He asked, “How could you possibly get locked in there?” Why do they ask the unanswerable? We discussed how we would get the lock fixed or replaced and then we went to sleep. Fast forward to 6:00 a.m, when I was roused from a deep slumber by a loud banging from inside our bathroom. I went to the door, and my husband was calling my name.
Unbelievably he had gotten locked inside the bathroom. Of course I could not resist asking, “How could you possibly get locked in there?” Apparently, Peter just removed the handle and not the locking pin mechanism. So when he closed the bathroom drawer, the locking pin got jammed again. We had left the screwdriver in the bathroom the day before so he began fiddling, but nothing was budging. I suggested he remove the hinges and we could try to open the door that way. This was followed by grunting and cursing, but he got the hinges off. I tried to push on the door, but it would not budge. I needed my oldest son’s muscle.
I knocked on his bedroom door, and apologized profusely for waking him up. I explained that his father had gotten himself locked in the bathroom and I needed his assistance. As the realization of what had happened began to dawn on him, I could almost see the little speech bubble forming above his head and the words forming…”These people are idiots!” However, I guess I raised him right because he never actually said the words. He slowly walked down the hall and used his shoulder and hip top give a few good pushes to the door. It finally gave way and my husband was free.
I spent the next few hours, on-line trying to find matching door handle sets, to no avail. I was feeling stressed! I needed to create and it had to be something chocolate.
I needed a complex project to take my mind off the whole bathroom door fiasco. Peanut Butter Sizzle truffles it was. This recipe hails from Andrew Garrison Shotts beautiful book, “Making Artisan Chocolates.” The sizzle in the title refers to a pinch of cayenne pepper in the filling. Just the thing to calm my nerves!
It begins with the making of the “Caramel Crunch”. Sugar and corn syrup are cooked until amber and then poured onto a silpat sheet or some parchment paper. Cover with a second sheet of parchment and roll with a rolling-pin until flat. let harden and then pulverize in the food processor.
Melt some milk chocolate to 88° F. Add smooth peanut butter (not the kind you buy at the health food store), the caramel crunch, some cocoa butter and a pinch of cayenne. I tasted after adding a pinch but felt it needed more. I probably used almost half a teaspoon. It was that kind of day! Let the mixture sit for a few hours until it firms up a bit. Resist the urge to eat it out of the bowl, just like this.
Then spoon it or pipe it out into little mounds and chill for a while. Crush and toast some salted peanuts.
When the mounds are firm (I chilled mine all day), roll them between your hands to form round little balls. Get some bittersweet chocolate ready for dipping. Andrew says to temper the bittersweet chocolate for dipping. Since you are rolling them in peanuts after dipping, it is not absolutely necessary to temper the chocolate. If you are keen to learn to do so, here are some step-by-step instructions. Andrew Garrison Shotts explains the difference between tempered and untempered chocolate beautifully,
“Tempered chocolate sets quickly at room temperature, hardens as it dries, is shiny and brittle, shrinks slightly as it sets (and therefore releases easily from a mold), has a smooth mouth-feel, and once set, holds it’s luster and shape at room temperature for extended amounts of time without melting.”
Or if you actually have a tempering machine, now would be the time to break it out! I have been dreaming of having my own ever since visiting here, so I finally broke down and bought one.
The outside is salty and crunchy from the chopped peanuts. Then you bite through the dark bittersweet shell and inside you discover the sweet creamy peanut butter filling, with a bit of crunch from the caramel. It’s not until after you swallow that you get the bit of heat from the cayenne, right at the back of your throat. A pleasant little sizzle. Just the thing to calm the nerves! I think I may have to stash a supply of these in the bathroom, just in case!