When Becky sent me an email with the subject line “big question,” I was fairly worried. About what, I’m not entirely sure – it seemed unlikely that she was going to ask me to move in with her, give her money, or ask to take things to the next level. Still, it was a little daunting. So, when I opened the email (with faint trepidation) and found out that the big question was whether or not I would help her with a bake sale, I was relieved. In my book, “bake sale?” is a very small, easily answered question, with the answer being “absolutely.”
Becky is working with an organization called Promise of Play to build a new playground at the Durham Crisis Response Center, a shelter and support center for victims of domestic and sexual abuse. Although I’ve never really found my calling when it comes to service, I think this project is one of the coolest I’ve heard of. The idea of kids having a safe, happy place to play while their parents attend meetings and therapy sessions really strikes a chord with me – I can’t imagine having been a kid without being surrounded by a feeling of safety and joy, and any opportunity to give a child without that privilege a brief sense of safety and fun is so important. Additionally, the playground will be dedicated to the memory of my classmate Drew Everson, who passed away this fall. Drew and I weren’t close friends, but we shared a class freshman year and always said “hi” to each other on the path. The whole campus really struggled with his death, and with finding an appropriate way to remember him. To me, at least, Drew embodied playfulness – he was always ready with a smile or a joke or to run off on an adventure with whoever would accompany him – and I can’t think of a more perfect way to remember him than by sharing the joy he seemed to experience so constantly through the simple act of play.
DPS and PlayTime2011 will be tabling on the plaza every day this week in order to try and meet their fundraising goal before the playground build next week. (For more information on the build or to sign-up, see the PlayTime2011 Facebook page). Which is where I come in. Every day I hope to have 2 or 3 treats ready for the tabling crew, with all proceeds going to the playground. I’m pretty excited about this, and no way was I sticking with chocolate chip cookies and brownies – so you should be excited too. To start things off, on Monday there will be Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, Mini Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumbles, and these Chocolate-Peanut Butter Truffles that you see all around. I haven’t finished the cupcakes or the crumbles yet, so I won’t make any claims as to their deliciousness, but these truffles… they are really good. Like, really really good. Personally, I think they’re better than Reeses, and I really like Reeses. In fact, for those of you who have ever been to Sweet Mimi’s… I think they’re as good as Wows. Yep, I went there. They’re a bit time consuming to make, but the final product is totally worth it – I’ve been having a hard time limiting myself to the one or two I’m allowed for quality control purposes. Don’t believe me? Try for yourself! Come by the plaza Monday and snag one or two of these before I end up buying them all back. And be sure to stop back throughout the week to see if I’ve come up with anything else worthwhile!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles
Adapted from Food Network. Makes about 70 truffles.
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 1 c. smooth peanut butter
- 12 oz. white chocolate
- 18 oz. semisweet chocolate
- pretzels, sea salt, turbinado sugar, for decorating
- Heat white chocolate just until melted. Mix peanut butter and white chocolate in large bowl until smooth. Set aside.
- Scald cream over medium heat. Pour into a small bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes or freeze for 10, until chilled. Mix chilled cream with peanut butter and white chocolate. Cover and store filling in fridge for 24 hours.
- Use a melon-baller or teaspoon to scoop out balls of the chilled filling. Place in rows on a baking sheet. Freeze baking sheet for 10 minutes, until balls are firm. In the meantime, heat water in a large saucepan (filled 1/3 of the way) over low heat, then melt semi-sweet chocolate in a smaller saucepan over it (double boiler). Heat chocolate just until melted, then remove from heat. Dip chilled filling balls into chocolate, coating on all sides, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I used a toothpick to allow easy dipping. Freeze coated truffles for 5 minutes to firm up, then remove from freezer. Dab with a small bit of warm chocolate where you wish to roll in a topping – turbinado sugar and sea salt, crushed pretzel bits, or cocoa powder. Store finished truffles in the refrigerator (or freezer) until you wish to serve.