As a kid, there was nothing I enjoyed more about Halloween than sitting down to my annual viewing of the “Charlie Brown Halloween” special. Linus was my hero for believing so passionately in the Great Pumpkin that he was willing to risk the scorn of his friends, and miss out on all the trick-or-treating fun, to stand vigil in his pumpkin patch awaiting the Great One’s arrival.
Given that Linus and I were tykes together back in the early 60s, I imagine he is about my age today, and I’m also guessing that like me, he has outgrown his taste for Almond Joy, Milky Way and 100,000 Dollar Bars. That being the case, I thought I’d whip up a more sophisticated treat for the old duffer to enjoy as he sits in his patch this Halloween Eve, waiting for the arrival of the mystical Great Pumpkin.
Dude….if these truffles don’t attract the Great Pumpkin to your side, nothing will!
As I sit here writing this post, the little angel on my right shoulder is urging me to encourage you all to make these with your kids and share in their deliciousness. Of course, the devil sitting on my left shoulder is reminding me of the cold hard facts of Halloween….bottom line….this holiday is a blood sport, and its a look out for number one kind of event. You remember what it was like, don’t you?
The mad dash from the curb to the house, shoving the slow and frail aside as you pushed your way to the front of the trick-or-treat line to secure the very best candy from the communal bowl at the door. There was no courtesy….there was no sharing….it was all just a sugar fueled orgy of candy lust, and a quest to be the kid who ended the night with the most booty. Ending the night with a sack so heavy that you had to DRAG it home was a badge of honor worth any of the misdemeanors required to make it so.
And after all that sweat and toil to grab only the best loot, did you ever offer even a single piece of it to your poor parents who were stuck inside for the evening manning their own front door? Of course you didn’t. A shrewdly orchestrated candy trade with friends or siblings maybe, but you would never just GIVE it away. “What do you mean you want one of my Reese’s Cups. Are you kidding me? I mean I only have 27 of them, that’s hardly any at all. You seriously can’t expect me to GIVE you one of them when I have so few…..ain’t gonna happen. Why don’t you go ask (insert loathed siblings name here), he got a lot more than I did, maybe HE’S got enough to share”
Guess what….our kids are just like we were back then, this whole candy orgy thing is written into their genetic code. Our kids will all come home with 30 gallon trash bags full of booty on Sunday, out of which they will offer us not even the smallest nibble. Am I right? Yes I am, thank you.
Given that fact, I’m with the devil this year (hey, its Halloween after all) and I’m encouraging you all to make a big old trash bag full of these babies for yourself, no sharing with the ankle-biters! Let’s teach them that even adults can be candy hoarding Halloweenies!
Happy Halloween everyone, we wish you all a special visit from the Great Pumpkin (or whatever Halloween spirit you may worship).
"Great Pumpkin" Truffles
- 8 ounces top quality 70% bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- 7 teaspoons pumpkin spice blend* (or more to your taste)
- 1 tablespoon salted butter, softened
- 1 cup dutch process cocoa powder (I use Valrhona)
- 6 ounces toasted pecans, finely chopped in a mini-prep
- In a small bowl make the pumpkin spice blend by sifting together 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1/2 tablespoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon allspice. Set aside.
- 1. When the ganache has cooled to the consistency of toothpaste, scrape it into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe 1-inch-diameter mounds spaced 1 inch apart on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. To pipe the mounds, hold the pastry bag at a slight angle and allow the tip to touch the parchment as you begin to pipe. Once you have formed the mound, stop squeezing and lift the tip straight up, leaving a small tail on the top of each mound, like a hershey’s kiss.
- 2. You can also use a spoon and drop small mounds of ganache onto the baking sheet. Let the truffles harden at room temperature for a couple of hours (or in the refrigerator for 15 minutes), until they are hard enough to roll with your hands.
- 3. Place the cocoa powder, and the chopped pecans in separate bowls.
- 4. Roll each cooled ball of ganache between the palms of your hands to form into a sphere and to soften the outside of the ball. Immediately drop them into the “topping” bowl of your choice, and roll them around with a fork or spoon to evenly coat the ganache with either the cocoa or nuts. Move to a parchment covered sheet tray, then to the fridge for about 15 minutes to set. Recover any extra cocoa and minced nuts for future use.