The cute and cheerful online picture of â€œreindeer trufflesâ€ looked easy enough to recreate, so what the heck?Â I printed the recipe, purchased the ingredients, and got to work. (And no, the truffles are not made from actual reindeer parts. They just look like a whimsical candy deer head.)
While Martha Stewart and I will never be mistaken for the same person, I have moments of artistic vision that are reasonably spectacularâ€¦if you squint from a distance and have low standards to begin with.Â I also have moments of â€œletâ€™s just bury it and pretend it never happened.â€ Far too many of those moments now that I think about it, but I digress.
The recipe said to prepare the truffle mixture and then chill until it would be easy to roll into balls before dunking in chocolate.Â I did that. Yep, chill-city. Following directionsâ€¦like a good girlâ€¦which is always a mistake for me.
Meanwhile, I cut red jellybeans in half which is a thankless job. They either stick to the knife or squirt off like little rockets to parts of the kitchen floor Iâ€™d rather ignore. Anyway the jellybeans were to represent Rudolphâ€™s nose. Done.
The next step was to cut traditional round pretzels in half to mimic reindeer antlers. I assumed it couldnâ€™t be too hard, because, after all, the online photo showed perfect pretzel antlers. I placed a pretzel on the cutting board and made a gentle downward cut with a very sharp knife.Â The pretzel shattered.Â I tried cutting quickly with a bit of a rocking motion. The pretzel shattered. I tried cutting it from top to bottom and, the pretzel not only shattered, it flew in ten different directions. Â Pudgy looks like a little pirate cat now that sheâ€™s wearing an eyepatch.Â Bad bit of luck, that.
I finally got one pretzel cut that wasnâ€™t too bad. I rejoiced until my husband walked by and popped it in his mouth. â€œWatcha doing with the pretzels?â€ he asked. Grasping the knife firmly lest my hand get ideas about husband-a-cide, I kept working towards perfect pretzel antlers. Finally I decided the world is filled with all kinds of deerâ€¦some with spikes, some with broken antlers, and some funky dork-deers that defy explanation.Â My pretzels accurately represent the whole of deer-dom.
After an hour, I pulled the bowl out of the refrigerator and heated the chocolate coating. The recipe said to roll the filling into one-inch balls, and then add a tiny pinch more to form the protruding nose-base from which the jellybean would perch. After the form was created, dip into chocolate, let the extra flow back into the bowl, and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Insert pretzel antlers.Â After the coating hardened, place tiny dots of white chocolate for eyes, and then use a toothpick to put an even tinier dot of dark chocolate for the pupil. Voila! Reindeer perfection. Nuh uh.
My filling was misbehaving from the start. As soon as it met the heat of my palms it started melting. I tried to attach the nosepiece but it got all wonky. Then, as the bloblet met the hot chocolate an oozing took place that definitely did NOT look reindeer-ishâ€¦ unless you live by a nuclear power plant.
When I jabbed the jellybean into the chocolate sometimes it migrated south, and sometimes it just disappeared beneath the lava flow.Â The â€œantlersâ€ looked more like salty mouse ears. Sorta. But I put them on anyway.
After the coating set, I used a frosting decorator tip to place the white chocolate.Â It sounded good in theory, but the chocolate didnâ€™t want to form an eyeball. It wanted to stick to the tip and then I had swirls. Dang it! Why was this so hard? I put the dark chocolate on with the toothpick, stepped back to observe my work, and burst out laughing.Â Dr. Frankenstein must have felt a similar horror/pride with his monster.
My husband said they are, um, cute. Whatever â€œtheyâ€ are. Okay, so maybe Iâ€™m not Martha Stewart, and maybe my Christmas creatures mock the idea of perfection. But, I gave it a try. Besides, any time there is chocolate involved it is going to be the best part of my day.