“You’re like an old shoe, Carrie. That’s a compliment, in case you didn’t know.”
This came from a dear friend at church, closer to my parents’ age than mine. Apparently, an “old shoe” is a friend that is very comfortable, and it is easy to spend time with that person. I hadn’t heard the term before, so I’m glad she clarified it was meant to be flattering, but I’ve heard much, much stranger things, so I guess I wasn’t too surprised to be compared to decrepit footwear.
I have my own version of an “old shoe,” in my friend Sarah. We met 6 years ago in an early childhood parenting class, a rite of passage for many Minnesota parents and babies. In the group of a dozen or so families, Sarah and I were the only non-native Minnesotans, and we both happened to be from Wisconsin. (For those of you from other parts of the country that are thinking, “What’s the difference? Those states are right next to each other!” think about neighboring states in your own region. Virginia and West Virginia? California and Nevada? Texas and Louisiana? North Carolina and South Carolina? See what I mean?) We’re also the only moms in the group that returned to work in some fashion, so I think we bonded over that. We often show up to meet each other wearing the same outfit. Through the years, we’ve walked thousands of steps together, and shared probably millions of words. I’m really happy she’s my old shoe.
So, this week when we planned some time for our younger sons to play with one another, I wanted to make something special. But we can’t do plated fanciness with two little minions on the loose, and nothing too chewy, because that just slows down the talking.
Why not truffles?
These were super, super easy to make. This old shoe forgets that sometimes she’s tired and needs to read recipes more carefully before heading out to the grocery store, and thinks that her memory is about 10 years younger than it really is. So, instead of bittersweet and semisweet chocolate, like the recipe (from Barefoot in Paris) requires, I accidentally bought bittersweet and unsweetened. I’m kind of meh about the bittersweet to begin with – I wasn’t about to make these darker than necessary. Ina warns against using semisweet chocolate chips (of course, I have pounds of those hanging around) because of stabilizers that keep them from melting and reforming properly. So, I dug around in the fridge and found some chocolate from our Christmas stockings that was just waiting to be used. It was a Ritter milk chocolate product with tiny bits of caramelized almonds mixed in. It was a really, really good call to use it with the bittersweet chocolate. And, since it’s been hanging out for the six weeks or so since Christmas, I figured we wouldn’t miss it. The recipe calls for chopping the chocolate into really fine pieces with a sharp knife, so I’m really glad I had our knives sharpened last week. Our local grocery store’s meat department does this for free, and I can really tell a difference with the freshly sharpened knives.
The procedure for this recipe calls for a lot of fridge time, and I didn’t have a ton of space in our refrigerator for a sheet pan. Enter the Minnesota walk-in cooler (otherwise known as the screen porch).
Other than the extended cooling time and a little bit of minor messiness in the rolling process, these were really very simple, and groan-out-loud delicious. I’m so glad Sarah came to share them with me, because I really think that they taste better with an old shoe. Make them for your own old shoe, or for your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day!