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A few years before I entered high school, I developed in avid interest in chocolatiering. After months of reading about chocolate and experimenting with dozens of recipes, I eventually started cranking out some pretty tasty candies. In my early teens, I actually catered 500 chocolates for the grand opening ceremony of a high-end European design center. The following summer I prepared close to 200 custom-packaged party favors for my cousin’s wedding. After those big confidence boosters, I went on to sell chocolates to a group of loyal customers every Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Mother’s Day for several years.
With time and the inevitable progressions of getting older, I turned my attention to other pursuits and gradually drifted away from chocolatiering. But those years—years of painting chocolate into candy molds and whipping up peanut butter creme filling and packaging dozens of chocolates every day at my dining room table—those were formative, influential years for me. It was during that time that I began to delve deep into just one teensy fraction of the vast culinary world and discover that food and cooking were integral parts of who would I someday become.
Of course, my life looks a lot different now than it did then, but once in while I slip down memory lane and allow myself to recall the days when all I did was melt chocolate, test recipes, and package candies from morning till night. A few days ago I found myself in the kitchen testing a candy recipe of different kind—a truffle made with dates and nuts—when a montage of memories—sweet, chocolatey ones—rolled over me like a salty wave…
I saw myself tempering a bowl of chocolate at the kitchen counter and carefully spooning it like liquid mahogany into candy molds. I saw myself jot down a list of ingredients I needed to pick up for tomorrow’s batch. I watched my nimble fingers work lengths of satin ribbon into perfect bows atop box after box.
…And the thought occured to me then: it’s what you’ve done in the past that shapes who you’ll be in the future. It’s who you were then that makes you who you are now.
Just think. Someday, a few years from now perhaps, I’ll look back on my life—maybe even this very post—and realize just how much I’ve grown, how much I’ve changed, how much I’ve learned. The passage of time will be evident, but the future will radiate with a glowing hope of what’s to come.
And I like to think that when I look back on it, the thread of my life will be knotted with recipes here and there—recipes like the one I’m posting today—that remind of who I was then, who I am now, who I’ll be tomorrow. Because that’s really what it’s all about. Finding joy in the journey. And someday glancing over your shoulder to see where you’ve been, what you’ve accomplished, and what you’re capable of as you step forward.
Orange Sesame “Truffles” – Makes 12-15
3/4 cup raw walnuts
4-5 large dates, pitted and roughly chopped
Scant 1/4 cup raisins
2 tbs. good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. grated orange zest
Raw sesame seeds, for rolling
In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, grind walnuts to a powder. Add dates and raisins. Process until well combined and very finely chopped, about 20 seconds. Add the cocoa powder and orange zest. Process until incorporated and mixture is an even deep brown color.
Shape mixture into bite-sized balls about 3/4-1 inch in diameter. Roll in sesame seeds to coat.
Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve, or up to 1 week.
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.