Read the First 6 Episodes | Previously on Smitty & The Girl : Sylvia Mathers arrives, finally, at the diner “restaurant” to confront the mysterious newcomer Petula. We already know they share the same last name; what secrets about Cliffwood’s most private, and certainly its most dramatic, resident will Petula reveal next?
Once Elvira was off and running, it only took a scathing glare from Sylvia and the other members of her staff scattered like cockroaches. Letta dropped her head and began whistling so loudly she nearly drowned out the music playing overhead.
She walked up to the booth and smoothed a hand over her hair, aware of how ragged she must look after the morning she’d had. “Petula.” The name got caught in her throat like a burr.
For her part, Petula peered up with warm eyes and a saintly expression of peace. Her red hair was sopping wet and plastered to her neck and shoulders though Sylvia knew it hadn’t rained in nearly a week. “Hello, Aunt.”
Another word that stuck in her throat. Sylvia waved a hand and sat down across from her. “What are you doing here?” she hissed, her head low. She caught Letta looking and this time her eyes of death did nothing. Letta stared.
“Can’t a girl come and visit her favorite aunt?” Petula asked. She let out a little laugh when Sylvia snapped her fingers and Aggie walked over to the booth, her back to them, blocking Letta and everyone else’s view like a tiny Berlin Wall. “Hello, Aggie.”
“Don’t you talk to her.” Petula’s eyes darkened, just a flash. Sylvia saw Aggie twitch but she did not turn around. “I mean it, Pet. You gave me your word that you would never return.”
Petula opened her mouth to reply as Elvira returned with the plate of sliced bread. Before Sylvia could stop her, Petula fluttered her eyelashes and demured politely if she could order something else. “I’m in the mood for something sweet.”
“Do you have any chocolate?” Elvira nodded with a frown, her gaze flitting to Sylvia and then discreetly away. “Wonderful.” Petula smiled broadly and dropped her chin to her palm, her voice playful. “It’ll be just the thing.” Her eyes flashed to Sylvia’s and only Sylvia saw the shadow there, the threat, beneath the cloying sweetness. “We have so much to catch up on.”
This is a lovely recipe. It hits all the right notes. It’s insanely simple, calling for only three ingredients, with minimal hands-on time required, and the result is a gorgeous puddle of silken chocolate. Whip it in your mixer and that puddle turns into something closer to a cloud. The sum transcends its parts which is the funnest, most magical part of cooking and baking, the alchemy of taking three disparate entities and creating something dreamy and new.
Sigh. Chocolate makes me feel dreamy and new. Wait, where am I? Who are you people? What are you doing in my window?
We took Martha Stewart’s recipe for Chocolate Ganache and used it in two ways for our holiday baking needs: frosting for cupcakes (Nicole) and filling for cookies (me), both working beautifully.
Do yourself a favor and whip up a bowl of ganache for your holiday baking party. Stash it in the fridge and pull it out as needed- whip it into a frenzy and watch it turn into a mousse-like frosting for your cupcakes or simply spoon it, as-is, between two butter cookies. Just do yourself a big favor- since there are only three ingredients here, go big on flavors. Get the best brand of chocolate you can afford (I like Ghiradelli because it’s excellent, affordable and you can find it everywhere). Get a good quality heavy cream. Use a salt with bite.
Nicole went with a simple Devil’s Food cake for her cupcakes. Check out our Facebook Group where I’ve posted the cookie recipes I used.
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
courtesy of Martha Stewart Living
Makes: Plenty to fill some cookies, double the batch to frost cupcakes.
8 ounces of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 Cup of heavy cream
1/8 tsp of coarse salt
1. Pour cream into a small saucepan and heat until just boiling.
2. Chop chocolate and set aside in bowl.
3. When cream is heated, pour over chocolate and add salt. Do not stir. Let sit for ten minutes.
4. Whisk cream and chocolate until smooth, silky and shiny.
5. Let cool to room temperature. (Minimum 45 minutes.)
If you’d like to use the ganache as a filling for your holiday cookies, you can use the ganache as-is. I also wrapped it and put it in the fridge where it set nicely but it became too firm to spread on the delicate cookies. I just popped it in the microwave (or over a double-broiler) for a few seconds to loosen the ganache slightly. Then, add to your cookies.
Once ganache has cooled to room temperature (Step 5 above), beat ganache with your hand/stand mixer on medium/high speed until pale and fluffy (about 4 minutes).