Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's Turtle Time!

(Not this kind!)

It’s that time of the year. Time to make the most luscious of Christmas treats, the turtle. Thick, gooey, homemade caramel loaded with fresh pecan halves and covered with a delectable blend of the best chocolate.

Sound dreamy? If you’ve had them, then you know they are.

I have been making them for roughly twenty-five years. They have been shipped to relatives and friends all over the place. I have to admit though, this year I’m a little nervous about making them. You see, for the last 25 years, I have been making them in Wisconsin. Now, we’re in Oklahoma. What’s the difference you say? Well, I’ll tell you.

Chocolate is a finicky. Yeah, it’s delicious but all that “delicious” can be difficult, especially when used as an ingredient. If you are using chocolate as a coating, and you don’t want to use the plastic chocolate (bark etc.) then you have no choice but to deal with it.

You see, if you don’t melt the chocolate perfectly, it will not behave for you. This process is called tempering. If you heat the chocolate too much you will burn it. If any moisture gets into the chocolate, it will seize. Basically it will develop the look of cottage cheese…which is not a pretty site on turtles.

I have seen chocolate which has turned white or has spots of white. This process is called “bloom” and is caused by the cocoa butter rising to the top in aging chocolate. It also happens when chocolate gets too warm. Using fresh, quality chocolate is a must!

See? There are many factors to perfecting chocolate. Temperature and humidity also play a huge part in getting your chocolate just right. While humidity is not so much an issue in Oklahoma, 80 degree days in December are. That is what I am trying to factor in before I attempt the turtles.

The good news is, I see cooler days in the forecast. As soon as we go below 45 degrees I am doing nothing else until the turtles are safely tucked away in my refrigerator!

Because I am a writer and because I am a Christian, my mind drifted to tempering and how it affects our every day lives.

What, in our Christian walk, must be tempered? I can think of a few things but what comes to mind is love. Of course it does…I’ve been on a “love” kick lately!

And by tempering love do I mean love less? No. Do I mean love carelessly? No. Recklessly? No. Tempered love, to me, means responsible love. When tempering chocolate the correct amount of heat has to be applied in order for the chocolate to turn out right. With love, we must use the truth as our tempering agent.

The world’s definition of love never offends or points out the truth. It means we embrace anything and everything without condition.

And to an extent, I agree. We must love everyone. It is commanded that we do. The difference though is God’s definition of love is not the same as the worlds.

Just last week I was told that it is pharasetical for a Christian to judge another Christian. The person that said this calls herself a Christian. My question is, how does a Christian come to this understanding?

I will tell you why. Because as Christians we have drifted to the world’s definition of love and we are no longer tempering love with Truth. Love all by itself is not love. And speaking truth without love as the motive leaves a distaste in one’s mouth. The two must be combined, tempered with one another so to speak, to be lasting, unconditional and effective.

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