Some of the grad students decided to form an official chemistry department grad student organization. The main goal seems to be "MOAR FUD + BOOZ PLZ" That is an oversimplification, of course. Their goal is to have more social events, with food and booze, and more food (preferably bagels + cream cheese) at seminars, and they have been pretty enterprising in working towards this goal, fundraising, and making their funds stretch as far as possible.
They convinced the department to let them take over the organization of the holiday party and upped the amount of food that was purchased by supplementing with funds from their beer-mug sales. They also only ordered main dishes. To further increase the amount of food, they added a potluck component to it, as well as a best dessert competition. Many chemists like to cook, so it's not hard to convince us to bring something. Perhaps due to the dessert competition, there were a lot of desserts, as well as plenty of side dishes. They tried to hit up some of the faculty for booze funds - I'm not sure how successful they were at that, but they did convince me to contribute booze for the eggnog. They manned the alcohol table and set up a donation jar to collect money from their compatriots. One of them stopped at Trader Joe's when she was home at Thanksgiving and picked up a lot of "Two Buck Chuck" of various varieties, and charged a nominal fee to do a wine tasting/drinking. They ended up making money on that for their future events. (Note - we don't have Trader Joe's around here so not everyone knew how cheap it was. It's hard to find wine here for less than $7/bottle, even bad wine.)
I won the dessert competition. The voting may've been a bit skewed since not that many people voted but there was an enthusiastic contingent from my group. Anyway, I made dark chocolate truffles using a recipe from the latest issue of CI. They weren't perfect, due to some liberties I took with the recipe, but they had very good flavor. Anyway, without further ado, here's the recipe.
CI's Chocolate Truffles
12 oz bittersweet chocolate
2 tbs corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tbs butter, divided into 8 pieces
1/4 c powdered sugar
3/4 c cocoa
Melt chocolate carefully in the microwave. Heat cream in microwave until it is warm but not hot. Add corn syrup and vanilla to cream and then stir it into the chocolate. Mix until blended and then add the butter one or two pieces at a time. Mix until blended.
Line a 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with vegetable oil spray. Spread chocolate in pan and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours. (The slow cool will prevent the truffles from being grainy.) Place pan in fridge for a few hours, then cut into 64 1"X1" pieces.
Mix cocoa and powdered sugar and then roll the squares into balls and roll in the cocoa/sugar mix.