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Bars Chocolate Cheer Classic Favorites Cookies Fancy Pantsy

Homemade Mallobars. (East Coast… Can Ya’ll Really Feel Me?)

*Today’s post is going to be focused on the dessert and will contain little to no complaining on my part, just to see what being a primarily baked good-centered blog feels like.*

So, how do you all feel about Mallomars?

I have no idea if those of you not in the Northeast are privy to the awesome power of the Mallomar. Last I heard, it was an East Coast thang.

I am unsure of my feelings on them.

So unsure that I had to go through several boxes of the seasonal treat this past winter to determine my feelings on them.

So unsure that I attempted to store three boxes away in my freezer so that I could continue to test them during the off-season. (Note: the aforementioned boxes have since mysteriously disappeared)

So unsure that when I realized my reserve boxes had gone missing (Ed note: contents of box were later determined to have been consumed by one James Hilger. Mr. Hilger resides with the author, and will pay dearly for his mistake) I furiously hunted down a homemade recipe for the treat, and vowed to make them as a summertime treat. In your sugar-coated face, archaic Nabisco rules!

If you want the truth, I actually respect Nabisco for attempting to limit my intake of this marshmallowy, chocolate-covered delight on a graham cracker platform. It’s a pretty good marketing strategy, considering the number of salivating Mallomar-devotees lurking outside of my– let’s face it, everyone’s– local Key Food come wintertime. But I just can’t live without ’em. I… I can’t. And so I attempted to make my own. Let’s do this, friends.

Homemade Mallobars (they’re bars because I cut them into bars, because I did. These made about 40 for me)

From the James Beard Foundation

For the Graham Crackers

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour (also called graham flour)

Pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

6 tablespoons of softened butter

2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons of white sugar

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

5 teaspoons of honey

1 egg, beaten

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the Marshmallow

1/3 cup of water, plus extra for cooking

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 envelopes of plain gelatin

1 cup of white sugar

1/2 cup of light corn syrup

For the chocolate coating

1 1/2 cups of dark chocolate, chopped

We begin with our graham crackers. Now, if I were you, I’d start making these at least a day in advance of when you’d like to enjoy them, mostly because the graham crackers require a fair amount of chilling before being baked. Trust me, these will be well worth the wait.

In a large bowl, whisk together your flours, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar until combined, then add in honey. Mix in the egg and vanilla until fully incorporated. Combine with dry ingredients and mix just until batter forms. Cover bowl and chill dough for at least two hours.

Remove dough from bowl and place between two large sheets of parchment paper. Roll out into a 1/8 inch thick sheet. Transfer flattened dough to a baking sheet and refrigerate again for at least an hour, or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325ºF. Carefully remove parchment sheet on top of dough. From here, you can either cut rectangles/squares of dough or bake as an uncut sheet, which is what I did. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 14 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Remove from oven and let crackers cool completely.

These are what my rando-shaped graham crackers look like. They look so weird, I know. The taste, however, will make you want to slap the makers of Honey Maid in the face for ever deceiving you.
These are what my rando-shaped graham crackers look like. They look so weird, I know. The taste, however, will make you want to slap the makers of Honey Maid in the face for ever deceiving you.

So…. I decided to taste-test these before continuing on in my mission, mostly because I don’t know that I’ve ever eaten a homemade graham cracker. And I am now sorry that I have spent so much of my life on the store-bought stuff. The homemade ones were soft, sweet and had a deep, almost nutty flavor to them. I hope I never again let my laziness get the better of me by going with the pre-made stuff.

And now, on to the marshmallows. We’ve made marshmallows here before, and this won’t really be any different, but I’ll take you through the steps again so you won’t have to click back and forth.

To make your marshmallows, combine water and vanilla in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over water and set aside for at least 10 minutes. In a separate saucepan, mix together sugar and corn syrup. Pour in just enough water to make the mixture resemble wet sand. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat to medium. Cook until the mixture reaches 260ºF (note: if you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can cook until the mixture reaches “soft ball stage.” Place a tiny amount of mixture in a bowl of cold water– if it becomes a soft ball, the mixture is ready to be taken off the heat), then remove from heat. Carefully stir water/gelatin mixture in, and stir until dissolved.

Transfer mixture to a stand mixer and whisk on high speed, taking care that mixture doesn’t splatter. Mix until thickened as much as possible, about 7 minutes. Next, you can either fill a pastry bag with marshmallow mixture or use a rubber spatula to spread mixture directly onto graham crackers. Gently smooth the top of mixture with wet fingers. Let firm and cool completely. At this point, if you haven’t already, you may cut into squares/something that vaguely resembles squares/amoebas/anything you want.

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When cooled, melt your chocolate (either in microwave or in a double-boiler), then pour chocolate over. Let chocolate harden, and serve.

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Words of warning: you will probably not be able to wait until these things are even close to not-still-hot before reaching for them. If you are, kudos, but if not, you were warned, genius. My fingers are still medium-rare from that mistake. Seriously, let these cool…

… Because once you do you will be left with magic. To be honest, they tasted more like s’mores than Mallomars, but I didn’t really care, because they were ridiculous. Also, I discovered that they are somehow even more amazing once frozen. O.M.G. DO THIS. With Independence Day approaching, I cannot think of a better way to salute ‘Murica than this magic.

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Categories
Cakes Chocolate Cheer Fancy Pantsy

Sad Shibow’s Checkered Recent Past (Mostly The Cake Is Checkered)

So, here I am, back from going dark yet again. I can’t really explain the hermit life I’ve been living lately, except by saying the passage of time has me depressed yet again.

I’ve realized that certain people just don’t believe I’m living my life the “right” way unless I’m living it their way. I’ve realized that no one is going to do anything for me, look out for me, care about me, any more than I’ll ever care about myself. That’s not a “wah, wah no one gives a hoot” I’m expressing. It’s just a realization that nothing will happen to change or improve my life unless I make it happen.

This is poutine. You're going to hear the word poutine a lot in this post, so I might as well show you what it is in all its glory.
This is poutine. You’re going to hear the word poutine a lot in this post, so I might as well show you what it is in all its glory.

With that in mind… I dropped everything and hightailed it to Montreal. It’s a city that I’ve always wanted to visit for its culture/poutine, and I was starting to get to a point in my life where I just couldn’t justify not going. There will always be money issues, or time issues, or future issues, or “I bleeping hate driving on the thruway” issues. Might as well just try to have a little bit of fun in the midst of all of that garbage. Also, I’m, like, awesome and bought my boyfriend tickets to see one of his favorite hip-hop acts as a belated birthday present while we were up there. (But mostly… POUTINE!)

Morning walks along St. Laurent River. I know. Bananas.
Morning walks along the St. Laurent River. I know. Bananas.

Now that I’m back from a rather relaxing, albeit far too short, vacay, I thought it was time to get back into the swing of things by sharing with you all a dessert I have always wanted to make: the checkerboard cake! I had an excuse in boyfriend’s aforementioned recent birthday, so I completely ignored his request for a –*gasp* —Duncan Hines cake and got all selfish up in this popsicle stand.

Checkerboard Cake (makes one 3-layer, 8-inch round cake)

from Good Housekeeping: Great Baking

For the cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour (or 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of milk

1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups of sugar

3/4 cup of butter, softened

3 large eggs

3 ounces of semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled

For the frosting

1/3 cup of butter, softened

3 ounces of semisweet baking chocolate, melted and slightly cooled

3 cups of powdered sugar

2 teaspoons of vanilla

3 to 4 tablespoons of milk (have more on hand, just in case)

Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms of each with parchment paper. Grease and lightly dust the parchment with cocoa powder.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate cup, mix together 3/4 cup of milk and vanilla. In a separate large bowl, beat together butter and sugar on low speed using a hand or stand mixer, until mixture is blended together. Continue to beat, increasing speed to high, until mixture looks smooth and creamy. Reduce speed back down to medium, and add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Next, reduce the speed back down to the lowest setting, and alternate between adding in the flour mixture and the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat together just until smooth.

Transfer half of the batter to a separate bowl. Stir melted chocolate into one half of the batter until completely distributed. And there you have it. TWO batters!

Now, at this point, some recipes will advise you to just bake a vanilla cake in one pan, and a chocolate cake in another. Then, you’d cut out blocks of each cake and basically Lego this thing together to give it the checkered effect. I personally think that’s a wack way of doing things. That’s like licking your building blocks and hoping they stick together. Not that I ever did this. (Probably I did this.)

Anyway, take a chance! Trust yourself! I say this mostly because the method I used worked, which shocked me, since almost nothing I touch ever works the first time (true story: I bought my first smartphone a few years ago, had it set up by people smarter than I am, and it immediately stopped working once I touched it. I returned it to the store, and the tech there said he’d never seen anything like it. There is a similar story involving an Easy Bake Oven and my childhood, but it’s too painful to talk about that failure). So let’s get to this!

This is what you should do:

One pan that looks like this.
One pan that looks like this.
Two pans that look like this.
Two pans that look like this.

 

And in word form: place vanilla batter in one pastry bag (or plastic Ziploc bag with a 1/2 inch corner snipped off), and chocolate batter in another. Alternate between rings of chocolate and vanilla batter, moving slowly and trying to keep the rings uniform (you can see how I did on that front). Try to make the bands of batter about 1 1/2 inches thick.  Make sure to have one pan with an opposing pattern: so, if you started with chocolate on the outside of your rings in two pans, start with vanilla on the third.

Lightly tap the bottom of each pan against a counter to remove as many air bubbles as you can. Place pans in the oven, staggered on two racks, making sure one pan is not directly above another. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester/toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool completely on wire racks.

While the cakes are cooling, work on your frosting: using a hand or stand mixer on medium speed, mix together everything but your milk. Once smooth, slowly add in milk, a little at a time, until you reach the consistency you desire. You may need a little more than 4 tablespoons (I needed about five). Lay one of the two identical cakes on a flat surface and generously frost. Top this layer with an opposing layer, and frost again. Top with final layer and GO CRAZY.

I went way cray cray with the osting-fray.
I went way cray cray with the osting-fray.

So I was pretty disappointed with myself when I baked this, just because I was trying to get it to look perfect, since it was for my love’s birthday and since I’ve been extra hard on myself and mean to myself lately. And once I saw how my rings of batter (“battered rings” sounds vaguely violent, no?) looked more like somewhat circular globs of batter in a sort-of discernible pattern, I kind of figured this was going to just be a disaster that I would have to season lightly with my salty tears and deem a “marble cake,” as if that’s what it was supposed to be all along.

Well…

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WHAT?!

It… it worked.

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How in the hell did it work?! Beats me. But it did. I think I may have eaten more of this cake than the birthday boy did. No, wait. We probably had the same amount of cake, but I definitely sliced more pieces off (thus causing us both to have wayyyy too much cake), mostly in awe that IT WORKED!

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And, not only did it look super cool, it tasted AMAZING. As you can probably tell from the ingredient list, it’s an incredibly buttery creation, which pretty much means it’s bound to be so freaking good.

 

Categories
Cakes Chocolate Cheer Classic Favorites Easy Baking Fancy Pantsy No-Bake Recipes

Double The Desserts. Double The Apologies. Double The Pain! Wait…No

I totally woke up yesterday feeling all sorts of blog-related guilt. Guys… what’s my dealio? I abandon this thing that I love, that I’ve come to enjoy doing because… because I’ve been lazy? What gives? Well,  I supposed I’ve been writing-lazy and life-preoccupied. Does that make sense? I hope it does.

What I’m trying to say is I’m sorry I’ve let this blog lay dormant for so long.  I feel like I’m making it sound as if I’m apologizing to myself in a public forum, which seems like a twisted, self-serving public flogging. Aren’t you glad you’re joining me for this?

Props to my boyfriend for this.
Props to my boyfriend for this.

Anyway, I am mad at myself for not writing nearly as much as I have in the past, which is why I’ve decided to throw myself a mini-challenge: For the next two months, I’m going to publish a new post every week, by, at the very latest, that Wednesday. I hope you’ll all either a. keep me accountable by scolding me heavily if I fail to make good on this promise or b. at least not, like, tell me I suck and should never write anything again if I do come through (oh and I do plan to come through, good sirs and madams).

Hell, this might even be the time to have all of you hear my to-do list for the first half of this year. Maybe ya’ll can keep me from lazing out on those too:

1. Go to at least one Prince concert in my life, and preferably in my life this summer

2. Go to Montreal at least once in my life, and preferably in my life this summer

3. OMG OMG OMG you guys Prince is playing a jazz festival. In Montreal. This summer. This maybe shouldn’t be numbered, but is, because…

4. Take more risks in my writing (e.g., numbering things that shouldn’t necessarily be numbered. SCANDALOUS!)

5. Spend less time around bright, flashy screens and more time with other things that haven’t almost completely ruined my eyes, like books and chocolate

6. Cut out sugar

7. Check to see if anyone was paying attention to #6 and hope you are all laughing with me over how ludicrous a resolution that is

8. RETIRE MY SNOW BOOTS FOR A LONG, LONG TIME

Yeah. That last one has hit me, and a lot of us I imagine, pretty hard. I’ve finally accepted that I have a mean case of seasonal affective disorder that nothing short of sunshine, 80-degree weather and giant bowls of ice cream (shut it, that one’s totally necessary) can cure. I think maybe that’s part of what’s been keeping me from updating this blog, or doing anything productive, really. I…hate things right now. Yup, that sounds articulate and sensible. Let’s move on to our DOUBLE DOSE OF DESSERT, shall we?

Indeed I did decide to share two sweet treats in one post, mostly because of the aforementioned guilt over my lack of posting. Let’s get to it, friends!

So dessert #1 was supposed to be one of those ooh-la-la Valentine’s day desserts that would accompany a fancy-schmancy homemade dinner, but V-day’s kinda dumb and also was on a Friday night after a long, lame week, and both of us were dead tired. So instead of presenting it as a romantic dessert, I’m presenting it as portion-controlled chocolate cakes (that you can have two of if you aren’t down with sharing).

Chocolate Lava Cake For Two (makes…uh, two)

adapted from Eva Bakes

1/4 cup of semi-sweet dark chocolate chips

2 tablespoons of softened butter

1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, beaten

3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Strawberry ice cream, or NOTHING (or another flavor of ice cream, or berries, or whipped cream. But probably strawberry ice cream)

Preheat your oven to 400ºF and butter two 6-ounce ramekins. In a medium heat-safe bowl over a pot of simmering water, melt chocolate with butter, stirring until chocolate is completely melted (you can also do this in a microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each session).

Stir in confectioner’s sugar, then beat in eggs and flour, whisking until the batter is smooth.

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Stir in vanilla, then divide batter between your ramekins. Place ramekins on a baking sheet, and send into the oven for 9 to 11 minutes. Make sure to watch these, as they’re done before you think they’re done– the center will still look gooey and jiggly, two very important, official baking terms. Let cool in ramekins for five minutes, then invert onto plates for serving.

Top with strawberry ice cream. I make room for no other option because there should be no other option. Strawberry. Ice. Cream.

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So, if I’m being honest, I didn’t love the way these cakes looked, which is completely on me, for using ramekins that were way too wide, making these look like overdone veggie burgers. However, once we cut into these and liquid chocolate came oozing out, I was SOLD. I didn’t even have time to get a picture of the inside because of how completely freaking sold I was.

Now, for our second dessert of the post (how lucky are YOU), we’re working on something easy, fun and oven-free. Hooray!

So, apparently for people who are not Indian people, popcorn balls are a classic sweet treat. This is what my boyfriend, who is not Indian people, tells me, at least. Can anyone chime in on this? Is it like me saying that halwah and papadam should be staples in every American household?

Anyway, I decided to surprise him by trying my hand at this “classic treat” because I am generous and also can never turn down the opportunity to combine three most excellent ingredients: butter, sugar, and popcorn. Let’s get “classic!”

Popcorn Balls (makes 6 baseball-sized balls)

adapted from CHOW

9 cups of plain popped popcorn, seeds removed, unless you hate having teeth

1 cup of turbinado sugar (you can use regular white sugar, but I love the deep flavor this imparts)

1/3 cup of light corn syrup

1/3 cup of water

1 teaspoon of white vinegar

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) of salted butter, cut into pieces

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Grease a large glass bowl, and place popcorn in it. Set aside.

Large glass bowl. Popcorn. Creative captioning.
Large glass bowl. Popcorn. Creative captioning. World’s Finest Chocolate wrapper because I am nostalgic. Jar of peanut butter for me to snack on whilst “working.”

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water and vinegar; stir to combine. Place pan over high heat, and cook– stirring constantly– until sugar is dissolved. Bring mixture to a boil and cook until it registers at 260ºF on a candy thermometer (if you don’t have one, don’t fret, just cook the mixture for 5 to 7 minutes). Remove from heat, then stir in butter and vanilla. 

Quickly pour hot sugar mixture over popcorn, using a rubber spatula to spread the mixture evenly over the popcorn. Stir until the mixture is just cool enough to handle with bare hands, about three minutes. Seriously, these are good, but not burn-your-palms good. I don’t know what would be burn-your-palms good. I have some ideas, though. None are suitable for this blog.

With oiled hands, grab a chunk of popcorn and mash together, compressing popcorn into a ball. Let balls cool completely on parchment paper. *Giggle*

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Ok…these were good. If they really are a classic treat, I can totally understand why. They’re buttery, salty/sweet, and somehow miraculously melt almost as soon as a bite hits your tongue. This dessert’s been a repeat offender in our home, half because my boyfriend is sentimental and half because we’re sugar fiends. I actually think it’s probably 78% because we’re sugar fiends, but it’s six popcorn balls in one hand and a half-dozen in the other. Or something. See you next week!

Categories
Chocolate Cheer No-Bake Recipes

What The Fudge Is Everyone’s Problem? Also, Fudge.

You GUYS. I am SO MAD! I’m not even kidding. I’m so… mad.

I wish I were kidding or talking about something kind of insignificant. Okay, yes, I am a bit disappointed in the latest season of Arrested Development. All the random cameos–especially of the people from Outsourced… brown peeps, don’t even play like you weren’t as happy as I was to see those guys–did kind of lessen the blow, but wow, it kind of isn’t that great, right? All jokes and television programs aside, though, I’m finding myself really disappointed in the level of toxicity around me.

BUT SHIBOW. YOU LIVE IN NEW YORK. YOUR WHOLE HOOD MUST BE LIKE THAT DIRTBAG FROM THE PEANUTS CARTOONS.

I made the joke for you. You’re all welcome. Har har.

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Inserted to break up the tension. It’s getting too serious, ya’ll, I know.

Sorry. I realize I sound pretty snippy and irritable. Those are two things that I presently am, though, and it ain’t because of the strange smells coming from the return of the New York City summer. It’s mostly because I’ve found myself in contact with some really foul moods lately, and I’m not a fan. I’m not interested in fighting or yelling or throwing fits or treating people badly, and I cannot comprehend it when others are. Seriously, I think in the last week I’ve had to deal with each of those things at least twice. Why treat someone poorly over nothing when you have no idea what the object of your wrath/annoyance/twisted amusement is possibly coping with? I’ll just never understand it.

There are a couple of things that kept me going this week. One was a pair of elephant shorts that my boyfriend randomly gifted to me earlier in the week. If you don’t know me, maybe this sounds small to you. If you do know me, you know why I lost my mind after having received them. He had to convince me not to wear them three days in a row. I love this man (Editor’s note: My friend Afshan brought to my attention that many readers may not know to what I am referring, and may think I mean elephant-shaped shorts. Her exact words were that she “pictured mc hammer pants with a frontal private cover.” These are the shorts I am speaking of. That’s my bad.)

Also, last weekend I kind of went on a baking rampage and churned out like seven different amazing goods, from rosemary rum cocktails to well, fudge. It sort of healed me in a weird way. And now I hope it heals you :).

Lavender Chocolate Fudge (makes 64 tiny blocks of goodness), adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook

3 1/2 cups of sugar

1 1/3 cups of milk (I used 1%)

1/4 cup of light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon of salt

4 ounces of unsweeted baking chocolate, chopped, or 2/3 cup of cocoa powder (I used cocoa)

1 1/2 teaspoons of dried lavender (skip this if you want the classic stuff)

1/4 cup of butter, cut into small pieces

2 teaspoons of vanilla

Grease the bottoms and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with butter and set aside, and have a candy thermometer ready as well.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, milk, corn syrup, salt and cocoa, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the cocoa as liquefied.

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Stir in your lavender, if using, and cook until your thermometer reaches 234°F.

Keep watch over this thing; after the mixture reaches boiling, the temperature will increase rapidly. If you don’t have a thermometer, keep cooking until a small amount of the mixture forms a soft ball when dropped into a bowl of cold water. I’ve used this trick. This trick is what’s up.

Good trick courtesy of the internets: Lay a wooden spoon over a pot of boiling stuff to keep it from spilling over.
Good trick courtesy of the internets: Lay a wooden spoon over a pot of boiling goodness to keep it from spilling over.

Remove mixture from heat and stir in your butter. Cool to 120ºF, without stirring, which should take about an hour. Add vanilla, then beat the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon– no stopping, so have a trusted adult nearby just in case– for 5 to 10 minutes or until the fudge is thick and doesn’t have a sheen to it. This took me about 6 minutes.

Spread evenly in pan and let stand until firm, about 1 hour.

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Cut into 1-inch squares once cooled, and store in airtight containers (if you can bring yourself to step away from these babies).

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So, it’s a little hard to cut these without getting little bits of fudge popping out all over the place. I found that eating those little pieces helps quite a bit, though. Food for thought…and for your belly.

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Unbelievable. Insane. Insane. Since I’d also made marshmallows when I made these, we decided to try s’mores made with this fudge instead of a chocolate bar. Holy…holy holy. I can’t even tell you. I just can’t. I can still, one week later, taste that miracle in my mouth. Just… do this.

Categories
Chocolate Cheer Fancy Pantsy Grown Up People Desserts No-Bake Recipes

Carrying On A Most Hated Tradition With A Slice Of Fancy Cake And…Uh…A Dream?

So I’m writing this in kind of a grumpy mood. Selfishly, I’m hoping that writing (which I love) about baking (which I also love) will cure my blues. Sorry, world. Please accept my apologies for the emotion that is about to follow. Also, if any of you deem this to be “too real,” I invite you to please scroll down to the pictures and recipe. Those will kind of rock your world.

Now, as for the rest of you, boy are you brave.

Okay, yes, I have been feeling quite down lately. That most hated tradition I mentioned? That would be my now-apparently-annual trip to the emergency room. I obviously haven’t croaked or anything, so I’m fine in that respect. But, this year’s trip meant crying alone in an unfamiliar place while hooked up to an IV, flying high on morphine and asking everyone around me who this Dr. Unna-sing whose name was emblazoned across my ID bracelet was (I later came to find out it said “Dr. Unassigned” which should give you some indication of how rough an experience that really was for me). Fortunately, a follow-up appointment and minor procedure revealed all to be well. If anything, I think the “minor procedure” may have made my boyfriend’s week, as it produced a few mortifying pictures and videos of me lying on an examination table and muttering like a blithering fool due to the amount of anesthesia I’d been given. Life. Life is…life.

All of this is addition to the incredibly long, tortuously drawn-out existential crisis I’ve been having. Perhaps you can help me with the following:

Can you pay my bills? Can you pay my telephone bills? Can you pay my hospital bills? Can you pay my Con Edison bills? (I did decide to customize the lyrics, yes)

When did my life become Mean Girls? Am I the Tina Fey character or the Lindsay Lohan one? Please say I’m the Tina Fey one? 😦

Stamos, dare I bow down to you now? Will that simple act end all of this tragedy?

This is here to reward you for reading all of that. Thank you. Bless you.
This is here to reward you for reading all of that. Thank you. Bless you.

Well, I truly do hope someone swings by to answer at least one of the above questions, because I have a case of the sads, and the only cure is answers. Oh…wait…answers…and cake. Chocolate Mousse Crepe Cake, to be very specific. Set aside a few hours and wear the ugliest smock you own for this thing. It will all be worth the mess (Note: this is the same thing I tell my soul).

Oh, I played around with this recipe a lot, and adapted from here, here and here. Mostly. Kind of. You want to just do this thing?

(Also, a slight warning: the mousse in this cake contains raw egg. The yolk, as you’ll see, does become heated during the cooking process, but the whites do not, which means there is a very slight salmonella risk. Since I am apparently attracted to hospitals these days, I was willing to take the risk.)

Chocolate Mousse Crepe Cake (makes one crazy-looking, 10-layer monstrosity)

For the crepes (makes 10)

1 1/2 cups of milk (I used skim)

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons of water, room temperature

2 tablespoons of canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups of flour

1/4 cup of granulated sugar

1/4 cup of cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon of salt

For the chocolate mousse (makes 4 heaping servings or more than enough to fill this monstrosity)

6 ounces of semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used chocolate chips)

3 tablespoons of butter

3 eggs, separated

1/4 cup plus two tablespoons of granulated sugar

1/2 cup of cold heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Let’s roll, friends.

To begin, place all of the ingredients for your crepe batter into a blender and process until completely smooth. Refrigerate batter for at least an hour, and no more than three hours.

While the batter cools and firms up, we can work on our chocolate mousse. For the mousse, place the chopped chocolate and butter in a glass bowl and set it over a pot of simmering water. Stir with a wooden spoon until melted and smooth. Remove the mixture from heat and allow to cool slightly, then stir in egg yolks, one at a time, until fully incorporated, and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites using a hand or stand mixer until foamy. Gradually add in 1/4 cup of the sugar and keep beating until stiff peaks form. The peaks should basically be so stiff that you can turn the bowl upside down without worrying about any of the whites spilling out. This takes time. Please don’t do what did and try to show off  by flipping the bowl over too soon. Confidence is always key, over-confidence is foolish and humiliating.

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And now (yep, lotsa bowls, hope you have a dishwasher or love the smell of Dawn dish soap on your dainty hands) in a chilled bowl, whip the heavy cream until it begins to thicken. Add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and vanilla, and beat until the cream forms soft  peaks.

Gently fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold this into the whipped cream. Don’t overwork the mixture, as it will start to become heavy and soupy.

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Cover your perfect, light mousse and refrigerate until ready to use.

Let’s now move back to the crepes. I should tell you all that I’ve made regular crepes for breakfast on several Saturday mornings, and have, without fail, screwed up at least the very first couple of crepes. I believe my issue is extreme impatience. I never wait for the pan to get hot enough before pouring the batter in. So, you know, not being me is key.

Now, heat a lightly-greased 8-inch crepe skillet/regular skillet. Then pour two tablespoons of crepe batter into the pan and swirl around until the batter looks paper-thin. When the top looks dry, flip and cook for another 20-30 seconds. Repeat these steps with the remaining batter (greasing the pan again if necessary). Allow to cool completely.

YUM.
YUM.

We’re pretty much almost done here, I swear. Once your crepes have cooled, it’s time to assemble this cake. Lay a crepe down on a cake plate, then spread a healthy amount of mousse over it. Top with another crepe, then top this crepe with more mousse, etc., until you reach the top of the holy mountain of good-God-nessness. You can top this with homemade whipped cream (which I highly recommend) if desired.

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Refrigerate until completely cooled, at least four hours, and preferably overnight.

I know, I know, it’s kind of really ugly-looking right? Well, as you all hopefully know by now, I’m no artist. But let’s talk about what really matters here…how’d it taste.

Sweet mother. It was a day in heaven with a clean bill of health, a thousand happy elephants prancing around on a sandy beach and everything else that you could ever imagine as being part of your best day ever. This thing was worth every minute of every hour I spent working on it.

SONY DSCBelieve me, if you are looking to impress, look no further than this cake.