Thursday, March 11, 2010

The perfect pick-me-up

I'm in a state of sadness and depression now that the Olympics are over.  You'd think I'd be over it by now.  But no...I find myself still wanting to chant "U-S-A, U-S-A!" at any available opportunity and am contemplating checking out the Potomac Curling Club just to see if I have a chance at making the 2014 Sochi team.  There really aren't many things that could snap me out of this.  However, I knew I could put faith in an old friend to get me into the present, looking forward rather than back.  


You know what finally showed up at work last week?  I've been waiting for this day for a long time.  GIRL SCOUT COOKIE DAY!!!  Thin Mints and Samoas, you are mine.  Never mind that I could easily eat my way through my recommended daily caloric intake in the form of chocolate covered goodness.  This was exactly what I needed to snap myself out of my Olympic funk. 

By the way, Girl Scout Cookie Season also reminds me of Troop Beverly Hills.  I can't tell you how many times my sister and I rented that for summer entertainment.  Anyone else up for dancing the Freddie?  Ok, no dancing going on here, but I further embraced the chocolate concept...

Last weekend (actually, the weekend sad that this blog post has been hanging around in draft form for so long.  I should just give up on it.  But I won't!  It's really important that you all know about these super important...baking...adventures...ok, sorry, just proud this one turned out well, so bear with me) I also embarked on my most ambitious baking adventure to date: chocolate babkaAs I casually brought up babka in conversation (yes, I do these things - apologies to my co-workers and friends), the reactions ranged from "what the hell is that?" to "oh, yeah, Elaine had to settle for the lesser babka!" to "hey, a chocolate bread cake thing sounds pretty good."  It was a bit of a foreign concept to me, too, but you can bet I tagged that recipe as soon as it popped up in Google Reader.

This was truly a baking adventure of the adventurous sort.  It involved...
  • the rather sturdy and reliable KitchenAid mixer nearly rocketing off the counter.  Six cups flour + two sticks butter + four eggs + a cup and a half of milk + dough hook + approximately 10 minutes of strenuous mixing = near disaster.  Crisis averted.  Thank goodness.
  • finely chopping 2 1/4 pounds of chocolate by hand.  I could have used a food processor.  But...I counted the excessive chopping as exercise, which enabled me to eat more babka later.  It all worked out in the end.
  • 3 1/2 sticks of butter.  Go ahead, have a minor heart attack on my behalf.  Paula Deen would be proud.
  • a LOT of time in the kitchen.  A decent chunk of my Saturday.  What else am I going to do, though?  Explore Smithsonian museums and be on the lookout for early cherry blossoms?  Oh, right, maybe I should get on that...
I didn't take any pictures because it was a rather involved process - several mission-critical moments throughout.  But it actually turned out looking a lot like these pictures, which made me excessively happy.  Quite grateful for the twist and tuck picture - it reassured me that yes, it should look like the chocolatey goodness is about to burst forth through the buttery dough.  Yum.

Oh, and when I run out of Thin Mints, I can always make my own.

Ok, ok, I promise I'll get out of the kitchen and go do something cool and DC-ish to write about.  Yes, it's supposed to rain all weekend, but I won't let that deter me.  Perfect day to slap on some rain boots and go explore...something.

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