Monday, March 10, 2008

Cocoa and Violence

Lately there hasn’t been much to blog about, unless you want to hear about my incredible desire for more baked goods and good chocolate.

It seems I got spoiled back on Valentine’s Day when a box of very fresh, very delicious Belgian chocolates arrived on my doorstep. I started the box while watching the movie Eastern Promises; the chocolate was better. Ever since then I’ve harbored an enormous desire to eat more very good chocolates (thwarted by every awful supermarket brand) and an even more bizarre desire to watch fewer ‘R’ rated movies.

Eastern Promises has a fantastic plot, driven and engaging performances, but the throat slitting (nothing by Sweeney Todd standards) has kind of put me off of film violence. I think I’m over it all, which is new. I think I was over Hershey’s chocolate from birth, but even Lindt isn’t doing it for me anymore. Lindt is what I buy my kids to eat, it has become ‘kid-level’ chocolate. My biggest problem is that my Belgian chocolates are, on sale, $27 a pound. Ouch. Also, you can’t just run down to the corner grocery to buy them; tack on another $14 for 2-day refrigerated shipping. I’m guessing that when you’re looking into refinancing your home to keep you in chocolates, it might be time to reevaluate.

So the time for reevaluation has arrived: fewer ‘R’ movies and less substandard chocolate, even if that means less chocolate. I wonder if this self-reflection will begin to preclude baked goods. Heaven forfend, I don’t think I can get over baked goods:

Exhibit A - Mini donuts I made for a party last week.

Exhibit B - The bread sticks I made for the family from Sarah K's recipe.

Exhibit C - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (R) has been in my DVD player for more than a week.

(Red Box found its sucker.)


compulsive writer said...

You put me back in Brussels for a moment. It was the day I tasted Godiva for the very first time.


It was heavenly. And the first time I realized chocolate (at least European chocolate) was true.

Melody said...

Give me Belgian chocolate (or Swiss or even some nice dark American made Scharffenberger) or give me death.

I'm with you 100%!(or in the case of Scharffenberger, I'll take the 72% Madagascar blend.

Best of luck with the refinance.

citymama1 said...

I once heard an interview with a chocolate taster on NPR. I think you should audition of that job. All the chocolate you can eat and you could use words like "earthy" and "slightly abrasive" to describe what you're eating.

Rynell said...

When I read the title, I thought that it had become necessary to commit acts of violence in order to procure fine chocolate. I'm glad to that riches, not felonies, are requisite.

Cafe Johnsonia said...

Chocolate? Did someone say chocolate?

I've had to wean myself from spending oodles of money on chocolate every time I went to Trader Joe's. Now, I don't know if it's as good as the chocolate that you need, but it hits the spot when I have a need.

The Lindt is for kids line made me laugh out loud. My kids won't even touch inferior chocolate. They sure like Lindt. We have a store up the street. And they aren't pansies--they like it rich and dark. No milk for them.

Heidi said...

Chocolate is no laughing matter. I'm glad you take yours seriously.

Karyn said...

I'm with you, Lindt is kid chocolate, for sure.
A while back Costco was selling an international collection of dark chocolate bars. I bought two collections (each with ten bars) and they lasted...I'm not saying how long... but not very long. The fine chocolate has made me detest most chocolate...the halloween chocolate was not a temptation at all. I have no regrets becoming a chocolate snob. Only haute chocolate. I only want the good stuff.

La Yen said...

You have a World Market in Sandy. You can get it there. Serio.

kristenlibrarian said...

NAKED FIGHTING! I mean...yes...good chocolate mean chocolate...

The Bakers said...

Oh bring on the chocolate baby! As for Eastern Promises? Yah, I walked out of that...mostly cause I was with my brothers...and there's that ONE scene, and I was suddenly very uncomfortable. HAAHHA! Jesse James? So good...not as good as chocolate...but good.

sarah k. said...

The breadsticks look great. I love that you twisted them. I did that the first time I made them, but it's not quite as cute if they're really skinny. On the other hand, you could make some pretty good cheese straws that way.

Sue said...

You MADE mini-doughnuts? Freakin' overachiever.

(I say this with love.)

P.S. Dark chocolate is NASTY.

Azúcar said...

Hmm chocolate taster, I'm going to have to say 'no.' I don't want to wreck my hobby with a job.

Sue, this is just another place where you're wrong. Dark chocolate is good, you just have to have the right kind. Oh, grasshopper, I had so much to teach you.

And yes, mini-donuts. I shall make them again as well. Next time they will be even better (that was just my trial run.)

sarah k. said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to ask you why the heck you haven't tried Hatch Family Chocolates yet. In Salt Lake. E street and 4th ave. I'm going there TOMORROW!!!!!

Jill said...

You made donuts?


I only buy Palmers chocolate for my kids. (Nothing says Easter like chocolate flavored wax)
To them, Hershey's is a delicacy.
I will wait for them to be old enough to have a job before introducing them to good chocolate. That way they can pay for it themselves.

Likely said...

love me some foiled gold coins right about now.

kristib said...

Ok- I have a question that's neither here nor there regarding your post, but since you're talking about baked goods.....I made eclairs last weekend and my chocolate glaze turned out totally grainy. I'm guessing you'll know the problem. The recipe was butter, semi-sweet chocolate (I used milk chips-sorry :), vanilla and powdered sugar. Do you have any suggestions for future attempts?

Azúcar said...

I’m assuming that the recipe called for you to melt the chips and stir in the other ingredients. My first instinct is that the chocolate wasn’t the correct temper, make sure you melt at a low heat: cocoa butter melts at about 88 degrees. Given, you’re using chips that usually have less cocoa butter and more stabilizers, you can’t melt at that low, but you should try to melt gently over a double boiler. I usually put a small mixing bowl over a small saucepan with simmering water, taking care that the water isn’t touching the bowl. Stir often to keep the chocolate emulsified. Remove when there are just little bits of chips left, the residual heat should melt them. Cool the melted chocolate slightly. I’m not sure if you’re supposed to melt the butter or add it to the sugar at room temp like a regular buttercream. If you’re supposed to melt the butter, whisk it into the melted chocolate, whisk in the vanilla, and add in the sugar slowly to incorporate, whisking or beating any lumps out. That will make more of an icing than a frosting. If you’re supposed to cream the butter and add the sugar, and then the chocolate, try creaming the butter and sugar together with the vanilla and a few teaspoons of milk or cream. Let the mixture sit for a little to breakdown the sugar a little (but not too long or you’ll need to cover it so the frosting doesn’t get a crust) then add the melted chocolate.

You might try a good quality chocolate bar versus chips since bars don’t have the stabilizers that chips do to keep them chip shaped.

kristib said...

See- I knew you'd know what you were talking about! Thanks for the tips.

b. said... was the movie? Did you ever get to it?