Sunday, September 26, 2010
Chocolate for Writers (or anyone who wants a treat)
Any writer worth the salt they’re licking off the margarita glass knows that chocolate cures writer's block, aids in dealing with rejection, enhances procrastination, and is always eaten in celebration. With Christmas just around the corner (and it IS, you know, even if Halloween is only just on the horizon as I write this), I figure now would be the best time to share a family recipe; to give you a head start for those Christmas preparations.
This is easy. There is no stress. Honestly. No need to over-think it. Just follow the directions, and it will work out JUST fine.
Here we go:
Chocolate Marshmallow Roll
1 egg, beaten
1 cup icing sugar
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons butter
120 mini coloured marshmallows
1 – 1 ½ cups sweetened coconut
Before you do anything, pull out a sheet of wax paper. Not parchment paper. Not clear cling-film wrap. Not foil. Not freezer paper.
Just WAX paper.
Pull out maybe 17 to 18 inches of it, and sprinkle about half the coconut along the middle of the WAX paper, but not all the way to each end. Eventually, you will need to ROLL the whole thing up, twisting the ends closed, as this recipe is for a ROLL.
Now, before we begin, a few notes about the ingredients.
The eggs: this is an OLD family recipe, so the exact size of egg is not clear. But let’s meet halfway and use a medium-sized egg. If you crack one open and it’s one of those double-yolk-ers, although good luck in some parts of the world, DON’T USE it. Save it in the fridge for making a face mask (there ARE recipes for such a mask). I don’t think brown eggs make a difference, and I don’t know the measurement for those pre-beaten eggs from a carton. And forget about powdered eggs. Gag.
The icing sugar: just use NORMAL, everyday, icing sugar. Not FINE sugar, the kind for strawberries. Not pre-made icing from a container. Don’t try to use granulated sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, artificial sweeteners, liquid sugar, or finely minced sugar cane. IT WON’T WORK.
The semi-sweet chocolate squares: don’t try to substitute with a million chocolate chips (eating them while you make this is fine). Don’t try carob chips; another gag. Don’t get bitter chocolate, sugar-free or organic. Just use good old fashioned, sugar-laced, calorie-laden, non-organic, semi-sweet chocolate squares. They come in a box, each square individually wrapped - very cute, actually.
The butter: real butter is fine, but if you have margarine, that’s fine too. I know that margarine is supposed to be unhealthy for you, but if that’s all you have - fine (you’re already using semi-sweet chocolate squares, so you might as well go all the way). DON’T use any of the margarines that are made with olive oil, are vegan (you’re already using eggs, don’t forget), are salt-free, are packed with Omega3, reduced-fat, fat-free, dairy-free….the list goes on. Who cares if it contains yellow dye? Just use regular, cholesterol-laden ordinary margarine. You’re eating all that chocolate anyways. And for the love of chocolate, do NOT use those sprays. If this is too stressful for you, just use real butter. But don’t use salt-free, lactose-free, or clarified butter. And don’t use….oh never-mind.
120 mini-coloured marshmallows: when I say 120, I mean 120. Not 119. Not 121. Specifically 120. Count them out by tens if you must, putting them in little groupings on the counter. You will need 12 groups of 10. And yes, there IS dye in those coloured marshmallows (like the yellow dye in margarine). But they are technically FRUIT flavoured marshmallows, so they can’t be THAT bad for you.
Sheesh….you’re looking a little too deeply into all this, aren’t you? This is a SIMPLE recipe.
The coconut: remember, this is a SIMPLE recipe. Don’t buy a whole coconut and burst a hernia trying to crack the darn thing open in hopes of shredding the gunk inside. It’s messy, painful, and you will end up with hairy things from the husk everywhere. Don’t use canned coconut, dehydrated chunks, or coconut milk powder (yes, there is such a thing). Just use regular, over-processed, over-sweetened, preservative-laden, packaged coconut. No-name brand is fine.
Okay, now for the process.
1. Melt chocolate and butter/margarine in a saucepan over low-medium heat. Remove from heat.
2. Stir in icing sugar until well mixed, then the egg.
3. Mix well until smooth and shiny.
4. Fold in marshmallows.
5. Spread mixture in a ‘log’ formation on top of the coconut on the waxed paper.
6. Sprinkle remaining coconut over roll.
7. Roll into a chocolaty, wax-papered log, twisting the ends closed.
8. Chill for up to 3 hours (overnight is best), unwrap, slice into ½ inch slices, and serve (looks pretty with the coloured marshmallows).
See? Wasn’t that easy? And there was NO stress involved. You didn’t have to over-think anything.
Enjoy, and happy writing (and eating, and baking)!
(author’s note: I am not an epicurean expert - I know my own slices are not round in the picture. Who cares – JUST EAT IT!)