Never bake when you are PMS-ing.
TMI. When I am PMS-ing, I am the biggest klutz. Dropping everything, knocking shit over. My Christmas Eve agenda was to make cupcakes, baklava, and this chocolate toffee bark aptly referred to as “Christmas Crack.” Apparently it is that addicting. (Don’t worry, I posted the recipe below).
First were the cupcakes. At first I was going to simply make eggnog cupcakes, but then I decided to be all fancy and make gingerbread and eggnog cupcakes with a vanilla-rum buttercream. The baking started off seamlessly enough, without many problems, until it became time to frost the cupcakes. I realized that I was using a closed-star piping tip as I went to frost my first cupcake, but unfortunately it was after I had already filled my piping bag with the buttercream.
Emily’s f-bomb count: 1
A word of advice: Never use a closed-star tip when piping frosting onto cupcakes, except when making buttercream roses. (And even then, an open-star works better).
So I decided to journey on instead of changing tips, which would have required me to squeeze out all of the buttercream from my piping bag, rinse it out and drop the open-star into the bag (as I had decided to forgo the use of a coupler… never again). And instead of piping the roses I still decided that these cupcakes needed traditional swirls of buttercream on top. So rather than perfect peaks of vanilla-rum yumminess atop my cupcakes, I was left with sloppy, uneven blobs of frosting.
Emily’s f-bomb count: 2
By this point I had also dropped my hand mixer twice, and then proceeded to knock my fresh cup of Starbucks Christmas blend that I had taken 2 sips of into my sink, which just so happened to be full of soapy water with soaking dishes. Bye-bye coffee.
Emily’s f-bomb count: 5
Now onto the godforsaken Christmas Crack, which will from now on be the bane of my baking existence. I assembled the layer of crackers on my baking sheet and covered them with the melted butter-sugar toffee mixture like I was supposed to. After it was done baking it was time to add the chocolate. The recipe calls for 2 cups of chocolate chips, but instead I had all these random half-empty bags of various sized semi-sweet and dark chocolate chips, which I proceeded to just dump all over the toffee. I think I ended up with 3 1/2 – 4 cups of chocolate chips. They weren’t melting fast enough for my impatient, PMS-y taste so I figured I would let them sit in the oven for a few minutes to soften. As I went to put the pan in the oven, for some reason I absentmindedly decided that the perfect time for me to let go of it was when it was teetering halfway on the oven rack. The pan fell forward and into the hinge of the oven door. This resulted in the entire front half of my oven and the door being covered in half-melted chocolate chips.
Emily’s f-bomb count: 8 or 9 (or maybe 12)
Luckily I still had a couple half-used bags of chocolate chips, so after my minute-long tirade of various expletives I was still able to finish making the chocolate bark.
Would I make this again? Probably, because it is delicious. But never when I am in a stage of klutzy, hormonal insanity.
As for the baklava? Fuck that shit, I’ll just make it at mom’s.
I could really go for that coffee right now.
Christmas Crack (re-posted from Cannella Vita)
1.5 sleeves of crackers (enough to cover a baking sheet) I used Ritz, but you could also use saltines, Townhouse, graham crackers, etc.
1 stick butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
Sprinkles, nuts, white chocolate, etc. to decorate (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper and spraying generously with nonstick cooking spray. (I didn’t use parchment paper, because I was out, and it worked fine, just use a decent amount of cooking spray. I was severely unprepared this morning).
Arrange the crackers in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Place the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir while the butter melts and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Once boiling, carefully pour the sugar-butter mixture over the crackers in an even layer.
Bake the toffee crackers for about 5 minutes, or until the toffee is bubbling all over. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for a minute or two.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the hot toffee, and allow them to sit for one minute to soften and melt. (If they aren’t melting quick enough, pop in the oven for a minute and let the residual heat soften them, but DO NOT let go of the pan until it is safely and securely resting in its entirety on the oven rack). Once softened, use an offset spatula or knife to spread the chocolate over the toffee in an even layer. While the chocolate is still soft, decorate how you like.
Cool until set- I popped mine in the freezer for a bit. Once set, break into small uneven pieces by hand, and enjoy!
Currently Spinning: A Very She & Him Christmas