Thursday, June 23, 2011

bridal-stravaganza dessert trio

One of my very good friends recently married.  This was not her first marriage so she decided to keep the ceremony short and sweet and very very small.  I was one of two non-family members invited.  But even though this was the second time around and she and he were already living together in a well established, well furnished household, some of my work friends and I decided to hold a bridal shower type event for her.  Initially, I was planning to bring a pasta salad (which in retrospect would have been SO much less work than what I did), but I found out there was going to be a green salad and a potato salad and probably wouldn't have been much need for a pasta salad.  So I fell back on dessert, which is where I always seem to end up with these types of things.
It did not help that the week of the shower eastern Massachusetts weather decided to be around 80-90 degrees with 70% and up humidity.  And my kitchen has almost no ventilation of any kind.  It was like baking in a sauna.  I would hurriedly sweat my tookis off and shove something in the oven and quickly retreat to the dark cool of my bedroom.  It took me the better part of two days to make three desserts this way.

First were key lime cupcakes with blackberry buttercream.  I ended up making both of these on day one and decided to assemble right before leaving for fear of melting (which I was ultimately right to fear).  Day two I made red velvet cake truffles and strawberry brown butter bettys.  The truffles sounded SO easy, but were a pain.  The bettys sounded painful, but ended up being so so simple.  Go figure.  Initially I wasn't going to make the bettys, I had the ingredients for a no-bake chocolate mint bar, but realized at the last minute that I might want to make something that wouldn't melt.

So the cake truffles.  I had SUCH high hopes for these, but they seriously left me wanting.  Maybe it was because I cheated and used canned frosting?  Who knows?  I felt ok in using box cake mix (I actually have no issues with box cake mix, though I will go from scratch 60% of the time, I have HUGE issues with canned frosting as I have mentioned before.  BLECCCHHH!!!!)  Basically all I did was bake the cake, cool the cake, crumble the cake up into a very fine crumb, mix the cake with a can of frosting so that it was moist-ish and would hold a shape, roll cake balls, chill and set cake balls for several hours in the fridge and then dip cake balls into melted chocolate.  I think my first issue was that I needed more chocolate than I had; I think it would have been easier and neater looking if I was able to completely submerge the cake ball.  My second issue was trying to cut corners and melt the chocolate in the microwave (which I find never works as well as a double boiler).  My third issue was kind of a generalized problem I have when it comes to baking (especially when making cookies) - when I have to form things by hand I get really lazy and start making things too big.  My final issue was something I should have recognized before even attempting this - my chocolate melting issue.  Any time I am in a hurry to do something my chocolate NEVER EVER EVER tempers/melts properly.    If I can take my time with it, it comes out beautifully.

So clearly bridal stravaganza is complete.  I have sufficiently celebrated them (for the time being - they are having a much larger reception/party in August).  And I'm happy for them.  I am the one, after all, who forced them to suck it up and get together in the first place because I knew they were both interested in the other and I was tired of chasing sketchy guys away from her when we would go out to the bar.  I told him to man up and get off his ass and if he wanted her to do something about it already.  And here it is almost a year later and they're married.

The man in my life of course accompanied me to the wedding and pointed out that while I am happy, I will probably not be sincerely happy for anyone getting married until I do the same.  This is probably truer than he realizes as I've lost out on the whole wedding/marriage thing once before when my ex-fiance had a mental bipolar breakdown.  And as much as I love my guy and believe that good things are headed for us down the road (we're moving in together by August 1st), I have kind of lost or given up or buried that idea of a wedding, etc.  I honestly don't care if I ever get married as long as I feel like he'll always be there and be reliable and love me and father my children someday.  I've given up the dream of the white dress and the party and everything that goes with that because last time I was that excited and happy and secure in something I lost it.  Not only did I lose that, I lost almost everything else in my life structurally speaking.  It has definitely taken me sometime to come to terms with that and accept the fact that my path will be bumpier than I anticipated.  I'm actually really scared of getting engaged this time around, even though I can picture the two of us having a strong marriage.  Almost like, once that happens I'll lose everything again.  Put it this way: I want the marriage, the strong permanent relationship and everything good and bad that goes with it.  The idea of a wedding scares me and just seems too surreal.  I mean even after I was engaged the first time, my ex basically flat out refused to discuss any tangible wedding plans with me, no date, no location, no number of guests, etc.  To the point where I had given up trying to get him to talk about it and anytime I told anyone that I was engaged I was almost more embarrassed than had I been single.  We were engaged for over a year before he ultimately broke it off.  I had actually reached the point of thinking "What's the point of being engaged if we're never actually going to get married?"  I was actually the first among all my friends to get engaged.  Now they're almost all married, and I'm not.  Very, very rarely this fact bothers me.  The vast majority of days I'm thankful I'm not married to the other guy (and bound to a lifetime of stress and trouble and his mental illness that he refused to properly address) and that I have found my current guy - someone who has told me that I am his soul mate and better half.