You know, an unexpected earthquake and hurricane really liven things up during an otherwise dull first week of term.
Though, admittedly, I didn't realize the earthquake was actually an earthquake until making it to Starbucks and finding myself amongst noisy chatter concerning the coming of the apocalypse. I just thought it was, you know, construction. Not to mention the irony of Hurricane Irene hitting this weekend [by irony I mean the name; as if I didn't already have Sherlock on the brain 20 hours a day, it somehow finds a way to permeate every aspect of my existence]. Life is full of unexpected surprises, I suppose.
Anyway, first week is over, and I'm heading home for the weekend. On my way back, I'll be making a pit-stop in the city to visit Brinay and bring her a [not-so-surprise] treat for her birthday this weekend. Sea salted chocolate-caramel shortbread bars. I asked Brinay a few days ago what she would want if I, hypothetically of course, happened to bake her something for the occasion. All she said to me was "chocolate," but that was more than enough.
I happened across a recipe for chocolate dulce de leche bars on the interweb, but altered the recipe to my own tastes. Mainly with the addition of sea salt on top. Chocolate is wonderful for its versatility, and I wanted to try something new. Chili powder was an option as well, though I think that's best suited for a dessert a little...grander. A mousse or cake, perhaps. But birthday bars? Nah. For these, I kept 'em short, sweet, and just a little bit salty.
These are quite delicious. The topping is soft, almost the consistency of a dense mousse, and each bite melts in your mouth in the most pleasant way. You want to use a very small amount of sea salt on top, since sea salt itself has such an intense depth of flavor. Just a hint is enough to make you think there's something more than just chocolate, but hardly enough to make you realize it until you lick your lips and taste traces of saltiness left behind.
A new dimension to ordinary chocolate bars. One I'm hoping Brinay will enjoy when I see her in a few hours.
As for the semester, I'm anticipating a busy one. I've already been confronted with more reading than I expected having to do on a week-to-week basis, none of which I'm too excited about. Still, not having class on Fridays helps.
And I mean, if one of your required readings is a biography of Leonardo da Vinci, it can't be all bad. I anticipate many days of tea, scones, and art history in my future.