Monday, January 23, 2012

Battle : BOB

As foreshadowed in the pages of this blog, Jeff and I engaged in hand-to-hand combat in the kitchen to create a dessert featuring Hershey's Bits O' Brickle ("BOB") in honor of this man pictured above: F. Polance. Around here he's known as Uncle Frank and he is usually accompanied by his lovely and palate-sensitive wife, Joyce. They were the lucky recipients of the desserts that Jeff and I constructed with our bare hands and our raw love last weekend.

Here's how it went down:

Pictured above is the dessert that I made, which is an adaptation of a favorite recipe from my sugar-coated youth. In Texas, we call it "mud pie," and the traditional recipe calls for chocolate crust filled with coffee ice cream, which is covered in a layer of Hershey's chocolate syrup and capped off with a layer of BOB and a generous dollop of whipped cream. For my updated version, I made a homemade graham cracker crust with extra butter and love. While still an homage to my roots, I thought I should put a little more labor into my dish. That, and I couldn't find a chocolate crust anywhere.

I am not (yet) sponsored by Hershey's, but am entertaining options from all major chocolate companies.

My beloved is no stranger to the kitchen or creativity. Jeff's offering was a crepe filled with a cheese filling (cottage cheese and BOB beautifully married by the immersion blender) and topped with a chocolate raspberry sauce. Then, to completely show off he melted the BOB in the shape of Frank's initials. Then, he covered the plate with BOB dust.

I won't lie: Jeff's plate was gorgeous. It was elegant, fruity, and playful all at the same time. If only he hadn't introduced his dish and featuring "cottage cheese," he may have won. There's just something about the words "cottage cheese" that seems both geriatric and wholly unappetizing.

Frank and Joyce judged us on (1) presentation (20%), (2) originality (20%), and (3) taste (60%). I have to admit the race was closer than I would have liked. I won on taste, because at the end of the day, it was an ice cream cake with extra toffee on top. Jeff's chocolate sauce was good, but that damned cottage cheese filling was too sour for the judges' taste. Clearly, Jeff's presentation was a marvel and he deserved every prop and accolade for his considerable efforts. I was robbed in originality, because Uncle Frank said mine wasn't original since it was an adaptation of my mother's Thanksgiving dessert. That's technically not "unoriginal" under the rules. The question isn't whether it was brand new from my imagination, but whether it was original to the judges. I didn't fight too hard but that was bogus. Any fool can make a crepe, a filling, a sauce and melt candy together to make letters. I saw that on Wendy's $.99 menu last week.


At the end of the dessert tasting/testing, I was happy that Mama's mudpie was a strong contender and that I was a winner. (I really like to win.) Within 15 minutes of doing my victory lap, however, I started to feel pretty ill. It was an acute case of sugar overload, and as I lay in bed the ceiling was spinning as if I had just left the Sigma Chi party on jello shot night. WTF? All I wanted was a few helpings of toffee to remember my childhood, but I think I overshot the mark or underestimated the potency of Hershey's products. To this day (10 days later), I still can't really imagine craving anything sweet. I may never ever let BOB pass my lips again, but that hasn't spoiled the taste of sweet, sweet victory.

I almost died of sugar poisoning, but I won! I won!

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