Monday, September 3, 2007
A Day in New Haven
For many Connecticut runners, Labor Day is not only a day off, but is also the day for the New Haven Road Race, a 20K event that serves as the national championships for that distance. I'd opted out this year, a fortuitous decision given the party that some overachieving virus decided to hold last week in my upper-respiratory and sinus system. Although I wasn't totally sure I'd be in shape even to spectate at this year's race, I felt well enough by Sunday and forged ahead so that I would not go empty-handed.
To share with my running (and non-running) buddies in attendance in New Haven this year, I prepared a couple of items from Lisa Yockelson's Chocolate Chocolate. First up was Cookie Crumb and Coconut-Swirled Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake. This recipe had caught my eye when I was making Sour Cream-Milk Chocolate Chip Pound Cake last week. As with all of Lisa's recipes, this one is detailed and clear, but I realized that I do have one gripe. She refers to the pan size required as a 10-inch Bundt pan, and I think that almost every other recipe writer calls it a 12-cup Bundt pan. Perhaps it's just me, but I tend to think of tube pans in volume sizes, not in diameters. I almost prepped a pan that would have been, like the Grinch's heart, two sizes too small.
On the plus side, the cake is fantastic: moist, rich, and chocolatey. The cookie-crumb tunnel (ground Oreos, coconut, and a bit of sugar) is a visual and textural counterpoint.
Next up was Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chunk Bars. These gooey peanut-butter based bars contain a bunch of chopped-up peanut-butter cups, chocolate chunks, and peanuts, then are topped with more chopped-up peanut-butter cups. To someone with a puritanical bent, these rich treats might seem excessive. The rest of us, of course, will be happy to indulge. I have to admit that I think there's something about this recipe that didn't quite work. Although I baked the bars for the full recommended baking time, they seemed underdone. At the same time, the bars were becoming fairly browned at the edges, and I feared overbaking. Should I make these things again, I think I'll try covering the pan with foil and baking them a few more minutes. They're super-gooey and taste great, but they're almost too soft to eat out of hand.