In less than 20 days I'll be finished exams and boarding a plane to a tropical paradise for my sister's wedding.
I love traveling. I mean, I love the destination part. I'm not too keen about the actual time it takes to get where you're going. Though, despite what family members might tell you, I'm not that bad to travel with. I'm twenty-years old, but I don't think that the question of "Are we there yet?" will ever get old and honestly, I don't think it's a question that should be limited to any one age group. I mean, everyone has a right to know, don't we?
While I'm stuck inside studying for finals, writing notes, reviewing lectures, and semi-enjoying my relief from actual classes, my mind is constantly drifting to Mexico. Why can't it come sooner? Why can't it be now? But then, my mind is overtaken by the demons of travel whose only purpose it to fill my brain with fears of travel and all the antsy, unpredictable parts that come with it.
I've had to become my own therapist, teaching myself certain techniques to cope with the unknowing stress that starts to surface for every trip, approximately three weeks before.
I know I'm not a doctor and you probably shouldn't actually follow my advice, despite how much Grey's Anatomy I watch.
1) Early flights are the worst. In this case, our flight is at 6AM. 6AM! I wasn't even aware that there was a 6AM. I just assumed that time flowed according to when I was awake. It's correlated to the idea that the world revolves around me. If you're hit with an early flight, my tip is to obviously go to bed early, but also feel free to use a really handy, sort of lame excuse to have someone carry you the entire way.
"Ow! I twisted my ankle getting out of bed at 4AM. I don't think I can walk..."
"OMG! What can I do to --"
2) Waiting for the flight is the worst and this is double-y frustrating when you have at least one connecting flight. So, as a way to pass the time while you wait to board the plane, I suggest food, magazines, or storytelling. No, I don't mean grabbing the latest Berenstein Bears and reading aloud. Most people aren't that interested in a moral lesson on the 'gimme's'. Storytelling involves finding a person, preferably one you don't know, watching them, and coming up with a story.
"That woman over there with the briefcase is only forty years old. She's not married and has no kids because she's too busy spying on Russia for the United States and fighting evil apocalyptic, virus infected zombies who've been created to terminate the human race and wipe out civilization as we know it!"
Don't let your imagination get the better of you.
3) Long flights are the worst. I don't care what you say, but they are. It's a bit harder to do storytelling on the plane because it's not as easy to stare at people without them noticing you and calling the Air Marshal. Instead, why not play a rousing game of... of...
Actually, it's a boring plane ride. There's really no way around it.
However, if you're feeling up to it, why not pack a barrel of these bad boys (see below) and hand them out to the other passengers, charging only a mere $4.50 per bar. It's cheap compared to airplane food and you'll actually accept cash, unlike Air Canada.
Believe it or not, this is actually an original recipe. I mean, I think it is. If you've seen it somewhere before, feel free to e-mail me and let me know, but keep in mind that my self-esteem bruises easily and by the time I read your message I'll probably be fresh out of these bars and thus left with nothing to comfort me.
I also have no name for what these are, but holy kaftan they're delicious. I stole the idea of the bottom layer from cake balls/pops, combining crumbled cake with buttercream frosting, and pressing it to the bottom of a pan.
Have a name suggestion for these little pieces of heaven? Leave a comment below or e-mail me your suggestion!
Currently Unnamed Cake Bars by Kitchen Karate
One cake mix, with necessary ingredients
Approx. 2 cups of buttercream frosting (I used Martha's recipe, found here)
Chocolate Ganache, made from approx. 6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate and 1/2 cup of heavy cream
1. Cook the cake to the specifications on the box. It really doesn't matter what shape the cake is, because you're just going to crumble it up, but keep in mind that I only ended up using half the cake, so maybe make only half of the mix?
2. Once cooled, crumble the cake into small pieces in a bowl.
3. I cooked an entire box of cake mix and only used half of it, which is what I strongly recommend. Basically, combine 2 cups of buttercream frosting for each half of the cake recipe. If you want to use the whole cake, you'll probably need 3-4 cups of buttercream. Keep in mind, this is just my educated guess based on making it.
4. Using clean hands, combine the buttercream and cake pieces until well combined and no cake piece is left dry. It should all stick together.
5. Press the mixture into an 11x7 pan, making sure to press firmly around edges and in to the corners.
Let chill in the fridge for several hours or even over night until the cake layer is firm to the touch.
6. While the cake is in the fridge, make the ganache by scalding cream in a small saucepan. Put the chocolate squares in a heat-proof bowl and pour the cream over it. Let the chocolate and cream sit for 5-10 minutes then stir to combine.
7. When ganache is relatively cool and the cake layer is firm, spread the ganache over the cake layer and immediately sprinkle coconut or another desired topping. Don't combine the topping with the ganache before spreading because it will only lead to disaster and the cake being pulled.
8. Let the bars chill in the fridge until the ganache is cooled and firm.
- When serving the bars, make sure to use a lifter to remove them from the pan or you might end up with some cake left behind.
- If you ever find that you're out of semi-sweet baking squares for anything, you can always substitute 3 tbsp. of cocoa and 1 tbsp. of butter for every 1 oz. of chocolate needed.
Until next time, happy baking!