Before I get to Part 5 of my Bad Boy First Love Story, if you recall, I’m this month’s host for Bread Baking Day #47, Bread with Chocolate. Naturally, as host, I take part too, so I’m submitting a fantastically, deep, dark chocolate Black Forest Bread with dried cherries that are marinated in Kirsch and big chocolate chunks. These are the photos you’ll be viewing throughout the story and at the end I’ll tell you a little about it, along with the recipe. Remember, there’s still plenty of time to submit your yeasted creation, sweet or savory, baked, fried, or whatever..with chocolate added in any form, up until March 1st, Midnight EST. You can read about it HERE!
Once again, if you’re just tuning in for the first time – Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, and Part Four is HERE.
For the first half hour of the car ride home, I was sobbing with many, many screams of ”I HATE YOU” and “HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO US?” shooting up my gullet and out of my mouth – almost involuntary and most probably from the intense pain in my heart. I tried to get him to turn around and go back with promises of no sneaking out and straight A’s my Junior year – anything! I begged him to at least let me say goodbye to our friends and exchange numbers so we could keep in touch. Couldn’t he have just come down Friday after work like he usually did? I swore to him I would have left, understanding why, if he had least given us that. Why was it so imperative that he drive down 2 hours and make us leave at 4 am when he had to work that day?
My mother, of course. I found out later on that she threatened to get in the car at that very moment (1 am) and leave us there if he didn’t drive down and pack us up right that minute. I never had a good relationship with my mother, so that didn’t surprise me. My father has spent most of their married life acquiescing to her ummmm.. peculiar animosity towards me (this is actually an understatement, but the truth is, I just can’t go there now), which has also created a permanent fissure in our relationship. Even if she was wrong and I was right, he had to take her side. I guess he was from the old school (if one actually exists in this case), where you always take the side of your spouse over your children. I was basically silly putty.
When I finally calmed down, I had to listen to the reasons why..
“Young 15-year-old girls out until morning? You could get raped or killed! You didn’t really know these guys – or whoever you were hanging out with!”, blah blah blah…murders a la Jennifer Levin via Robert Chambers, drugs put into drinks, all the teenage girls who go missing ..ad nauseam.
This was all going through one ear and out the other. All I could think of was him. He would come to get me tonight and see an empty house. He would think I didn’t care and just left him..like he was some quickie summer fling and it all meant nothing to me. Even worse..I couldn’t even fathom not seeing him again. The pain I felt was so intense, I considered opening the car door and jumping out, at one point. Yeah, that’ll show my parents – teenage road pizza. Thankfully, that thought only lasted a nano-second.
By the time we dropped my friend off and got home, I realized I hadn’t stopped crying since we left Seaside - the tears refused to stop flowing. I was exhausted and beaten down. I marched up to my room completely numb and got into bed. Sleep was a welcome distraction. I didn’t want to be awake anymore.
Naturally, when I woke up, the intense pain came rushing back like a dam breaking inside of my heart. It was 4 pm..he would be coming by to pick me up in 8 hours. In 8 hours he would think I was a horrible person and probably regret every moment he spent with me. I looked up numbers for the Casino Pier, but mostly got recordings, outside of one man who said everything was operated independently, and he had no idea where to direct me. I mean, how could a description of (At the risk of sounding ‘tweenie’ as an adult)…
“If you combine the DNA of Jon Bon Jovi, Johnny Rzeznick, Jared Leto and Matt Dillon, and let it bubble and amalgamate in a petri dish - he is what might grow”..
..help me? I asked if he could go to the Bumper Car ride and tell my Dreamboat bad boy I was gone and why..
He interrupted me..
“Sweetie, I’m not in Seaside Heights, I occasionally answer calls for such and such carnival attractions here in NYC”
NYC?? Oh, crap.
So, after several more futile attempts, I gave up once Labor Day Weekend passed. The pier was now closed. He would no longer be there, he was probably home already - only 35 or so minutes away from me (his hometown was by the Lincoln Tunnel), but no last name meant no Dreamboat. It was as simple as that.
My junior year is a blur to me. I got back to some semblance of normal, where the pain and longing for him wasn’t as fierce, basically because I ’operated’ on auto-pilot. This was the only way to squelch it. I remember parties, I remember time with my friends, I remember meeting guys..but it’s all so damn vague.
I do remember that I kissed a guy (no idea why I remember this) who was once the subject of a rampant rumor my freshman year. Two beautiful junior girls had made some kind of strange suicide pact. They would give up their virginity to him, then goodbye world. Of course, it never happened, it was all for attention and drama. When I kissed him, all I could think was ‘THANK GOD they didn’t go through with it, because if he ‘Rumbaed’ like he kissed, what a complete waste that would have been’ – although at the time, I had never done the ‘Rumba’. Regardless, I was kissing him on auto-pilot, I felt nothing, and it just made me miss Dreamboat more.
I only turned off auto-pilot and took control of the wheel late at night when I was alone. My bed was up against a huge window. I would prop my pillows on the sill, window open, smelling and breathing in the cold, night air, wondering what it would be like to be with him in this weather, wondering what he was doing at that very moment..was he bundling up with some other lucky girl? I’d put on his favorite classic rock station and sometimes cry myself to sleep, cold tears streaming down my face, tasting the salt in the corners of my lips. Sometimes I just felt an empty – hollow inside - existing but not living – a conch shell of a person who’s innards had already been extracted and chopped for fritters. Then again, if someone held me up to their ear, they wouldn’t hear the ocean, just pathetic, whiny sobs.
At times I could actually smell him. I was cooking a pot of chicken soup one evening, and when I pulled off the lid for a quick taste for seasonings and a soup steam facial,..the way he used to smell went right to my nose..taking my breath away. Trust me, he didn’t smell like chicken soup – it was just a brief moment of his clean, sweet scent that I loved so much. I think it took me 20 minutes to walk away from that damn pot of soup, trying to get a whiff again, before I realized I just might be crazy.
My grades were also suffering. I was flunking History. I’d never flunked any subject in my life, but for some reason I didn’t care. The teacher was duller than a butter knife, which led to mounds of doodles of Dreamboat’s name all over my notebook, instead of clear, concise notes on whatever moment in history he was outlining on the chalkboard.
“SO, Miss Lisa, *a tap tap tap on his desk to make sure I heard him* to wake you up, here’s an easy one. What executive order was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War for the freedom of slaves?”
My head resting in my hand, eyes half closed in a dream state as I traced the heart around Dreamboat’s name over and over, I answered quietly and lazily..
“The Ejaculation Proclamation”
To this day I don’t why or how this came out of my mouth..well, I sort of know why..my notebook was on a page from Health/Sex Ed class. There was the word, written 3 times.
The whole class roared with laughter . I knew I just punched my ticket to History hell. He thought I said it on purpose, but I didn’t, it just came out in my sleepy stupor. See? An existing shell of myself..auto-pilot Lisa. I actually got lucky, he cracked a very, very slight smile before berating me. I apologized profusely, swearing I had no idea why I said it. I slipped out of that one by the skin of my teeth, but I knew I was still screwed as far as History went.
As the months passed by..and the weather warmed, my hopes were scattered. If we returned, would he be working on the pier again? The chances were slim - he had just graduated High School when I met him, so no doubt he’d probably picked up a full-time job locally. On the bright side, me, the friend who was with me the previous summer, and two other friends were planning on pooling our saved up allowance, gift, birthday etc.. money and getting a place in August, for about 3 weeks, up until Labor Day Weekend. Shockingly, my parents didn’t veto that idea, nor did theirs. I guess they felt it was time to drop a little independence into our lives? Get us used to living away from home, for college? Oh, who the heck cares? As long as I was there and so was he.
One problem, though..I flunked History and had to go to summer school. I was sick to my stomach. As I mentioned, I’d never flunked a subject, nor did I ever think I’d end up in summer school. However, it only went from the late June to late July, so all was golden. I could handle 1 month. In fact, for some reason, my High School was the ‘summer school’ for the whole county, so summer school was rife with bad boys, though none could compare to Dreamboat. I must admit – it did made the task a lot easier. I needed to feel a few crushes, I needed something to look forward to just in case I’d never see Dreamboat again. I never actually acted on any of them, but it helped me rip through summer school easily, straight A’s paired with afternoons at a friend’s pool or the swim club. Once we had our little Seaside apartment – found via the classifieds - paid for and confirmed, life was starting to look up again. The butterflies were multiplying the closer it got to the day we would leave.
*Please, please, please let him be there. If he doesn’t want me anymore, I understand - I just need to see him and explain*
Scratch that, if he doesn’t want me anymore, or has a girlfriend, I’ll die. No, first I’ll throw up – then I’ll die.
I clearly remember the day we finally drove down. My mother was the chauffeur, but that’s it – we were on our own once she split. The car couldn’t move fast enough – I was actually pushing an invisible pedal to the metal with my foot every time she slowed down.
“Mom, please, could you go a little faster??”
“I’m driving the speed limit”
I looked at the speedometer, 35 mph in a 55 mph zone.
“NO, you’re going 35, the speed limit is 55″
“I’ll drive the way I want!”
Figures, just when a possible reconnection with the guy of my dreams was possible, my mother decided to drive like an 85-year old. Then, just my luck..a weird smell and smoke coming from the front hood. I kid you not.
So there we sat, on a grassy knoll on the side of the Garden State Parkway, the 4 of us and my mother, waiting for AAA to show. It was like a bad movie..every scene worse than the previous scene.
Turned out the engine overheated. After almost an hour of coolants and cooling down, we were finally on the road again. We got there around 5 pm. We hurried up these rickety stairs with our luggage to inspect our new ‘pad’. It was a joke, A kitchen with a couch, 1 bedroom with a bunk bed, and 1 bathroom. Did I care? No. What did we expect for the small amount we paid? As long as there were no roaches, I was cool. We brought our own bedding and comforts of home.
Since we were staying on the same avenue where my parents rented the cottage the year before..I had to run and see the local girls we had befriended who lived two doors down from that cottage.
I knocked excitedly and one of them opened the door – shock and surprise registering on her face. After a slew of..”What happened to you guys? You just disappeared, never said goodbye?!?” from both her and her sister..I explained everything. Then…
“This is really weird, Lisa. We were on the Casino Pier last night (they had been visiting their father in upstate NY for most of the summer, so they hadn’t been in Seaside until a few days prior to our arrival) and we saw that guy you were at the party with last year. He’s working on the Tilt-A-Whirl’.”
“Did you speak to him?” I asked tentatively
“No, just saw him, but he didn’t see us. We immediately thought of you and suddenly you show up!”
From that moment on, everything they said was background noise. That was all I needed to hear as my heart bounced around in my chest.
Well, I thought this would be the last installment, but I guess not. This story has now grown six heads. Check back in a few days for Bad Boy First Love Part Six (Geeeeeez).
Now for this dense, sweet and phenomenal Black Forest Cherry Chocolate Chunk Loaf. I was looking for an old cookbook a few days ago, and came across a bread machine cookbook that I received as a gift with a brand new bread machine during the holidays back in 1994. I had used this book to death because it was chockful of incredible and unique bread recipes adapted for bread machines, and it was fun trying all the recipes during this bread machine phase of my baking life. It’s now out of print, but if you can find it somewhere., used or new…I highly recommend grabbing a copy if you have a bread machine and like to use your bread machine. It’s the best bread machine cookbook I ever came across, to this day. It’s called The Best Bread Machine Cookbook Ever by Madge Rosenberg.
I converted her bread machine recipe for Black Forest Chocolate Cherry Bread to hand or stand mixer kneading and oven baking. I added the chocolate chunks to the recipe..well..disks, very large couverture disks I purchased from Leites Culinaria a while back for a chocolate chip cookie recipe I never got around to trying.
I also made a sweet vanilla bean cream cheese whip as a spread for this wonderfully moist and dense chocolate bread. It’s a tasty, tangy – sweet emulation of the whipped cream on a Black Forest Cake.
Black Forest Chocolate Chunk Cherry Bread
Recipe from The Best Bread Machine Cookbook Ever, by Madge Rosenberg, converted to manual mixing/kneading and oven baking, with my addition of chocolate chunks
Makes One 1.5 lb loaf
3/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons kirsch or rum (optional, you can soak the cherries in any fruity liquid you prefer..it doesn’t have to be alcohol)
1 cup water
1/2 cup good quality dark cocoa powder (I used Valrhona. You can use a basic supermarket cocoa powder, and it doesn’t have to be dark, your call)
2 3/4 cups bread flour
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoond salt
3 tablespoons softened butter
1 large egg, room temperature
3/4 cup good quality chocolate chunks or disks
1. Place dried cherries in a medium bowl with half the Kircsh or rum, or whatever soaking liquid you choose. Set aside until needed. They will plump and soften slightly.
2. Boil water and stir in cocoa until uniform. Let cool until tepid, about 120 to 130 degrees F.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Using paddle attachment, combine and slowly pour in tepid cocoa/water mixture. Add softened butter and mix until it’s blended in. Add the egg and keep mixing until uniform and brownie batter like.
3. Slowly add in remaining (more or less depending on weather) flour until you have a slightly stiff dough that’s easy to work with. Now, you can either switch to the dough hook and let it knead the dough until it’s smooth and silky – slapping against the sides of the bowl cleanly, about 10 minutes, or dump it on a floured pastry board and knead by hand (therapeutic).
4. Form the kneaded dough into smooth ball. Lightly grease a large bowl, and place the dough in it..turning to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about an hour or so, until doubled in size.
5. When doubled in size, fold dough over on itself to deflate it, then place back on a clean floured pastry board, flattening it. Add the cherries with soaking liquid and the chocolate chunks or disks then fold the dough over itself several times to start incorporating them. The cherries and chocolate will keep popping out of the dough in a peek-a-boo manner with some falling out. It’s ok, just keep pushing them back in and kneading. There will be cherries and chocolate chunks showing once you’re finished, but that’s perfectly fine..just stuff them back in with your fingers as best you can. You just want to make sure you get them evenly distributed throughout the dough. Let rise in greased bowl, covered, for another hour.
6. Form dough into a loaf shape, and place in a greased and lightly floured 9 x 5 loaf pan. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise until more than doubled..rising above the top of the pan – about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Could be less depending on how warm the area you keep it in, is.
7. When the dough looks about ready, preheat the oven to 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Place in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. This is a very dark chocolate bread, so you can’t tell by color. Another way to tell if it’s done is to take it’s internal temperature. It should register about 205 degrees F, but I don’t like poking a hole in my bread. ;D
8. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then turn out of pan and place on wire rack to cool fully. Brush with remaining kirsch or whatever liquid you used if flavored over top of loaf. If you used water, don’t bother. Slice up and enjoy!
BREAD MACHINE DIRECTIONS:
1. Freeze the chocolate chunks. Place all ingredients in the order suggested by your bread machine manual except the cherries and chocolate chunks and process on the basic bread cycle.
2. At the end of the first knead cycle (it should beep) add cherries with soaking liquid and frozen chocolate chunks.
3. Brush top of loaf with kirsch or rum after you remove the fully baked bread from the machine.
Cream Cheese Vanilla Bean Spread
8 oz of cream cheese, softened
2 large, 3 medium or 4 small vanilla beans, split and scraped (stick empty pods in a separate canister of granulated sugar to make vanilla sugar..great stuff!)
1/3 cup powdered sugar
About 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1. In a medium bowl, with a hand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in vanilla bean scrapings, then powdered sugar. Beat on medium speed until uniform. Drizzle in heavy cream and continue beating on low speed until it’s reached a nice, creamy, fluffy, spreadable consistency.
I’m submitting this Black Forest Chocolate Chunk Cherry Bread to Yeastspotting, a weekly bread baking showcase hosted by the uber talented Susan of Wild Yeast.