12 febbraio 2013

Malted Pretzel Crunch for Super Bowl Sunday and Bad Boy First Love, Part Two.

First I just want to say that this post was almost set to go Wednesday, and then my computer crashed.  It was fixed briefly, but then it crashed again.  Thankfully I didn’t lose anything, but went through two days of no computer hell!  You know how it is.  Can’t live without them, really can’t live without them.

Before I get to this amazing Super Bowl snack, I think I owe you all a Part Two to my Bad Boy First Love story.  If you’re just tuning in, Part One is HERE.
Last we left off..
We couldn’t stop staring at each other as my friend and hunky monkey man chatted away, shy, fleeting glances from my end – more direct, confident ones from his.
The animated chatter between my friend and hunky monkey man was in stark contrast to the deep, silent connection that was developing between me and this dreamboat of a guy.  Their voices seemed far away, like echoes amid the music, pinball machines and video game bings, zips and throttles.  Apparently, they found an instant connection via music;
“Van Halen is nothing without David Lee Roth – nothing”
“I KNOW..OMG, you can’t replace David Lee Roth. Hagar is ok, but it just isn’t Van Halen!”
I couldn’t stop staring at him.  He looked even better under the bright lights of the arcade the carousel was in.  He was almost exactly what I had envisioned when I dreamed about the perfect guy for me.  This was too uncanny, but I wasn’t complaining.
Then the sexy, tough our own little world..
“You have beautiful eyes”
Up until then, I don’t think I’d ever blushed in my entire was some weird missing gene anomaly, or so I thought.  I felt it start from my chest, moving up my neck..and then my face was on fire.  Damn, I was blushing.  I wanted to pull my jean jacket over my face.
“Thank you, so do you”  I said.  He really did..cerulean blue eyes that made my stomach do cartwheels, somersaults, and handsprings every time he looked at me.  10′s across the board.  I still couldn’t feel my legs.
Soon hunky monkey was playing a video game – my friend leaning on the side of it watching him adoringly.  He had set the game for two and was soon calling on dreamboat to take his turn, busting open the invisible bubble that had formed around us, blocking out the world.
“Nahh, why don’t you have her friend play you” He said, not taking his eyes off of me.  I felt faint.
I interjected – “It’s ok, go ahead..really”  Truth was, I wanted to feel my legs again, not to mention I needed to breathe normally – my heart had been beating like a Dave Grohl, during his Nirvana days, drum solo.  Was it possible to have a heart attack at 15?
Plus, and most importantly, I  had to confer with my friend.
In my best Wicked Witch of the West voice..I leaned in close to her and said “I’m melting..I’m melting”
“I’ve never seen you like this, you’re gonna marry this guy” my friend whispered
“I’d marry him right now if he asked me” I responded – and I meant it.
We both laughed and whispered about every moment of the whole 10 minutes we’d been there.  She really liked hunky monkey.  I knew I was falling in love.  Craziest feeling ever, this was most definitely a love at first sight dealypoo.

Suddenly, I felt a soft touch on my arm, then that sexy, tough voice in the softest, sweetest tone…
“What do you want to do?  Get something to eat?  Anywhere you want to go?”
*I want to kiss you.  I want to kiss you non-stop until we’re 90 years old.  I want you to kiss my lips off, even if it looks weird  and people turn away at the sight of me, even if I have to drink from a sippy cup for the rest of my life*
“Umm..anything is fine, I’m flexible” *because staring at a wall with you would be amazing*
Hunky monkey said there was a party still going on at the place he was staying, with a few kegs, would we want to do that?
My friend and I exchanged what we called brain waves via eye contact.  We always knew what the other was thinking with just a look.
“Sure!” we both said in unison.
It’s amazing how agreeable you are when you want to marry a guy you just met two hours ago.  It’s also amazing when you already have a visual of your wedding dress picked out. He could kiss my lips off at a party – he could kiss my lips off in a sewage plant for all I cared.  Part of me wanted to be alone with him, though..and I could feel he wanted that too.  Look!  I was already having brain waves with him.  Yep, this was meant to be.

We started making our way down the boardwalk to a ramp leading off the boardwalk, He took my hand in his..our fingers entwined naturally, a perfect fit, his hand so strong, warm, ever so slightly calloused, not what you would find on the hands of any of the guys I grew up with.  In fact, a lot of their hands were softer than mine!  There went my legs again..I was walking on freakin’ clouds or some fluffy subtsance that allowed me not to feel the asphalt below.
Soon we were at a parking lot.  Huh?  Why would we need to drive anywhere?  Then I recalled one thing he mentioned when we first met a few hours earlier.  His parents had a summer house in Toms River, across the bridge.  Of course he needed a car – to drive to work.  There it sat..a lone navy blue Volkswagon Beetle from like 1978.  WTH?  I didn’t know even used ones existed anymore, plus…I couldn’t imagine this dreamboat of a strong and tough, with a Volkswagon Beetle.  Hunkey monkey’s voice interrupted my thoughts..
“Would you believe this guy bought this car for 25 bucks from a junkyard, completely dead..and restored it back into working order all by himself?”
I started to melt again…could he be any more perfect?
When we got to the party it was good to see that there were some local girls there that we had met and hung out with the previous few days.  He brought me a beer, which I sipped slowly, really craving one of those lemonades with all the crushed ice and lemon halves.  I told him this jokingly – to offset my distaste of beer and before I knew it, he was offering to go back to the boardwalk and get me one before they closed.  Of course I asked if I could come along.

“I was hoping you would ask me that” he said
That’s it..10 minutes at this party and we were out of there, we wanted to be alone.  I told my friend, who I knew would be safe with the local girls being there.  She was having her own little moments with the hunky monkey.  They were getting along famously – laughing and chatting away, so all was cool in the land of love, puppy love, or pure unadulterated, teenage puppy lust.  Whatever you want to call it – it fits.  The local girls and hunky monkey would walk her home if we weren’t back by the time she wanted to leave.
Once he got the lemonade for me he said he knew a really pretty place we could go to talk (ha ha…I’ll scream if you don’t kiss me).  Of course I smiled and nodded yes.  Remember, I was flexible – for him.
We ended up at this beautiful lookout on Barnegat Bay.  He turned off the ignition, but kept the radio on..classic rock, of course.  I think my hand was numb from the ice cold giant lemonade I was holding, perched on my right knee.  I stared at his silhouette in the moonlight, but I couldn’t let it go to free the numbness.  I was mesmerized.. My eyes adjusted to the dark, I could see him clearly now, those blue eyes shooting lasers through every pore in my skin.  Those lips, those arms, his sweet smelling light brown/dirty blonde hair grazing the collar of his work shirt.  I was intoxicated being so close to him.  This was a Volkswagon Beetle, we were close before we could even get close.
Frankly, I don’t remember what we even talked about, not a clue.  My eyes were focused on his lips.  As we talked, we got closer – he brushed away a few hairs from my face and smiled.  I do remember Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven started at that moment.

“My heart is racing” he whispered as we moved in closer.
OMG, his heart was racing for me?  Goofy me?  Goofy me who sometimes bites her toenails in private?
There’s a lady who’s sure, all that glit-ters is gold
Oh my, those blue eyes, those sexy lips..and he smells so good
and she’s buyyying the staaaiiirway to heeeaaven
Houston, we made contact
I will never forget how soft his lips were and how perfect our lips felt together.  His breath was awesome (I’m a huge breath fiend..I’m never without gum, tic-tacs, altoids, sprays, drops.. etc).  Too bad this wasn’t taking place in 1752 when Ben Franklin was still with us. He wouldn’t have needed a kite and key to get some serious electricity.
Quick digression – I’m trying really hard to keep you all from gagging or hurling from all the lovey, dovey, gushy, mushy stuff, but it’s proving to be pretty impossible.  If you feel the need to do any of the above, skip the next paragraph.  Thank you.
The world no longer existed outside of this kiss.  As it got more passionate, his hands combing through my hair..caressing my face, my left hand entangled in his silky hair, (OK – I KNOW THIS IS CLICHE) it felt like we were one person.  We were definitely kissing until we were 90..this could never end.  In between the passion, a few baby kisses, then a little break where he kissed each cheek, my eyelids, my nose with a smile – nothing existed outside of this moment. did I get so lucky?  I must have been a Mother Theresa like figure in another life.
The kissing went on and on..and I was now changed for life.  I wonder what color my bridesmaids dresses should be?  Oh, I know..cerulean blue, like his eyes.  He’d look so hot in a tux.
“WOOOAH!”  Suddenly he pulled away from me violently, his eyes wide..mouth open..a look of what could be disgust.
OH NO, he hated the way I kissed!  He could sense I was 15!  He knew about my toenail biting!
I just remembered, there’s two twists.  Keep checking back for Bad Boy Love Part Three coming soon, most probably February 6th – honest!.
Now I have an awesome Super Bowl munchie to present to you.  I’m a Giants fan, so naturally this is a special Super Bowl Sunday for me, which deserves a special and unique snack. It was created by Christina Tossi of Momofuku Milk Bar fame, but I made a few subtle changes, one of them reducing the milk powder so I could double the malt powder, and the other, doubling the recipe, because you’re going to need a lot of it.  In fact, I would triple it, quadruple it!  It goes verrry fast.  *By the way, my bad boy was/is a Giant’s fan, not that it mattters or anything*.
Let’s Go Giants!!

Malted Pretzel Crunch
Recipe by Christina Tossi, via Epicurious, with my slight revisions
4 cups salted mini pretzels – about 1/2 of a 16-ounce bag
1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons milk powder
1/4 cup malted milk powder
1 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons butter (1 stick, plus 6 tablespoons), melted
DIRECTIONS: (my blurbs in parenthesis)
1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
2. Pour the pretzels in a large bowl and crush them with your hands (I threw them in a ziplock bag and hammered them with a mallet – easier, in my opinion) to one-quarter of their original size. Add the milk powder, malt powder, sugar, and salt, toss to mix. Add the butter and toss to coat. As you toss, the butter will act as glue, binding the dry ingredients to the pretzels and creating small clusters. (I did not get small clusters, but once baked, it formed a sheet of pretzel crunch that I broke into pieces).
3. Spread the clusters on a parchment- or silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, until it looks toasted, smells buttery, and crunches gently when cooled slightly and chewed.
4. Cool the pretzel crunch completely before storing or using in a recipe. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the crunch will keep fresh for 1 week; in the fridge or freezer, it will keep for 1 month. (I think these would be fantastic in cookies with chocolate chunks OR pour or drizzle melted chocolate over the top of the sheet of pretzel crunch, let set, then break into pieces – like you would toffee.

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