We need to celebrate. I've officially completed three weeks of school without having a mental and/or emotional breakdown. Cue the applause!
No but really, time management is a really terrifying thing. I was so lucky to have had the chance to manipulate my schedule so I could have no classes on Mondays or Fridays this semester. Hooray for four day weekends every week! Still, there are consequences. Like really long days.
My school days usually look something like this: I wake up at 7 on a good morning, make myself look vaguely presentable, and then head out of the door and begin the hour-long trek to campus. This part of my morning is surprisingly refreshing, mainly due in part to my lip-sync performances to Mariah Carey's Number Ones album, complete with full hand choreography. (Always Be My Baby, Fantasy, and Emotions are part of the three-part encore setlist, just incase you were wondering.) After zigzagging my way through the thirteen song set, I'm pulling into the parking garage at school and off to my classes from 9:30 until 6:10. Then I sprint off campus, because being there for 8 hours is absolutely nauseating, and head back home. When I get back, I shove something down my mouth, and then go straight to the gym because well, I have to balance the sugar out somehow. By 9:30, I'm back home and ready to shower and get into bed. From there, I'll do as much homework I can physically/mentally/emotionally handle before passing out and repeating the cycle the next two days.
I don't want it to seem like I'm complaining. Baking, blogging, and the food industry are my true passions and nothing makes me happier. But, managing a food blog while juggling school, work, whatever is left of my social life, my health and sanity — it's a lot. But it's what I love, so I find little pockets of time throughout my day that I can devote to keeping my blog afloat: During my lecture classes, I multitask going through my notes, commenting on new blog posts from my favorite bloggers, and managing social media for my site. (Please don't tell my teachers this.) Also, I'm doing this new thing where I (try to) do all of my baking on Fridays. This gives me ample time to test out recipes, binge eat cookie dough, photograph my desserts, and get my posts ready for publication. It doesn't always work out, and by Wednesday night, I'm eager to get back into the kitchen. Sometimes I give in, but this generally leads to a lot of rushing and the inevitable baking fails. (Side note: I'm toying with the idea of creating a new section of the blog called the Cake Graveyard, where I can share my most embarrassing baking fails. Like this really sad cake that took its own life, plunging to her death on my stovetop.)
A week ago, I made a giant batch of honeycomb candy to use as a cake topping. The cake never got that far, so I repurposed my candy into a chocolate bark. If you haven't had honeycomb candy, shame on you! It's a super easy recipe with a huge payoff. There's even a bit where you throw a bunch of baking soda into your boiling sugar mixture and the whole lot foams up into a huge bubbly mass and you rush to pour it onto a sheet pan. The baking soda helps create the candy's airy and crunchy texture and is pretty much the closest thing to a science experiment you'll ever experience in your own kitchen. The candy is great on it's own, but enveloped in chocolate, it's damn near mind-blowing.
Honeycomb Chocolate Bark
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 4 teaspoons baking soda
- 16 oz. semisweet, dark, or milk chocolate (I used a mixture of 70% dark and Callebaut milk)
In a large pot, combine the sugar, water, honey, and corn syrup over medium hit. Boil the mixture until it reaches 300 F on a candy thermometer, the mixture will be amber in color. Remove from heat. Sift in the baking soda and stir gently with a wooden spoon. Don't be scared, the mixture will foam up a lot. Pour mixture onto a parchment-lined baking pan and let cool. Once cool, break into pieces and set aside.
In a bowl over simmering water, melt chocolate until smooth. Pour onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Quickly arrange pieces of honeycomb throughout the chocolate. Refrigerate until set. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature or from the refrigerator.