It’s difficult to remember that practice really does make perfect.
I’m one of those people that needs to be perfect — or, if not perfect, at least really good — at something the first thing they try it, and if that’s not the case, then to just give up and hate themselves. It’s not always an option to give up, though. And when you try and you practice because you have to, and then you get better? And then you eventually get to the point where you’re good at it? That’s a pretty great feeling.
It’s also something I forget to keep in mind when I’m trying new things. I wasn’t so great at baking when I first started. I’m still not perfect now, especially because lately I’ve been so busy I just haven’t had the time or the inclination to bake things. But I learn something new every time. And when I first started working at the bakery, I was incredibly awful at writing messages on the cakes. I couldn’t make the words fit, and my writing was sloppy and childish. Now, though, I am frequently complimented on my frosting penmanship, although once in a while I’ll slip up and wind up with frosting bursting out of the bag.
Lately I’ve been trying to write stories again. I used to write constantly and, as such, got better and better the more I did it. I read stuff now from when I was in high school and am just amazed at how good of a writer I was — not to toot my own horn or anything. But now, when I’m trying to write a fanfic or a screenplay or what have you, I wind up so frustrated with myself because it doesn’t always just pour out of me like it used to. I know this is because there were several years where I didn’t write much of anything at all and I need to practice again. But it’s so much easier to just close out of Open Office and give up entirely.
This entry isn’t about a baking failure. The mousse turned out quite delicious, actually, even though I’m still not entirely sure this was a mousse because the recipe was sort of confusing. But I’ve been putting off writing this post for a few weeks because I’ve lost confidence in myself and my ability to write something engaging and interesting. Who the hell cares about anything I have to say? But people do care. Not a lot of people, granted, but there are a few of you out there who genuinely enjoy this blog and the things I write about.
OH MY GOD LOOK AT THAT GANACHE I WANT IT GIVE IT TO ME
I mean, what was I saying?
For everyone who’s like me — all of you who give up easily, who don’t believe in themselves, who want to be the best at everything they try when they know it’s impossible — I know it’s hard to believe, but even if you’re not the greatest at something, there are people who will love what you do and will love you for doing it. Even when it seems like no one on Earth cares or gives a shit, at least one person out there does. And you have to keep doing what you’re doing, and do it for them. And even if, somehow, absolutely no one on the planet thinks you’re doing anything worthwhile? Fuck the world. Do it for yourself.
And when you’re crying in front of your computer screen because you can’t think of an ending for your novel, make yourself this Layered Mocha Mousse because it is super delicious and is perfect for this ridiculously hot weather we’ve been having lately.
Trust me. I’m a professional.
Except I’m not, but let’s just forget that little detail, shall we?
Make sure you refrigerate this extremely quickly, though, as it melts surprisingly fast.
Layered Mocha Mousse
(from The Essential Chocolate Chip Book)
6 tablespoons cold heavy cream, plus 2 cups
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup of chocolate chips (semi-sweet or bittersweet)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
In a medium saucepan, heat the 6 tablespoons of heavy cream and the butter over low heat until the cream is hot and the butter melts. If you wish, you can measure the temperature to 175 degrees, but I didn’t do that and it turned out fine. The mixture should form tiny bubbles, and don’t let it boil or it might form a skin on top. If that happens, just scrape it off.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate chips. Let it sit for thirty seconds, then whisk until the chocolate has melted and is smooth. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Transfer 3/4 cup of the sauce into a large bowl and leave the rest for topping the mousse, and let cool to room temperature.
Have ready six stemmed glasses or goblets.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the remaining 2 cups of cream, the powdered sugar, instant coffee, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the whipped cream into the cooled truffle sauce in the bowl, then fold the remaining whipped cream into the… mousse? (This is what the recipe says in the book but there was no mention of a mousse earlier in this recipe, so I just ignored that part)
Spoon the mousse and the whipped cream in layers into each glass. You can top with some whipped cream in a can like I did, or just leave it the way it is. Use a spoon to drizzle the remaining truffle sauce on top. You might have to re-heat it again a little in order to make it pourable.
Cover and refrigerate until cold and set, about two hours, or even overnight.Or you can put it in the freezer and it’ll be ready in about an hour. Your call. Serve cold and om nom nom to your heart’s content.