Monday, November 10, 2014

Marbled Mocha Walnut Bundtlettes

I was home last weekend (again, I know, shuddup) and while I was primarily in the North Star State to attend a wedding -- a super fun marriage of two of the best people I know, no big deal -- my trip happened to coincide with my sister's weekend trip home from Chicago. We did have to share a car, and avoided most issues except when I straight-up took her car keys and there were no spares and I was in a show and that was a problem. But mostly, now that we don't live in the same place and neither of us live at home, coinciding trips are rare and fun.

Annie is very good at selfies.

Even though she's 22 and I'm 26 and we are basically very grown-up ladies, given the right cocktail of circumstances, we have no problem returning to the approximate ages of 10 and 14 and realllllly giving each other the business. We used to bicker a lot when we were younger, mostly over things like personal space and volume -- of the TV or the other one's voice. We are pretty different people, which was not something to be admired with perspective when we were sharing bunk beds or the middle seats of our family's GMC van. I'd like to think I was a very cool big sister, but I wasn't a "very cool" anything and did some pretty torturous things -- like when I told the peanut-hating Annie that peanut M&Ms were bigger because they had more chocolate in them and she ate one and threw up in the lobby of a skating rink. Or when I threatened to put grapes under the grape-hating Annie's pillow if she didn't bring me a pop. I knew where to hit to make it hurt the most. I was a monster. But! In the interest of fair and balanced reporting, she could be incredibly annoying and... and... ugh. I don't remember any specific things she did to me. Maybe recorded over some of my SNL VHS tapes? I don't know. Like I said, I was a monster. Processing some things now...

...and I'm back. Yeah, we were both mean to each other, I'm sure. Yeah, yeah.

I look too satisfied, like I was the one who just had the baby.

When we were little, it felt like a problem that we were different people who did things differently. We didn't look alike, we didn't dress alike, we solved problems in our own ways and had different types of friends. This was even hard for our parents to process, I think. I signed up for every single activity available to me, and when my parents went through the motions of putting Annie in the same sports and clubs, she straight-up refused to participate. I remember her standing on the ice rink, completely still with tears down her cheeks, staring at my parents in the bleachers and silently begging for them to put her out of her snow-pantsed misery (the peanut M&M incident was not related, we spent a lot of time at ice rinks). I thought, Why not just skate? Just do it and have everyone watch you and then you can feel great and special and skilled! But that's never what Annie wanted. She only did the things that made her happy, for herself, and she's still like that and it's very admirable and something I'm working on because I'm still all, Just do it and have everyone watch you and then you can feel great and special and skilled! Processing some things now...

...and I'm back. Yeah, yeah, everything's fine.

Annie didn't get a lot of credit growing up for all of the things she's really, really good at. And while I think it took her until high school and college to truly figure out all of the things she loves and wants to do, she's currently in a great groove and I'm so proud of her I could cry. She has an incredibly big heart that is full of patience and love, which is why she's so good at being around kids and animals and why she's studying early childhood education and photography at Columbia College in Chicago. (Some of this post makes it sound like she's dead, with this past-tense business, but she's not and I sent her this post before I published it because, you know, she's not all, Just do it and have everyone watch you, etc. etc.)

Thanks for this one, Sears Portrait Studio!

As I was gathering ingredients to make these bundtlettes, I called her to vent about my essentially trivial problems, and she said, "Instead of saying 'I feel guilty,' try saying, 'I am grateful.' It's a completely different tone and perspective. It's lighter."

My little tiny baby sister has grown into this very insightful young woman and it sort of blows me away -- not because I don't think she's capable of being wise, but because I sometimes can't help but see her as that 10-year-old in my personal space being annoying. She still hates my boring clothes and I cannot believe how much zebra print she wears and surrounds herself with, but we have found a lovely common ground. And I don't feel GUILTY about accidentally hitting her in the face with a baseball bat when we were little, I am GRATEFUL she has forgiven me and that they were just baby teeth.

Marbled Mocha Walnut Bundtlettes

 First of all, this recipe certainly accommodates a full-size (12-cup) Bundt pan... You don't have to make bundtlettes but COME ON, HOW CUTE ARE THEY?!
Also, the mocha ribbon is more of an accent flavor and is not dominant, so if you want something more chocolatey, you could add more or... whatever, try something that isn't so chocolatey, you chocolate animal.

2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup ground walnuts (Don't ever pay more for finely-ground anything. Do it yourself with your inner strength/rage!)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks of softened, unsalted butter (Shh... butter is good for you...)
2 more tablespoons of softened, unsalted butter (Everything's fine)
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Ghirardelli, because did you know I'm very fancy??)
 1/4 cup coffee, hot or cold
1 teaspoon finely-ground instant coffee
1 3/4 cup white sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease/flour your bundt pan WELL. We've been over this.

Greased and floured and ready!
Whisk together the flour, walnuts, baking powder and salt. Depending on the texture you want, you can keep some of the walnuts in pieces.

Crushed these with my own brute force.
 Double-boiler time!! If you don't have a double-boiler, don't worry! Make your own, like I did! But DO NOT put the chocolate mixture over direct flame. Instead, use a bigger pot to boil water on the stove. Put the 2 tablespoons of butter, chopped chocolate, coffee and instant coffee in a smaller pot.

Butter and chocolate and coffee -- pretty much all of my favorite things.
Place the smaller pot over the simmering water and stir constantly until it is melted and well-mixed. Keep the heat fairly low -- the water doesn't need to be at a rolling boil to do the job.

Double-boiler, shdouble-shmoiler!
When melted, remove the smaller pot from the heat and set aside.
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, combine the sugar and 2 sticks of butter until it turns to a paste (about 3 minutes).

This consistency is very frustrating. Deal with it.
Add the eggs, one at a time, until the mixture becomes smooth and satiny.
Keeping the speed on low, alternately add the dry ingredients and milk.
Drizzle the batter and the chocolate in the pan, in layers.

Basically art.
If you are using a bundtlette pan, bake for about 15-18 minutes (the batter should be enough for 12 bundtlettes). If you are using a regular bundt pan, bake for about 65 minutes.
As always, use the toothpick test to determine if it's done. But you already knew that.
Let it cool for about 5 minutes before carefully releasing onto a plate!

Feel free to dance around the kitchen if you, too, achieve a perfect flip!
These moist lil' guys are hefty and delicious -- and the walnut batter is incredibly good... just trust me, don't judge me. 

Happy baking!


  1. Very cute, and they look delicious :) My sister is four years younger than me, as well; and I still feel guilty for telling her that she was adopted (she wasn't) ;)

  2. Thanks!! I think it's a pretty basic older sister responsibility to tell your younger sibling that they're adopted. You were just doing your job! :)

  3. I love the relationship you and Annie have with each other - I've always wished for a sister to have these kinds of conversations with :) She really has grown up to be a pretty great woman, right?? (and these bundtlettes are just as cute as their name)