Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Galentine's Day & Ice Cream Cake Balls

WARNING: This week’s post doesn’t have a lot to do with The Old Country,  but a modern tradition inspired by T.V. Oma still makes an appearance.

Things I love about Valentine’s Day:
-     The colors pink and red.
-     Chocolate covered strawberries.  It’s the best way to eat fruit. 
-     The T.V. shows. I love every 30 Rock Valentine’s episode; especially, Anna Howard Shaw Day.  But, I get teary eyed just thinking about The Simpsons Valentine’s episode where Ralph gives Lisa the card that says “I choo choo choose you."

This episode of The Simpsons tears me up inside. 

Things I hate about Valentine’s Day:
-     Those hearts that say things on them.  Writing “email me” doesn’t make them modern.  If anything it ruins their charm.  They are to Valentine’s as candy corn is to Halloween: both disgusting but you end up buying them out nostalgia anyway.
-     Those teddy bears that hold a heart saying “Be Mine,” “I love you,” etc.  I just feel bad for them. If you think about it, they’re in handcuffs, ironically shackled to a heart forever.  Remember how much toys like that stunk as a kid? It totally limited your imagination.   Ok Mr. Bear let’s stop playing Valentine’s and play detective. Oh wait, you have this heart sewn to your hands? This ruins everything. And then the bear sits collecting dust because Mr. Watson would never walk around holding a sign proclaiming his love for Sherlock Holmes.
-     How lonely it makes some people feel.  

Gross. But nostalgiac. 

The Holiday: Galentine’s Day
Why does Valentine’s Day focus on one kind of love, when we experience so many forms?

I am actually very neutral when it comes to Valentine’s Day.  If you have a Valentine (boyfriend, friend or mom) it can be wonderful.  In fact, the best Valentine’s I ever had was with my mom and Oma.  I was 12 and my mom brought me to Oma’s after school, they drank coffee.  Oma had made me the traditional Christmas cut out cookies with pink icing as a special Valentine’s surprise.  My mom bought me a DVD of “Fools Rush In,” a silly romantic comedy I liked. We never usually celebrated Valentine’s, so it all felt special. I’ve had romantic Valentine’s since, but none will match that day.

And that’s what I think Valentine’s should be about, knowing you have someone who cares.  Romance be damned. So that is why (circling back to my love of Valentine’s T.V.) I think Galentine’s Day is genius.

Galentine’s is a holiday celebrated by Leslie Knope, portrayed by Amy Poehler, on Parks and Recreation. Leslie describes the holiday, celebrated Feb. 13, as a day for ladies to celebrate ladies.  Leslie, an overachiever, takes her girlfriends to breakfast and makes them intricate gifts.  No boys allowed, it’s not Valentine’s for goodness sake.

April Ludgate (played by Aubrey Plaza) opens up her thoughtful Galentine's gift: a mosaic of her made from her favorite diet soda bottle, on Parks and Recreation.

My roommate Haley and I were inspired by Ms. Leslie Knope, and we are hosting our own Galentine’s party tomorrow.  Yes, we will be reaping the reward of half off candy for our party, but we will also be celebrating our favorite ladies with Galentine’s cards, wine and DESSERT.

The Dish: Ice Cream Cake Balls
I know, I know, I am doing cake balls two weeks in a row, but I hope you’ll forgive me.  I bet you do after you try one!

Haley is making mini raspberry cheesecakes and other guests have promised everything from baked brie with cherries to sea salt brownies.  In case this isn’t enough cholesterol, I’m making Ice Cream Cake Balls, and kale chips — the greens balance it all out, right?

-       1 box of your favorite cake mix, You could make a cake from scratch
-       1/2 to 1 can of icing, Try to coordinate with cake flavor
-       Bakers chocolate, colored candy melts or almond bark, Once again, think about what matches

Bake the cake as directed. I used vanilla.
After cooling, combine cake with icing (matching vanilla flavored). You should start with half the can of icing and see if the dough is sticky and can be easily rolled into a ball.  If not, add more icing until reaching desired texture.
Roll into 1” cup shape, almost a ball but with no top. Cool for 30 minutes in the freezer.
Scoop ½ teaspoon of ice cream (again, vanilla) and place in the cup.  Make a top for the cup with the dough.
Freeze at least 6 hours, but I think 24 hours is best.
Dip into melted bakers chocolate. I used white chocolate and red candy melts.
Decorate as you see fit, I used Valentine’s sprinkles.

I chose to make vanilla Ice Cream Cake balls, because it was a first attempt.  But, I do recommend this fun combo that I am dying to try in the future: Neopolitan Cake Balls! Use strawberry cake, vanilla ice cream and regular bakers chocolate.  While I saw similar recipes online, I have never seen one like this.  The others had the ice cream as the outside layer, but I chose to make it more like a traditional ice cream cake with an ice cream center.

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