Mama Mia, that’s a Spicy Meatball!

So, I broke down. I couldn’t take it anymore. I ate…a meatball. I know, I know, you’re probably shocked. But it was so good that I couldn’t stop thinking about it all night. Really. I had to look up recipes online and make them as soon as possible.

I tried the meatball at a party and loved it so much that I brought some home (but in actuality, only about half made it home; the other half suffered the unfortunate fate of being eaten while driving back home…ooops). Just take a look at this beautiful meatball:

Just look at the inside…

Wait, what? Where’s the meatball? Um, I just showed you the pictures. Don’t you-oh wait-you thought I meant a MEATball! Oh, haha, ha…ha…ha. No. I didn’t.

I’m a bit surprised. I thought you knew me by now.

Anyway, apparently this Chocolate Meatball is an Italian-American cookie. It’s basically a little cakey cookie made with cocoa powder and spices and covered in a sugar glaze. It was so good. So good.

I attempted to make my own version, adding walnuts and rolling them into little balls. They were so cute.

Chilling in the sauna...

NB: Don’t use carob powder in baking unless you want everything to come out chewy. (If you’re one of those people that loves gummy bears, gummy worms, and anything chewy, then you’ll love baking with carob!)

Wow. They pretty much look the same.

I figured I should make some kind of glaze for them, and I remembered I had some heavy cream leftover (even though I pretty much never buy dairy), so I decided to make caramel.

What a great idea, Claire! You don’t have a candy thermometer AND you failed to look up a recipe. You’re sure to make a great caramel!

Everything started off okay:

Innocently boiling away...

Then cream was added...

And it bubbled...

I figured I could just rely on my food knowledge for this one, with a little help from the spooning-the-hot-sugar-into-cold-water-and-seeing-what-shape-it-makes test. Well, apparently  I can’t tell the difference between soft-ball and hard-crack.

Yes...that came out hard and crunchy, but delicious!

But the inside looked great!

So, that was a failure. I decided to make it again and boil it for less time. Apparently something was out to get me because it didn’t thicken up at all.

I also attempted a croque-en-bouche, but as you can see, that didn’t really work out. If I really had made caramel, maybe the dessert gods would have smiled down on me and made sure that my chocolate meatball croque-en-bouche turned out okay, but they’re either highly amused or…highly amused by my antics.

It was quite an interesting juxtaposition between the two extremes of caramel: super hard and crunchy vs. very, very soft.

I really, really want to call it an epic fail for brownie points (dessert gods, are you reading this?), but it just tasted so good. Like delicious. This morning when I got up, the soft-glazed chocolate meatballs looked like chocolate glazed doughnut holes. But they tasted so much better. But I, ahem, wouldn’t know that at 10 am. Nope.

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