Do you guys dream at night? I do. All the time. Some nights more than others, but my dormant mind is definitely on the active side of the dream scale. Sometimes my dreams are so vivid and wonderful, like the flying dreams from my childhood, or the dreams I sometimes have as an adult, in which I can jump reeeeeeaaaaalllly high and far. Other times, things are more random and/or just plain odd... like the night I kept dreaming about making juice. Juice? What does that say about me? Wait, don't answer that.
If Mr. Sandman is feeling especially sweet, he brings me dreams about dessert. Over the years, I've dreamt about cupcakes, dessert tables, cakes... the macaron dream is also a frequently recurring - and favorite - theme. I get a lot of great ideas from these dreams. In fact, just last week I had a lovely dream about chocolate (chocolate cookie sandwiches, to be more precise). In this particular dream, I spent the entire day in San Francisco, flitting about from bakery to bakery, eating chocolate-inspired treats. It was so real, I could feel the chilly Bay breeze on my face as I stood next to the Ferry Building, waiting for the trolley to take me someplace delicious.
So real, in fact, that I could taste a hit of bitter-sweet coffee mixed in with the creamy, dark chocolate ganache in macarons from Miette - the first stop on my chocolate cookie dream tour.
As my dream continued, I found myself in unfamiliar dessert territory: a quirky and cozy place called Goody Goodie Cream & Sugar. I looked around, attempting to get my bearings. Luckily, some strategically placed signs - coupled with the faint aromas of cocoa and basil - were there to guide me through this dreamscape.
A friendly "Goody Goodie" local offered me the dessert of the day: a pair of crisp chocolate/olive wafers filled with some kind of lemony-basil cream, and accompanied by a cold milk shot. The cookie was so strange and delightful that I requested another. This was just a dream, after all. No harm in having seconds, right?
Now, you'd think all that chocolate would have filled up my sleeping tummy, prompting my brain to switch gears and take me back to that beach-side pool dream (we'll save that dream for another post). Nope! The next thing I knew, I was walking into yet another new-to-me sweet stop. This one was called The Ice Cream Bar. My subconscious must have been missing the tiny travel trailer that our family sold earlier this year, because the interior of The Ice Cream Bar looked just like a vintage Airstream. Well, a vintage Airstream packed with exotic flavors and frozen treats. Amidst the myriad soda, float and ice cream flavors was a mountain of banana cookie sandwiches, filled with caramelized honey and milk chocolate ice creams, then rolled in cacao nibs and drizzled with yet more chocolate. Dreamy, yes? Oh yes. Yes!
So I polished off one of those, then headed over to check out the ice cream case, where I spied yet another basil-infused dessert. (Seriously, why is my limbic system so obsessed with basil?) Figuring it was probably a good idea not to fight the REM state, I went ahead and tasted the basil ice cream, too. Good thing dream desserts don't have any calories.
Remember last year when I took an actual trip to S.F. for a real-life chocolate tour? The one where I got to meet famous pastry chef Yigit Pura, watch him lead a baking demonstration, and taste one of his amazing desserts? Well, all this chocolate dreaming must have sparked some memories of the guy, because he showed up in my dream, too. This year, he even showed me around his newest venture, Tout Sweet Patisserie, which I'd been dying to visit since it first opened in September. Yigit was still as cute and charming as ever. Still coming up with inspired desserts, too, like the one he made in my dream: a Pasilla Spiced Cookie Sandwich filled with Chili-Infused Chocolate Ganache. Again, so realistic! I could taste the sweet heat from the Pasilla chili pepper and see the twinkle in his eye as he admonished me not to whisk my ganache lest I incorporate too much air into the chocolate.
I realize that when most (normal) women dream about cute guys, they're usually making something other than dessert. But hey, this is my dream, and I think we've already established (on more than one occasion) that I am not a normal woman. So humor me. And while you're at it, find out who the heck this Chloe gal is, because I'm starting to get a little jealous.
It was tough to tear myself away from Yigit and his yummy cookies, but in my dream I could hear the bell of the trolley car beckoning me. I took a seat, and as the driver navigated his way back through the city, the bell continued to ring, ever louder, finally awakening me from my sweet reverie.*
I Dream of... Chocolate.
I've got a little surprise for you, my dear readers. Want to make your own chocolate cookie dreams come true? Enter the Chocolate Adventure Contest: Sandwich Cookie Edition, and they just might. The challenge is to combine Scharffen Berger® chocolate with one or more of twelve "adventure ingredients", then create a unique sandwich cookie recipe. The person who creates the winning recipe will be awarded $25,000 (plus a delectable, custom selection of Scharffen Berger® chocolates). Bonus! Each of ten "culinary honorees" will win an engraved iPad®! The grand prize winning recipe and the recipes of all culinary honorees will be featured on ChocolateAdventureContest.com, ScharffenBerger.com and TuttiFoodie.com. The contest runs through January 2, 2013.
Be warned: you'll have to battle me for the prizes, because after my dreamy chocolate adventure, I've been inspired to enter a few recipes of my own. You'll find all the contest details over at The Chocolate Adventure Contest web site. Get baking, people!
* Disclaimer (aka: confession time). This wasn't really a dream; more like a dream come true. Yep, I really did spend an entire day in San Francisco eating chocolate cookie treats, gratis, courtesy of the kind folks at Scharffen Berger® Chocolate Makers. I also received a gift bag of cocoa powder, cocao nibs and chocolates. Lucky girl, huh? But please note, my opinions are my own and always will be. My motivation for writing this post was simply to share (1) the adventure with my readers, who I thought would find it interesting, and (2) the information about the contest. Just keepin' it real, folks.
You might also like:
Gorgeous photos of the Ice Cream Bar, from Stephanie at Desserts for Breakfast;
Anneli's thoughts on sandwich cookies over at the Huffington Post blog;
Musings on the contest, from Catherine at Munchie Musings.