Content warning: Language and mentions of abortion.
Hey there! It's your girl Tahlia here, and I'm back to bring you another slam dunk recipe. Valentine's Day is right around the corner, so today I'm gonna show you how to make your very own chocolate bars for that special someone in your life. Because, ladies, if your man is anything like my boyfriend Marcus, he's gonna want some chocolate. And if he's like Marcus, once he gets a taste, he'll probably want a little something extra on the side, if you catch my drift. Sadly, I can't help you whip that one up. I'm not a miracle worker.
But don't worry! This recipe is just five easy steps. So like Michael Jackson says, "All you gotta do is repeat after me."
Step 1: Chop up your cacao butter.
First, I recommend laying your cacao butter down on a hard surface, just to be safe.
Next, grab the largest blade in your knife block and start chopping. I mean, really let loose. Use your imagination. Pretend it's a jungle and you're using a machete to hack away at the overgrown vines.
Make believe it's the person who outbid you on that darling house in Orange County that you'd spent months saving for, slaving away night after night in front of a glowing computer screen, typing legal documents until your eyes burned and your fingers turned to mush and your caffeine buzz faded as soon as the warmth of the dark roast left your tongue.
Or maybe it's just an old boyfriend from high school.
Or, if you need more inspiration, do what I do and think back to a particular moment in your life. Like that one night you were coming home from your book club (that was the week you all agreed to review Eat, Pray, Love) and you decided to drive over to
that bitch Selena's your best friend's apartment for a second opinion (because she'd also read the book, she just wasn't in the club), and you slowly, very slowly, pulled up to her curb in your cute little Kia Soul and you spotted Marcus's your boyfriend's gunmetal gray Harley-Davidson across the street in the glow of the lamppost, and you thought Hmmm, and then cut your lights and glanced at the apartment and saw Marcus your boyfriend at the top of the cement stoop with Selena your ex-best friend and they were standing close, only a few inches apart, in the dark of the night, and they almost certainly weren't discussing Eat, Pray, Love, and you held your breath and watched them until your stomach gave Simone Biles some competition, and then you put your cute little Kia Soul in reverse and accidentally bumped into the car behind you, which, thank God, didn't have one of those obnoxious alarms that whoop every two seconds, and you apologized to no one and pulled out into the street and drove to your own apartment, and it felt like you didn't stop holding your breath until you turned the key in the lock and stepped inside and wept.
But any memory works, really. Just get that cacao chopped!
(Tahlia's tip of the week: If you don't have a clean knife available, a rolling pin works just fine for smashing things.)
Step 2: Fill a large saucepan with water.
Let the water come to a full boil before lowering it to a more gentle temperature.
Remember, sister: baking requires focus.
Try not to get distracted by the heat that floods the kitchen as the water comes to a boil, even if it reminds you of that hot, gooey feeling that bloomed in your chest when you had your first kiss in middle school, or the fire in your cheeks when you accidentally called your third grade teacher "Mom."
And don't even think about that time when the warmth ran through your entire body after you told
Marcus your boyfriend the good news, and you showed him the plastic white stick with the two pink lines that you were hiding behind your back, and he just sat on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands and told you he was too young for this, that he wasn't ready for that kind of responsibility, and he was whispering the whole time, which is weird because it was just you two in the room, and he asked you to please, please reconsider, and he offered to join you at the clinic if you wanted, and he said he'd even pay for the whole thing, but could you please just think about his needs too.
When you're ready, dump your cacao butter into the boiling water and stir until fully melted. And if you haven't already, dump the baby's names you were considering too.
Step 3: Remove the cacao butter from the heat and add in cacao powder and sweetener.
Stir the powder and sweetener until the mixture is well-combined and creamy.
Don't worry if the ingredients clump together. Don't worry if they're as sticky as your hand was in
Marcus's your boyfriend's when the two of you entered the Planned Parenthood clinic and you thought you'd never let go of him, never go another second without his touch, even when they called your name and he wished you the best of luck and released his grip and stayed in the waiting room the entire time you were in the back.
Because worry is a baker's worst enemy. Think instead of the good things, like how happy he looked when you stumbled back into the lobby and he glanced at the clock on the wall and the only thing he said was, "Wow, that was quick!" Or how he thanked you on the drive home for doing what was best for the both of you.
If remembering all this causes you tears, it's okay to let them fall. The recipe calls for a pinch of salt.
Step 4: Pour the chocolate mixture into your mold tray.
It usually takes about twenty minutes for the chocolate to cool at room temperature, so take it easy, ladies. Remember: baking requires patience.
Find something to occupy your time while you wait. Use your imagination. Go outside and point to the clouds and identify their shapes. Sometimes you can see a bunny, and sometimes it's just plain ol' cotton candy, and sometimes it's a fluffy white heart that's slowly separating in two.
Or, if you need more inspiration, do what I do and skip the clouds altogether and spend that twenty minutes of downtime going through
Marcus's your boyfriend's phone (because, thank God, he's still using his old passcode) while he's in the shower, scrubbing away the scent of Chanel No. 5, which is weird because you only own Giorgio Armani and you've never used Chanel perfume in your frickin' life, so where did that come from? And while you're going through the texts that he's been exchanging with your bitch of an ex-best friend, even though you know it'll just make you feel worse than you already do, while you're scrolling past the unmentionable photos they've been sending one another, realize that she gets to keep her baby.
(Tahlia's bonus tip of the week: If you see a text like that, step out of the house and wait twenty minutes for your blood to cool to room temperature.)
Step 5: Bon Appétit!
That's it, you're all done! Looks good, doesn't it? And you made it all on your own; no one can take that away from you. Only thing left to do is to get your boyfriend and dig in. Yes, your boyfriend.
Because, despite everything, sometimes eating with someone else is still better than eating alone.
Because he did stay with you the entire time in the clinic like he promised.
Because it is Valentine's Day, after all.
Because you're a natural-born optimist and believe things can always improve, and maybe you don't know any better but you're slowly, very slowly, starting to learn.
Because you're you.
What other reason do you need?