Back in the day, Lia and I would spend every Super Bowl together, when my family would walk two blocks down Clinton Avenue to her family’s brownstone. Given that one of Lia’s moms, her brother, my dad and I were all into football, the Big Game was heavily spectated. However, the real star of the show was always the food that Lia’s moms served. I don’t think I ever left a Franklin-Chinn family Super Bowl party without a glorious stomach ache reminding me of all the deliciousness I had just consumed.
A typical Super Bowl experience went like this: as the first quarter began, and the conversation became animated, we all feverishly devoured the guacamole, only to find ourselves hungrier than we were before. Near the end of the first quarter, or maybe at the beginning of the second, the main course was finally ready. This always happened right around when my mouth had almost watered itself dry due to the stimulating, titillating, and comforting smells of chili that were coming from the kitchen. As Lia is a vegetarian, there were always two types of chili: Mum’s Vegetarian Chili and the Franklin-Chinn Family Texas Steak Chili. The vegetarian chili would always make up at least a quarter of the first plate I piled together for myself. The other three quarters would be dominated by the Texas Steak chili—flavorful and nuanced in its use of various chilies, and lacking even a single bean. We ate this over rice and topped it with scallions, sour cream, and a heavy dose of lime juice. By the time I went back for my second portion (right around when the halftime show was starting), I would already have a pit in my stomach, and once Shakira, Katy Perry, or Lady Gaga had finished their amazing set, I would be nearly comatose.
Fortunately, by the third quarter, Tom Brady (or insert other good quarterback) would usually make some amazing plays and snap me out of my daze. Then it was time for the best cake I’ve ever eaten in my life: The German Chocolate. Shaped like a football or decorated for the team of preference, this monstrosity of a dessert was so irresistible in flavor and size that if I ate any fewer than two pieces, my body would be shivering from withdrawal. I made it my mission to stuff as much of the pecan-caramel-gooey-chocolatey cake down my gullet as I could before the game ended. As I stumbled home, I thought more about my German chocolate love than the actual outcome of the game.
Super Bowl Recipes from the Franklin-Chinn Household (by Lia Franklin)
Franklin-Chinn Family Texas Steak Chili:
The recipe for this chili is a family secret. However, this is a recipe from the kitchen that my mother says “is the gist” of her Texas Chili.
Mum’s Vegetarian Chili:
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced or crushed
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 2 or 3 carrots, cut into rounds
- 2 dried chipotle peppers
- 3 cans of any pink bean (ex. kidney or pinto)
- 3 cans black beans
- 2 large cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 small can tomato paste (optional)
- 1 cup wine or dark beer
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- Chili powder to taste (spice level)
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Drain and rinse beans. If using dried beans, wash and soak overnight. Cook until soft.
- Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and put enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onions and a pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the onion starts to brown. Add the garlic. Sauté until the garlic is fragrant but not browned. Then, add the peppers and cook until soft. Add the carrots and sauté until they start to soften and brown.
- Add the beans and sauté until they begin to stick to the pan.
- Pour in the tomatoes, the tomato paste (if using), the chipotle peppers, and the bay leaves. Stir until it comes to a magma-like boil.
- Add the oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper and turn down to simmer. Partially cover and let it cook for thirty minutes, stirring every so often so that it doesn’t stick. Continue tasting and adding more spices as needed.
- Add the wine/beer. Let cook for at least another 15 minutes.
- Ideally, let sit for half an hour with the heat off before serving, so that the flavors can combine.
Super Bowl/Birthday German Chocolate Cake
- Cooking spray or butter to grease pans
- 4 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate
- ½ cup water
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
Coconut-Pecan Filling and Topping
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar or packed brown sugar
- 2/3 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1 ⅓ cup evaporated milk (from 12-oz can)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ⅔ cups flaked coconut
- 1 ⅓ cup chopped pecans
- 4.5 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Heat the oven to 350 °F. Spray the bottoms and sides of three eight-inch or two nine-inch round cake pans with the cooking spray. Cut three rounds of parchment paper. Line bottoms of pans with the paper.
- Coarsely chop the chocolate. In a one-quart saucepan, heat the chocolate and water over low heat, stirring frequently, until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir the flour, baking soda and salt until mixed; set aside. In another medium bowl, beat two cups sugar and one cup butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy; set aside.
- On medium speed, beat one egg yolk at a time into the sugar mixture until mixed. On low speed, beat in the melted chocolate and one teaspoon vanilla. On low speed, beat in half of the mixture just until smooth, then beat in half of the buttermilk just until smooth. Repeat beating in our mixture alternately with the buttermilk, just until smooth.
- With clean beaters in a small bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until they form stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted. Add egg whites to the batter. Fold in with a rubber spatula to cut down vertically through the batter, then slide the spatula across the bottom of the bowl and up the side, turning batter over. Rotate the bowl a quarter turn, and repeat this down-across-up motion. Continue folding until batter and egg whites are blended.
- Pour batter into pans; use a rubber spatula to scrape batter from bowl, spread batter evenly in pans and smooth top of batter. (If batter is not divided evenly, spoon batter from one pan to another.) Refrigerate batter in third pan if not all pans will fit in the oven at one time; bake the third pan separately.
- Bake eight-inch pans for 35–40 minutes, nine-inch pans 30–35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes. To remove cake from pan, invert onto cooling rack, then invert right side up on second cooling rack. Cool completely, about one hour.
- In a two-quart sauce pan, stir the three egg yolks, one cup sugar, one half cup butter, the evaporated milk and one teaspoon vanilla until well mixed. Cook over medium heat for about 12 minutes, stirring frequently, until thick and bubbly. Stir in the coconut and pecans. Cool for about 30 minutes, beating occasionally with a spoon, until mixture is spreadable.
- Make the ganache by heating cream until just before it boils. Pour hot cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until smooth. Allow mixture to cool until spreadable consistency.
- Place one cake layer, rounded side down, on a cake plate. Using a metal spatula, spread half of the filling over the layer. Add a second layer, rounded side down; spread with ganache. Add a third layer, rounded side up, and spread with remaining filling. Store cake covered in the refrigerator.
- If you want to decorate (as seen in the picture) I would recommend just buying some frosting and food coloring and decorating as desired.
- Gorge yourself like Lewis did