I underwent a similar struggle grasping quantum entanglement and came to the same conclusion (instantaneous communication is not possible via QE) years ago. However, recently I've been starting to explore this concept again and have found a new caveat. I can't seem to find a definitive answer that outright dismisses this caveat. Instead of simply measuring the entangled particles, does current theory forbid simply manipulating the spin, polarization, ETC? If two particles are entangled and I could simply change the spin on one, I've just sent information FTL.
I surmise that "manipulation" is equivalent to measurement and will yield same consequence (collapsing the wave function/destroying the entangled particle), but I haven't found a decisive "yes" to this question yet.
At any rate, QE has always fascinated me, regardless it's FTL communication shortcomings.