Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hazelnut Brittle

The next chapter in the book is caramel. Caramel is not easy at all. In fact, I burnt my first batch. Again, my electric stovetop is an old piece of garbage and is way too hot. Ah, the joys of apartment living.

There I was, with my new candy thermometer, waiting for it to heat up to 350. Well, problem was that half of the pot started turning darker than the other half, because of the bad burner.

So on round two, I was extra careful not to let it get too hot and also to move it around so that one side didn't get hotter than the other. The result; the light caramel you see in the picture. Add toasted hazelnuts, let it cool on a buttered sheet of parchment paper, and boom, you have brittle. I got it to bend into this cool roll before cracking it into a bunch of pieces.

Next up: making caramel ice cream to put the brittle in!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chocolate Soufflé

So this is my first failed attempt, I'm sad to say. I had everything going right but then I left it in the oven for a bit too long. I was only going by the time TSOB said. My oven must be too hot. I had checked on it while it was cooking, and I saw the famous rise, but I kept it going. Then I started to smell that it was burning. Oops.

I'll try have to try this one again another time, but not soon. I've had enough chocolate with whipped eggs for now. On to something new.

Frozen Chocolate Parfait

This is my first creation from TSOB!

When you think of parfait, you don't think of a brick of aerated chocolate, right? Well, this is what the French call parfait. And man, is it good.

You basically make a custard and fold it into creamy chocolate and then freeze it. Ms. Yard's version in the book adds espresso, and lots of it. The finished product then is a very caffeinated fudgesicle minus the stick. It might also make a good middle between two cookies as an ice cream sandwich. Maybe something to try another time.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

New Kitchen Equipment!

I am usually not a shopper who likes to browse. But not when it comes to buying food or kitchen equipment. Today I needed to buy this candy thermometer and souffle dish for a couple recipes in "The Secrets of Baking," or "TSOB" from now on.

I was more than happy to have an excuse to go to Orange Tree Imports. It's a local store that has quality cookware and a few specialty food items, as well as soaps, candles, cards, etc. They also have cooking classes.

I can't wait to try my hand at a souffle!

Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti

My husband and I recently returned from our vacation in Italy. I had randomly bought Bon Appetit to read on the plane, and fittingly, it was their Italy issue. Of all the recipes in the issue, I wanted to try biscotti the most. I finally made it last night.

They were like no cookie I've ever made before, both in preparation and flavor. The biscotti has no butter, but veggie oil instead. It treats sugar like a solid, keeping it with the flour rather than mixing it with oil and eggs like most recipes. Then it calls for both lemon and orange zest and also almond and vanilla extracts! The smells were amazing.

I did hate a couple things about this recipe though. Shelling a whole bag of pistachios was not so fun. Also waiting hand and foot on the cookies was annoying. 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there for an hour and a half. It was worth it though. It transported me back to Italy, just a tiny bit. I want to make other biscotti; chocolate hazelnut and another with fig for starters. Next time, I'll have to get some sweet wine for dipping, although coffee is good too!