I originally dedicated this blog to all things chocolate because I LOVE chocolate. It's now just going to be my food blog. But have no fear -- I will probably post about chocolate more than any other food. EAT MORE CHOCOLATE!
I am more of a pie fan than a cake fan, but when I saw the following picture today, I thought maybe I had made the wrong choice. I mean, look at how lovely this cake is!
Apparently, the delicate layering is done with fondant! I'm guessing you roll out two- or three-inch strips and somehow thin one edge each strip. I'm gonna figure out how to do it and let you know. Or you can watch some online videos for about forty bucks: Fondant Frills with Maggie Austin.
King Arthur Flour, that is. Goodness, I love that company. I don't even remember when I discovered it for myself. It was years and years ago; I know that. I was looking for unbleached flour, and the only kind Kroger sold was King Arthur. I used it for sugar cookies, I think, and I never looked back. I grew up on Gold Medal, but I've been a King Arthur supporter for most of my adult life. In fact, I should start keeping track of time that way -- B.K.A. for "before King Arthur" and A.K.A. for "after."
Why am I talking about this now? Because I needed to look something up on the King Arthur site and realized that it is an extremely usable site, and I love it. Here are my favorite sections:
Recipes Now, this page is just pretty. Fortunately, it's useful, too!
Flour bag recipes One of the best bread recipes I've ever tried was on the back of a King Arthur Flour bag. I emptied the bag, tore off the recipe, and a few months later, lost it. For the next several months, I looked for the recipe on the back of a bag; it wasn't printed anywhere! Not to worry -- King Arthur Flour posted the recipe in this section of the site!
Sometimes you have to ponder the eternal verities, such as "Which extract is the best: vanilla or almond?"
Well, I decided this week that it's almond. I couldn't do without it. It makes everything taste better. Sugar cookies taste better; raspberry cream pie tastes better; chocolate ganache tastes better . . . The list goes on and on. I might just start using almond extract instead of vanilla from now on. Move over vanilla; you've been replaced!
Do you have any incredible recipes that make good use of almond extract? If so, share them here!
Well. Hershey just began selling Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in Japan, and apparently, they're all the rage. Why wouldn't they be? Chocolate and Peanut Butter is one of the absolute best pairings in the entire world! (Second to chocolate and mint. Do you remember my mint vs. peanut butter survey in 2006?)
It makes me think that perhaps people should start referring to chocolate and peanut butter when they talk about good pairings. For example:
"Oh, those two are a match made in Heaven! Like chocolate and peanut butter . . ."
"Gosh! That outfit looks so good! That shirt goes with that skirt like chocolate and peanut butter!"
This clip from Mary Poppins has been in my head all night!
My posh New York City sister told me she recently went to a party where the whipped cream tasted better than any she'd ever had. When she asked the woman who made it what her secret was, she told my sister that Kahlua was to blame. Now, I don't know exactly how I feel about cooking with Kahlua, and I'll spare you the details. What I will tell you is that this information from my sister led me to buy rum extract this week, and boy, am I glad I did! According to the 2000 Betty Crocker Big Red Cookbook, you can make rum-flavored whipped cream by adding 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of rum extract to 1 cup of cream. Lemme tell you: It is delicious!
I made breakfast for dinner tonight: pancakes topped with rum-flavored whipped cream, strawberries, bananas, a tiny bit of syrup, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Check it out:
So definitely try this recipe! I bet it would taste good on nearly anything that calls for whipped cream. I, myself, will probably not stop there; I'm going to try flavoring my whipped cream in all kinds of ways now. I really don't know why I haven't done so before. And just in case you're wondering, here is a list of ideas (from the same Betty Crocker cookbook):
Flavored Sweetened Whipped Cream: Beat 1 cup whipping cream, 3 tablespoons granulated or powdered sugar, and one of the following ingredients in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed.
I like to have chocolate once a day. It actually helps me stick to a healthy diet. For example, if a co-worker brings cake into the office for a birthday or whatnot (and office birthday cake is almost always vanilla), I can say, "No, thanks" and just wait for later, when I'll have a small handful of chocolate chips, a glass of chocolate milk, or a spoonful of Nutella. Instead of eating out of obligation or boredom, I just wait for what I really love -- chocolate.
I think one key, though, is to savor chocolate when you do have it. Don't do anything else while you eat it; just love the flavor. You'll feel satiated in a way you won't with any other food, and that's good because then you won't keep trying a bajillion sugary or fattening things to get that gratified feeling.