Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate.

I am sick of chocolate. I am still baking with it.

In the past month i've done a good deal of what I call educational baking. Baking for the sake of learning something new- whether it's a technique, a flavor combination, or a cookbook author's style. Here's some of what i've tried:

1. Chocolate Bread from Tessa Kirios's Apples for Jam
Chocolate Bread

2. Chocolate Caramels from Scharffenberger's The Essence of Chocolate
Chocolate Caramels

3. Chocolate Souffle Cakes from Sara Foster's Fresh Every Day
Chocolate Souffle Cakes

4. Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Cookies from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From my Home to Yours

5. Chocolate Wafers (can't remember the cookbook)

6. Milk Chocolate Walnut Bars from Tish Boyle's Chocolate passion

The only recipe i'd make again is #3. I've probably made it 5-6 times already. I wanted to revisit it because the ingredient quantities are similar to those listed for this Gateau de Zoe, though the techniques are slightly different. It's divine, and i'll blog about it eventually.

Large quantities of all the other recipes went in the garbage. I don't want to rant about why they were bad. I'll just say they weren't worth eating. Big time texture and flavor issues.


Joe said...

A single tear slid down my face as I looked at #3. Not because I was sad. No, quite the opposite. I've never seen anything so lovely in my life. I would like a serving in my tummy, please.


Em said...

I have a question. When do you know your baking is good enough that it's the recipe and not your execution that makes the recipe not worth trying again? Do just know? B/c I don't think I'm there yet.

Pittsburgh Needs Eated said...

Hi Em-

It's a matter of time and practice. Sometimes I still don't know if it's the recipe or my technique! I find I learn best from making a recipe over and over again, or comparing many recipes for the same product.

In this case, I had made enough similar bread, caramel, cookie, and bar recipes to know that no matter how many times I made the recipe, I would not like the end result. It was mostly a matter of texture, especially with the caramels.

Knowing a dessert's underlying techniques also helps. The bread recipe wasn't much more than a list of ingredients- it doesn't tell you when you've kneaded long enough, when the gluten is properly developed, or what to do if the dough is too dense or too wet.