Saturday, December 27, 2008
As 2008 fades away...
Well, it's winding down, and honestly I am ready. I love the satisfaction of eating the fridge clean, of condensing cookies from multiple tins into fewer, and the delightful feeling of buttoning my jeans even after feeling revoltingly full, (must have been gas!). I know now why I don't cater full-time. I throw myself in, and work it like it was my own, then collapse. My family must fend for themselves and it depletes my energy, especially this time of year. Luckily, I had my marathon baking session before the event, so I had plenty to give away and enjoy, and I included a few plates of my family favorites into the party menu.
I really scaled back on the chocolate selections for myself, I made truffles and peanut butter cups. Pretty basic. I made killer espresso brownies for the party, but sold it as a batch, so I didn't get to taste! And also a Butterfinger Bar which mimics a butterfinger.
My truffles used to be famous. Trees of them dipped in white and bittersweet with candied violets and sweetheart roses, truffles wrapped in 24k gold leaf, and truffles laced with any number of delicious liquors. But this year it was simply chocolate, heavy cream, butter vanilla. My kids totally object to the cocoa dusting, so I went for the real chocolate jimmies from Baker's Catalogue. They are delicious, and the truffles were seriously wonderful. Sometimes simple is the way to go. The PB cups were a breeze as well. I mixed the peanut butter, butter and confectioner's sugar together, lined the cups with melted chocolate, put in a blob of PB mixture, topped with chocolate. Again, simple. I also put a small tray of these at the dessert party. Next year, less cookies for us, and more chocolate confections. I really enjoy the whole chocolate process, and hope around the 14th of February I can devote a blog entirely to this food of the gods.
The real find this year for me was the Guittard chocolate bar at Williams Sonoma. 10 pounds of the smoothest chocolate. At $39 for the bar, you're looking at $3.90 a pound. I dare you to find any chocolate of this quality at that price. Of course I have the famous Williams Sonoma discount so it was way better than that!
A few years back I invested in some chocolate tools. The largest, and most dangerous is used to chip off hunks from the big bar. A word of caution, a 9oz bar of chocolate doesn't need this big chipping tool. I actually went through the palm of my hand with it a few years back. But for this 10 pound bar, there really isn't another way to attack it. The smaller tools are designed for dipping and dunking and are pretty inexpensive and do a great job. I use a basic All Clad double boiler and an instant read digital thermometer to melt and temper. It is a process like everything else in the kitchen, and in February I'll lay out the whole thing. For now, I'm too busy to write and write, and my loyal readers are skiing, eating out and not even chatting up on Facebook, so I know there isn't anyone hankering to make truffles today. If so, shoot me a line, I'm happy to help! For now, I am desperately trying to ignore my delicious sugar cookies, plan a rockin New Year's dinner/birthday party, and look forward to the New Year. I have lots of blogger resolutions and big things happening. My producer tells me "This is the year"....I hope she's right! Come along for the ride, it'll be delicious!