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Everything posted by chefpeon

  1. This, I think, is a great idea. I will be doing this next week to an orange butter cake that I'm not totally pleased with. Thanks! I just might do that.
  2. If there was, I bet the Cracker Jack people would be right on it.
  3. From a website touting agave: Agave does not have the same properties as refined sugar, but is still hygroscopic. So even if you were able to get a hard coating with agave (which I don't believe you can-agave is more similar to honey than sugar), you'd still have the same problem.
  4. Got lucky I guess! I just went to Google, and typed in "electric brulee torch"....those exact words. I found the result about 5 listings from the top....... Gosh, I think you sold me on that iron! Sounds like an invaluable tool for all those reasons you mention! Additionally I will have another tool in my arsenal to torture my interns with!!! Bwa-ha-ha! $149 isn't too bad an investment. Glad I could help!
  5. Why an electric brulee iron? Personally I've never heard of one or seen one. Why not a torch? I found one for you though...... Electric Brulee Iron
  6. You might want to try Isomalt? I know that resists getting sticky, but I don't know for how long. The properties of sugar (the fact that it's hygroscopic; meaning it attracts moisture from the air) means that stickiness will always be a problem. Have you ever noticed those little dessicant vials and tiny packets that are packaged in both food and non food items? That might be the route you have to go if you are making something that you want to package and sell.
  7. Well......yeah.....I could do that. Sigh. Too tired to convert right now.
  8. Argh! I just spent the last half hour struggling with RecipeGullet! I give up. I will post the recipes on this thread tomorrow when I'm not so tired. And does anyone know how in the world you would enter something like "1 lb 11 oz cocoa" in RecipeGullet? I can enter 1 lb OR 11 oz, but not both! Double argh!
  9. Oh YEEAAHHH.....the TAX MAN. How could I forget that?
  10. Ok.....coming up, two RecipeGullet posts.....one for the white chiffon and the other for the chocolate cake. Actually I almost put my chocolate cake recipe up on the thread that was about searching for the best chocolate cake, but I felt selfish at the time. The chocolate cake recipe that I have, and the one you can find on Epicurious for the chocolate stout cake, I think, are the two best recipes for chocolate cake I've come across. The only drawback with the stout cake is that the beer makes it an expensive cake to make. Hee hee.....I can just imagine asking my boss to get me a half rack of beer every week. That'd raise some eyebrows!!!
  11. I use it all the time and vouch for it personally!
  12. Be glad to. I will post my recipe on RecipeGullet and link to it. I'll grab my recipe from my li'l black box at work tomorrow and post tomorrow night (or so).
  13. Yeah, I watched this show last night also. The chocolate cake challenge. I find the concept where Guy and Mark are commenting on the challenge a la sportscasters really stupid. And yeah, I can't say I like Guy a whole lot either. He's downright annoying. What really bugs me? The fact that TGI Fridays is sponsoring it, and they can afford to pay out a great prize. $25,000 to an amateur. Compare this to professionals who appear on the Food Network Challenge and their prize is $10,000. Their competitions are tougher and far more challenging. They also have to pay out of their own pockets to ship EVERYTHING they need to complete the competition....this includes not only buckets of buttercream (ie. HEAVY stuff=big shipping charges), but soap, bleach and towels. Other than work surfaces and equipment like ovens and fridges, they provide NOTHING for you. Not even bowls or small utensils. You have to ship it ALL. Add in a few days of lost work time, and the fact that if you're a decent person, you split the prize with your assistant, and that $10,000 prize is whittled down to almost just not being worth participating. For $25,000 though......now you're talkin'. But not on Guy's show. Meh.
  14. I always make my cupcakes from the same batter as my layer cakes. Cupcakes will always dry out faster because of their size, and if you are keeping them in the refrigerated case, even more so. That refrigeration sucks the moisture out of butter cakes like crazy. Also since cupcakes are only frosted on the top, that adds to the drying problem. The paper liners don't do much to retard moisture loss either. I use a chiffon cake for my layer cakes and the chiffon batter works GREAT for my cupcakes. It's an oil based chiffon and retains moisture well. Another thing I do to make my cupcakes more interesting is I fill them. After the cupcakes are baked, I take a bar straw and punch a few holes in the center. Then I will take leftover mousse, or flavored whipped cream, or pastry cream and inject some filling in the hole with a pastry bag. Then I ice as normal. People love 'em. I really avoid using butter cake recipes for cupcakes.....dryness is too much of a problem. My chocolate cake batter is not a chiffon, but it's oil based and stays moist a LONG time....makes great cupcakes also.
  15. It's not only European bakers that weigh out ingredients.......American ones do too. Weighing is ALWAYS the best and most accurate way to measure ingredients......bar none. But if you want to convert, this conversion calculator is the handiest and most accurate one out there.........
  16. You may call it trashy, but I call it strangely compelling! I MUST make it!
  17. I worked in exactly ONE bakery that had shiny new equipment, but it wasn't fancy or had a bunch of useless features. It was stuff that actually worked, all the time, dependably. I really liked that. The only thing I hated was the big Baxter convection oven. It was one of those ovens that you actually pushed a whole rack into, and when you close the door the rack would spin around. I hated doing my brulee in there, because when the rack started spinning, there'd be a slight jerk, and the brulee would spill out over the sides of the ramekins. Argh! I also didn't like walking into an oven......especially on a hot day..... I'm used to working with crap. In one place I had a robotcoupe that was completely held together with duct tape. It actually worked too. I was happy to hear what you said about the Pacojet, because that's one thing I've always wanted, but maybe not! I'd be happy with any ice cream machine actually. Where I'm at now, I get to deal with a new mixer, which of course has that stupid stupid safety cage around the top of the bowl. Thanks for caring about my safety, but after 18 years in the business I've never stuck my giblets in the bowl as it's running and I'm not about to. All that cage does is get in my way, make more of a mess, and gives me more to clean at the end of the day. I'd really really like to have a proof box. That's my one wish.
  18. Well that's good to know! I saw the big hotel pan size melters in use on one of the Food Network chocolate challenges; I had wondered if those things held the chocolate in temper.....now I know! Sigh.......boy would I like to have one of those........... I bought a Chocovision Revolation 2 off of eBay. $250. It's ok, but only for home use. It only melts and tempers up to 1.5 lbs of chocolate, and when you're working with chocolate, you know that's not much at all!
  19. Ok, since graham flour is just coarsely ground wheat flour, I don't think one would want to make a cake out of this. Why don't you make a layer cake that emulates the best part of a McVitie.....which, of course, is the flavor. If it were me: (and I'm assuming you are trying to emulate the chocolate covered McVitie?) I would bake off a honey cake (recipes all over the internet.....choose your fav). Split it into 3-4 layers. (By the way, I would build this cake in a springform pan with high sides) Line the bottom of the springform pan with parchment, and make a graham cracker (McVities) crust. Place first layer of honey cake on top. Then spread either: (milk chocolate or dark chocolate ganache or mousse) on top of the cake layer. Apply next cake layer. Ganache or mousse. Third cake layer. Repeat this process if you have four layers. Then, ice in a neutral or honey buttercream, OR pour with dark ganache. Mask the sides with more crushed graham crackers (McVities) On top, pipe some rosettes and, if they are small enough, garnish with half or whole McVities. How about that?
  20. If these chocolate warmers/melters aren't actually tempering machines, why are they so expensive? I've never worked with one, so I don't actually know. Do they have a super sensitive fancy pants thermostat.....or...?
  21. Ok, I'll ask......what are McVities? Scottish children's chewable vitamins?
  22. The only reason I'd go for that look at all is for the convenience. If I made them myself, that sort of takes away the convenience factor. After a closer look, I've decided they don't look good enough to make them worth buying. The sports-themed ones are kinda cool, but the rest are just too one dimensional and lacking in color contrast for my taste. It's funny what people will come up with. I salute the entrepreneurial spirit!
  23. This is an interesting concept, especially considering that cupcakes are the trend du jour. Cupcake Caps Not sure how I feel about them. I might order a dozen just to see. They say they're NOT fondant, but the closest way to describe them would be to relate it to a marshmallow. Hmmmm.
  24. Hey yeah..... thanks for all the explanation. It answers a lot of questions I had!
  25. Thanks for sharing that info. I've always believed that tasting and showpiece competitions should be separate though. It may have been that the showpiece that came in third place was the most visually appealing to the judges overall, but he lost points on how his cake tasted so he came in third.....how fair is that? The showpieces should be judged on their merits alone and not be subject to loss of points because of another element of the competition that has nothing to do with the showpiece. See what I'm saying? I could tell there was definitely a theme in play there....as with most competitions. I also understand from an engineering point of view how it makes sense to have all your chocolate piecework at the bottom and the sugar stuff toward the top. I also understand how height translates into "difficulty" which gets you points. I think what I'm trying to say about "sameness" is that with showpiece work I am constantly seeing the same curves and flows within the pieces, regardless of theme. I think that the rules of the competition are mostly why that is. I also think that architecturally, those curves and flows are what work best. What I see in the 1st and 2nd place entries are these huge clunky bases of chocolate which provide more "area" to attach the sugar pieces, which translates to me as being less risky or difficult. Whereas, the 3rd and honorable mention pieces have more delicate chocolate bases which are more visually appealing, and because of this seem to look more difficult to execute. The balance factor is far more apparent in those pieces than in the first two. You'd think you'd get extra points for that. But what do I know. Also, on a personal level, as an artist, I'm kind of a "less is more" person. I'll take delicate and flowing over clunky and overdo any day. Actually, the bottom line is.....when it comes to art......who really is the best? No one really knows the answer to that, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Your best hope is that most of the beholders like your stuff best......
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