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Everything posted by chefpeon

  1. You should come to work here in Port Townsend. All the swill-hating holistic sandal-wearing, whole grain, label readers would love you.
  2. When you say they want a real rim on the top, does that mean you will be making the cake as a solid circle and placing a hubcab kind of thing on top of it, or does it mean that you will place a real rim on the board and building the cake around it? Regardless, I would use black fondant too (I didn't know you could buy it in already colored; I've always just colored my own, and yeah, it takes a LOT of paste/powder/gel-whatever you use-to get it really black. I use a combination of powder and gel paste, because if I use exclusively ALL gel or liquid, it messes with the consistency of the fondant enough that it makes it hard to work with. Adding powder for additional deepening of color won't make your fondant so unmanageable to use. But hey, if you can buy it in that way, go for it.....saves a lot of work! Regarding tread and patterning, I like to assemble the cake, then pipe buttercream on it in the pattern I want to achieve. I let it harden up in the walk-in or freezer, then cover with fondant. As you are smoothing the fondant over the cake, gently smooth it over the patterns you have created with your buttercream, and voila, you have tread! To further add definition to your tread pattern, spray the indentations with black color in your airbrush. Here is sort of an example of that: I carved out my brain (yeah, literally too, but that's another story) Then piped out the brain pattern with buttercream using a large round tip, refrigerated it, then covered with the blue fondant. You can use the same technique to re-create tread.....it's neat, because you get two things done in one step...you cover your cake and get your tread at the same time! Raised white letters are always cool on tires. After I got the fondant thing done, I would enlarge the Michelin font logo, cut out each letter, and use each letter as a pattern to cut out white modeling chocolate letters to place on the tire. Also, new tires are somewhat glossy (do you have to make a new tire or a used tire? hee hee), so I like to add a little gloss by thinning down piping gel with some clear liquor and brushing it on. The only drawback is that it makes the cake somewhat sticky, but heck, nobody's supposed to be touching it anyway..... Also, glossing it up a bit deepens the black color very very nicely. Just my personal preference, but I don't like combining inedible elements in my cakes. If they were my client I probably would tell them I could recreate the real rim out of edible products rather that use a real one. I mean, even if it were new and completely clean and sanitized, I don't know.....it's one of those things that kinda wigs me out. On the other hand, using a real rim saves you a lot of work, and that's a good thing. Anyway, I do hope you post a pic when you're done! Love to see it!
  3. Count me in too! I'm waiting anxiously. I'd hate to think I've been making wedding swill all these years....
  4. Uh.....er...... I must say, as a professional wedding cake designer, that I double, triple, and quadruple recipes ALL THE TIME. I do even more than quadruple....but uh, I don't know the word for it.... The key to accurate doubling (or halving as the case may be) is to use WEIGHTS. Weighing your ingredients is extremely accurate and makes it easier to increase or decrease the sizes of your batches. In fact, here is a handy calculator online that makes it easy to convert different ingredients from cups to pounds.......click here Gee whiz.......if I didn't double my recipes and had to make a single batch of cake every time I had to do a wedding, I'd never get anything done! I can't believe someone would say to never double a cake recipe! That's a bunch of horse-poopy! As far as how much batter goes in the pan.......I've always used the general rule of filling my pan just a tad over halfway full. Works EVERY time!
  5. I think my favorite white for cookie decorating is Felchlin Mont Blanc 31% Rondo. It comes in little "coins" "disks" "pistoles"....whatever you want to call it. Melts nicely....good consistency, sets fast....great taste. My favorite all purpose white is Guittard White Satin Ribbon. It's good for cookie decorating too, but is a little viscous, so you need to add a little oil (or cocoa butter) to it to thin it down. I love the above two chocolates because I know exactly how they will perform for me. There could be better ones out there, but when you're tryin' to get the job done, you kind of stay in your comfort zone if you know what I mean. Boy, lucky for me I've never had any customers fussy enough that they wouldn't buy a ghost cookie at Halloween because it wasn't true white. It's all relative.....white chocolate on a sugar cookie looks white enough. And used with other colors it's just fine too. I suppose if white chocolate is something you rarely use, buying in oil based colors would be an unjustified cost. I've had a hard time finding oil based colors actually, so I exclusively use powder. When I have found and used oil based colors I did find that some of them really seized my chocolate to the point where it was almost unpipeable, so one wonders how "oil based" they really were. So I stick with powders.....they don't mess with my consistency and always work. With the brands that I've used above (especially the Guittard), if it's too warm, it becomes a burnt seized chunk of unusable formerly white chocolate. I guess that's another thing I like about them.....you CAN'T get them too warm and still be able to dip or pipe cookies. When it's completely melted down, it's the perfect consistency (except of course for the Guittard, where I have to add oil). The chocolate will eventually cool down to the point where ya gotta stick it in the micro and nuke it for a few seconds, but luckily I also work in a hot bakery where it takes a heck of a long time for something to cool down!
  6. Gosh I burn my Brulees all the time. On purpose. I love 'em that way. So do my customers...... Y'mean....I've been doing it ALL WRONG? Yow!
  7. Um...er....the only icing I know that forms a crust is shortening based icing. <cough>
  8. I've done the heavy cream/flavoring/xxxsugar method too. It's ok and tastes much better than royal, but I don't like it as well as white chocolate because: *It takes much longer to set, and *even when it is set, stacking the decorated cookies is still not a good idea, and *sometimes when you need to use deeper colors, as the cookie sits, color will bleed. Using white chocolate eliminates all these problems. I used to have to do a LOT of cookies. Hundreds...thousands. Stacking was necessary and I had to do it fast. The heavy cream thing wasn't practical for that job at all. The only drawback to white chocolate? Expensive as an ingredient. But with all the time and hassle it saved me, I think the bakery owner came out pretty even. Also, with white chocolate you don't have to worry about shelf life either.
  9. chefpeon


    Interesting stuff about piping the cookie out and then letting it sit to form a shell before it bakes. I never would have thought of that. I'm so used to getting stuff in the oven IMMEDIATELY (for one reason or another)!
  10. I don't like the way royal tastes either. I use white chocolate. For instance, if I'm making, say, Christmas trees, I'll dip them in white chocolate colored with green food color powder. When they've set (and it doesn't take long), then I pipe on whatever other decorations I want using different colored white chocolate. My cookies looked and tasted great...... The only problem with that was that they sold out so fast during the holidays, I couldn't keep up. I felt like my back was going to break with all those damn cookies. Holiday cookie decorating nearly killed me.
  11. chefpeon


    Ah, yes.....all the info on Macaroons......EXCEPT how to make them square! C'mon.....Give it up, you Frenchies!!!! I still say a mold is involved somehow. What do you think, Redsugar?
  12. Unlike chocolate, it takes quite a bit of heat to melt a caramel, so I think you'll be ok, especially since Fall is almost here!
  13. What the heck is wrong with FedEx? They won't ship food? I like "Brown" anyway. Love those delivery guys in their polyester brown shorts.......mmmm mmm! ANYWAY...... I don't see a problem with shipping your caramels....especially if they are individually wrapped. I don't even think you would need to freeze them either. Are they super soft? Do you live in a hot part of the country? Are they traveling through or going to a hot part of the country? Styrofoam packing peanuts, although not environmentally friendly, do provide some pretty good insulation. I really don't think you should have much of a problem.
  14. Yep, I think you're right......I've kept all my issues of PA&D, but I'm too lazy to search through all of them. To me, the noodles were very visually appealing, but I just kept thinking....."yipes...pure gelatin".......that sort of put me off. I've never been a big jello fan anyway. I also suffered horrors in culinary school when we had to make things in aspic. I don't know.....it kinda grosses me out in a way. I like to use gelatin in small amounts and not think too much about its origins......or else I kind of "wig out". Weird, huh? But, that's me.
  15. chefpeon


    Oh, I know what you meant by "feet"....it's actually a pastry term. We PC's don't like feet....we do things to avoid "feet".......for instance, when you pour or dip petit fours and let them drain off on a screen....this prevents feet and lets us re-use whatever chocolate or fondant that has dripped away. However if you WANT feet, then yes, I agree, it would be hard to achieve with a mold. I would almost think that if you want that crispy exterior and the square shape, you'd either have to give up one or the other. BUT PERHAPS......hmmmm.....what if you started your macarons in the mold. Just enough to set. Then unmold them and let them continue baking that way? Just a thought.
  16. chefpeon


    And feet are a good thing? Well, for humans yes. Pastry? No. Your formula seems so similar to Financiers. Financiers are baked in molds. So, I'm just sayin'......
  17. I saw a real cool looking dessert in Pastry Art and Design once. Looked really beautiful, but I'm not sure about the taste. The pastry chef had a colorful fruit like concoction on top of "glass noodles", which I believe were actually gelatin sheets re-hydrated in some sort of sugar water (or syrup), and then cut to look like clear noodles. Really neat, appearance-wise.
  18. chefpeon


    I've actually been waiting for someone to answer this too, because, well, I think I know, but I'm not sure I know. I'll just go out on a limb here. I'm pretty sure those square guys are baked in those bakeable silicone mold things. I looked on the JB Prince web site and saw a lot of flexipans on there, but I didn't see any cube shapes. Anyone know who sells those? Do they exist? I believe altering your recipe will mess too much with the texture of your macarons. All you need to do is use less batter, and again, the key here is to control the shape of them by baking them in a mold.
  19. chefpeon


    Dagnabit! I thought I knew everything. There goes that theory. What's Angelica? Up until now, I thought she was the bratty kid on "Rugrats". From the pic on that website, I can see it's green, and that's about it. More info?
  20. I had actually never heard of them until I needed to make them when I started my current job back in May. They sounded good, and the recipe looked interesting, but after I made them and tasted them, I thought that they were ok and nothing more. It really reminded me of a Suzie Q, and I'm not really interested in making stuff that is already mass produced by a huge conglomerate. I also had that gut instinct that told me, "Kids would love it". Well, lucky for me, the market that we sell to doesn't really have kids as a large part of the demographic. Our market is "old hippie eclectic, wheat grass grazing, label reading, sandal wearing, holistic healing, refined sugar shunning, folk music loving, antiestablishment, Wal-Mart haters". Wait.....did I say "lucky for me"? Well, when it comes to having to make Whoopie Pies, yeah. I don't have to make them anymore because they didn't sell. Duh. Not here. Our best selling cookie (and what I attribute most of my paycheck to), is our Sesame Flaxseed Oat Cake Cookie. Also known as a "Hippie Biscuit". It's probably the worst piece of dried out over-rated, "it must be healthy 'cause it has flaxseeds in it" crap I've ever had to make. But it SELLS. Why, God, why? I cannot predict the fickle public.....or their lack of taste. I'd never share this recipe (because ethically I shouldn't), and I'd never subject a fellow foodie to that kind of cruelty.... To prevent this from becoming the "Whoopie Pie" Thread, I suppose I should offer a suggestion for a "knock your socks off cookie". But since I'm so confused about what most people consider "a great cookie". I don't know where to start. The phenomenon of the Hippie Biscuit has ruined me FOREVER!!!!!
  21. I don't get it then. If the dude is retiring and only he knows the likes and dislikes of the bigwigs, doesn't he do them a disservice by not informing the new guy? He does no one a favor by keeping it to himself. I would be inclined to think that would be nothing less than selfish ego. I know if it were me, I'd train the heck out of the new guy (gal). It's just the right thing to do.
  22. chefpeon


    Here's a place to buy sheet gelatin online!
  23. Boy, I'd sure love to know where I can get green tomatoes without having to grow them myself! Not only that, it's hard to grow good tomatoes where I live because of the climate and all that. Hale's Ales in Seattle was known for a cheesecake they made with one of their Porters. I cut out the recipe when it was published in the paper, wonder if I still have it......<rummage><rummage> Now that we aren't stuck with just the likes of Coors and Budweiser, and we can choose from so many lovely microbrews, I agree that beer has many great possibilities and an interesting future in the culinary world. In a way this topic sort of reminds me about a chef featured in an issue of Pastry Art and Design. A real edgy guy in that he was using TOBACCO LEAVES in some dessert applications. Man, I'm sorry, but I just can't get my head around that. However, if you came up with a dessert special featuring a tobacco leaf dessert paired with a specific brew, you could call it "Bartender's Special: Beer and a Cigarette"..........yum!
  24. Gee, I thought my answer was sort of kind of scientific...... although I didn't use any five dollar words...... hmmmmm....refrigustaloxulose......how's that?
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