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  1. Wow, andiesenji... that sounds fantastic!! I am going to try that!! MAYBE for my next dinner party. Hmmm. It just sounds amazing. I didn't try the canned dulce de leche for my cake filling, I was running too tight on time and had to get the cake done like... THEN, and it was for 50+ people so I wanted to do something I knew would be good. So, I haven't opened the cans yet, but I cooked them over a week ago. How long does the condensed milk variety dulce de leche keep, once it's been cooked but not yet opened?
  2. I roll my sugar cookies without parchment, but I don't use flour. I use a very light dusting of powdered sugar. Doesn't take much, and works perfectly every time.
  3. How about some Easter cookies? The cookies are from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion... "Decorators Dream Cookie". Really tasty. Surprisingly so, even. I use a royal icing recipe that I got from a magazine last Christmas... it's really similar to Wilton's, but tastes really good.
  4. Thanks for the input, everyone! I am either going to use the mascarpone (wow does that sound good!), or I am going to use stabilized whipped cream, and that dulce de leche filling is going to be a mousse! The Birthday Girl loves cheesecake, and I'm not sure if she's ever experienced the joy of mascarpone... but I'm leaning toward that one. So for mascarpone, if I add gelatin, I just add it the same way I would to cream to stabilize? Sounds easy enough... I'll let you know how it turns out... Thanks again!
  5. ...but the answer to my question is evading the search feature!! I want to use dulce de leche as a cake filling. My only experience with dulce de leche is the Smuckers brand ice cream topping, which is YUMMY and in my opinion, thick enough to not soak into the cake layers like a glaze. I think. Well, the store was out of the ice cream topping so I bought a couple cans of sweetened condensed milk, and will be making my own dulce de leche. Here are my questions... -- Will the dulce de leche be thick enough to stay between the cake layers without soaking in? -- If not, should I do something like fold it into whipped cream (not my first choice, as I don't want to have to worry about refrigeration, but will if I have to...) or maybe buttercream? Has anyone here tried this? Does it work? Thanks in advance, sorry if this question is a repeat!
  6. I actually tried to use a butane torch someone gave me for Christmas 2 years ago, and I couldn't figure out how to get the thing to work. I'm torch-challenged. I wasn't disappointed with the broiler at all, to be honest. It all melted together into a nice little "enamel" crust and THAT part was fairly even. If I got the amount of sugar correct, it would have been perfect (in my uneducated opinion). Of course, if I could get my torch working, I'd definitely use it.
  7. I just made creme brulee last night for the first time! I feel I was fairly successful, but it's possible that I'm not the best judge. I used a recipe from a Gale Gand cookbook. It had 8 yolks to 2 2/3 c. dairy (mostly heavy cream). I whisked vigorously and then strained it and didn't have any problems (that I noticed) with air bubbles. I baked in a water bath for 30 minutes and it was set on the outside and jiggly in the center. By the time I moved them to the fridge, they were set pretty much all the way through. I used the broiler, not a torch, and the sugar crusted over perfectly, EXCEPT... 1. I used too much sugar on top. There was a layer of crystals underneath my crispy top layer. I have to learn to control that. 2. The ramekins got pretty warm in the broiler, so the sides of the custard got a little soft. Other than that, the texture was silky and the flavor was delicious. It was very close to creme brulees I've had in restaurants. So... being a novice home chef creme brulee maker (who thinks it was startlingly easy to make), what exactly should I be looking for as signs of creme brulee success? It tasted wonderful. The top got a nice crust (minus the stuff under the top layer). The custard was delightfully creamy, not at all runny, and never once reminded me of pudding. Did I have a rare success, or do I just not know what creme brulee success is?
  8. I'm new to this stuff so I may be way off-base here... ...but, if the inside is taking longer to dry than the outside, wouldn't it be possible (and a good idea) to build up your figures slowly, allowing the inner core to dry before adding the next 'layer' of your sculpture? it would take longer, but if that's the cause, it seems to me that this could be a solution.
  9. When I was a kid, I liked carrot sticks dipped in A1 sauce. My mom ate them, so I tried them... YUM. I haven't had that in years... but I think I'm putting A1 on my next shopping list!!
  10. I'm definitely in the "roasting" camp on this one. Trim, put on baking sheet and toss lightly with olive oil... sprinkle with kosher salt, roast around 20 minutes. Delicious!
  11. pandorphus

    Bread/Toast Spreads

    I'm not sure it would work for the morning, but I made a really tasty pesto-ish tapenade-ish spread for bruschetta a week or so ago (inspired by a favorite local restaurant). I didn't measure, so it's hard to put up amounts... on the other hand, with these ingredients, it's tough to really have a "bad" blend (in my opinion). Put toasted walnuts (about 1 1/3 c), pitted kalamata olives (almost 1 small jar), some amount of fresh basil leaves (I used a lot, but not as much as I would for, say, a pesto), and 3-4-whatever cloves of garlic in the processor. Process until it is chopped fine, then pour in a thin stream of EVOO with the machine running until your desired consistency is reached. Put in bowl, and stir in about 2/3-3/4 c pecorino romano cheese. Sorry I can't be more specific. It was a HUGE hit, even among people who don't know they like olives or walnuts! (They ate it without asking me what it was... I never told them, either!)
  12. I can't answer your question re: using strong coffee, but I can tell you about the time I made tiramisu and went to Starbucks to get a cup of espresso. It was around 8pm when I wandered into the store... me: "I'd like a cup of espresso." Starbucks Dude (SD): "We sell espresso by the shot." me: "Yes... I'd like a cup of them." SD (showing early signs of confusion): "Well, we put the shot in a cup." me: "I would like you to take that cup [pointing at the 'tall' cup] and fill it with espresso." SD (looking baffled): "That's a lot of shots." me (trying to stay patient): "Yes. Please fill that cup with espresso until it's full, and charge me for however many shots it is." SD: "hoooKAY. I guess I can do that." me: "Thank you." SD: "What are you trying to do, like, stay up all night or something?" me: "..." me: "No, I am making a tiramisu." SD: "What's that?" oy. (I did finally get my full cup of espresso, but wow!)
  13. Oh... one more thing! Be careful when you clean the blade. That thing is SHARP! (see: recent scar on finger)
  14. I leave mine on the counter, so using it is always convenient. I use it for pasta dough, pastries of all types (it makes pastry SO FAST, and so well!), pestos aplenty, tapenades, hummus, it chops vegies and slices and grates and does all kinds of neat things in seconds... it grinds up nuts and meats and spreads and makes really smooth cheesecakes and... it's second only to my KA stand mixer as my favorite kitchen tool ever. You'll find ways to use it.
  15. There should be a warning on this thread: "Do not read late in the evening." It's 10:45pm and I REALLY want some spaghetti carbonara...
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