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Everything posted by excv_

  1. @shain Thanks! And yes, it seems like a good idea- I shall try that in the future to get more of a cleaner look. @Patrick S Thank you so much!
  2. I've always wanted to try my hand at one of those fancy shaped breads but was intimidated by the whole process- then I decided to give it a go after seeing Patrick's beautiful nutella brioche here. It's not nearly as gorgeous as his, obviously, but I'm pretty satisfied considering my usually mediocre bread baking skills and uneven-as-hell oven; It was really fun to make, and tasty too. Something to note the next time: I used a cinnamon roll like brown sugar filling in place of the commonly used nutella as I'm not a big fan of it- It tasted and looked just fine but sort of oozed out while baking and gave the bottom a monkey bread-like texture. Not undesirable but not what I'd positively expected, either. My mistake in substitution. Also, I should probably have worked faster while shaping, as the surface/edges of the dough was fairly dry by the time I was almost done and it was a pain to get the ends of the 'petals' to stick together. I added a cute little(badly made) bow. Festive, huh?
  3. Chocolate crinkle cookies. I was slightly short on powdered sugar for coating so I used a mixture of cocoa and powdered sugar for the coating as suggested by google- I was a bit unsure at first thinking it would hurt the classic contrasted pattern, but I actually really like how the finished cookies look. The outside being more chocolate-y and less cloyingly sweet was also a plus.
  4. Mini chocolate & PB cupcakes. I wasn't originally going to decorate them but the frosting came out a bit thick so I decided to hide the broken tips with some chocolate shards- they ended up looking even better than I intended.
  5. The shells are flavored with a liquid coffee extract- about half a teaspoon for a batch that yielded about 35-40 filled cookies. Could the extra moisture introduced there have contributed to the issue? Using espresso powder does seem like a great idea, too, I'll have to try that in the future.
  6. That's interesting, the recipe I used was indeed a french meringue one; I should try Italian meringue- based recipes sometime later as well. Good to know that it (probably)wasn't an error on my part or anything. As for the moisture/fresh whites part, would it help to let the egg whites age uncovered longer? This time I only gave them about 3-4 hours at room temperature- minimum time suggested by the recipe- so maybe overnight or so the next time.
  7. Coffee macarons. It's actually my first proper attempt at making macarons and I'm quite happy with the result, considering their temperamental reputation- wasn't nearly as hard as I'd expected! I originally wanted to try plain vanilla ones for my first batch but thought it'd be better to do something darker to allow room for some accidental browning, so coffee it is. Any advice/suggestion would be welcome. Things that need improvement/ some questions: - Quite a lot of the cookies turned out to be a weird, slightly oblong shape as they rested and baked; probably just poor piping skills, but I'm not completely sure what exactly caused it. I should try using a template or buy one of those macaron mats. Oh, well- they still have their own charms. - Some of the shells were a bit difficult to release from the parchment without having the tender insides ripped out, although I'm quite sure they weren't undercooked. Does anyone have an answer for that? Most did come off swiftly after they were cooled so it might be just that, but I think I've heard that they're supposed to release easily while still hot? - I found that the feet sort of spread out to the side while baking and forming actual feet, instead of rising more upwards. None of the troubleshooting posts I've read seem to cover the exact causes of this problem- How can I prevent this? ==================================================== The batter Shells baked & before filling Finished cookies! I sprinkled cocoa nibs on about a quarter of the shells before baking, and brushed some of the rest with a mixture of coffee flavoring and gold lustre dust after they were baked and cooled. The filling is a Kahlua and caramel ganache.
  8. First try at homemade tiramisu. The recipe for the filling was a simplified, egg-free version I found on the internet which I initially felt bad about using but worked surprisingly well- I was out of eggs after baking the ladyfingers.
  9. I personally prefer dead tree books by a significant margin- there's just something about opening and holding a book in your hand, and having it sit on the shelf. And they're much better for randomly flipping around or looking for certain things, which is something you can't do as easily wih e-books(and it's less fun that way). Books. So precious. Also, the ability to easily add notes and mark/fold pages is a plus for me as I tend to use instructional books rather messily. If I need to take it into the kitchen/ have it with me while I do something else, I usually just take a picture of the page(s) I need with my phone or tablet and bring that. I, however, totally understand those who prefer e-books in terms of convenience and space; Paper isn't exactly light or small in large quantities, and that sure is a reasonable concern. Come to think of it, my preference may just be based the fact that I don't have all that many cookbooks yet or have to carry them around a lot.
  10. Eight dollars! And I thought four-five dollars per head here was expensive.
  11. Aside from the general irresponsibility/disrespect that the parents showed(team owner here too), I'm really concerned about their methods of parenting; Literally none of their claims makes any sense at all. Physically putting that pancake away to stop the child from eating it to the point she was screaming and crying, instead of teaching her responsibility and moderation, was abusive. Ignoring a toddler in that state over such a petty matter for forty minutes was abusive. Why even worry about the child being '''''traumatized''''' by other people when you're doing plenty of that yourself? The poor kid's going to grow up to be like her own mom at the best case scenario, thinking it's normal to do that, and(depending on whether that's the way they constantly treat her) with childhood abuse trauma at worst. Gross.
  12. Milk chocolate-covered pumpkin caramel Hazelnut gianduja Milk chocolate cup, filled with coffee ganache Caramel ganache sandwich- so happy this turned out well! I just used the cookie cutter method for this one, which worked fine for small scale production. Green tea truffle Peppermint Mendiants Cherry cordial (not yet liquified!) White chocolate & caramel truffle
  13. Bacon and herb rolls- made on request from a family member. I've never really been a bread-baking person but this one came out quite nice. The individual balls are also filled with cream cheese but I seem to have forgotten to take a pic of the inside. This one was taken immediately after brushing on the butter, before it was absorbed- so glossy.
  14. Thank you both for replying. I haven't thought of using a chablon, that seems like a good method with way less wasted chocolate; I should be getting one sometime. Also, Kerry, yours too look absolutely beautiful in my amateur eyes- further inspiration! Using gianduja for the filling sounds superb as well.
  15. What a wonderful collection of chocolates- They all look and sound totally divine! If I may ask, do you just cut the chocolate pieces out with a cookie cutter and pipe the filling for those gingerbread ones? I love that style and have been meaning to try it for ages, but never found proper instructions on how and was afraid to experiment. Do they hold their shape well that way? Asking that because I'm slightly concerned that depending on the consistency of the filling they might easily come apart or collapse/leak. I'm thinking a firm-ish ganache should work... right? Sorry for so many questions any help at all would be tremendously appreciated!
  16. I'll have to agree with Kerry Beal on this one- depends almost completely on the recepient. If it's for someone I'm attached to and like to see impressed, I can quickly get unnecessarily spendy(cocoa harvested from a rare plant that only grows in elephant footprints that are watered by rain water dripping off of vanilla vines level) in both ingredients and level of effort; but if it's a formal, obligated gift to a non-foodie person I'm not that close with(the first part is the priority there, though- reputation!!), then meh. I still do use decent level stuff in things like chocolates where the quality of the ingredient does make a difference even to the less picky- at least the best I can comfortably afford. Another criteria here is the expected audience- if it's for young kids under 10-ish or people with little knowledge and/or interest in said cuisine(which is surprisingly common at least here, especially when your main field is baking and confections), I would prefer to not go further than a nice simple crowd-pleaser and preserve my good stuff for those who can actually savor the food & give me feedback. There are many easy ways to satisfy those who care less about food than I do, and as Chris Hennes said 'better' ingredients are not it. There are people who really are unable to detect that sort of difference, no matter how obvious it seems to us and how hard the cook tries.
  17. Rajoress- Those sound(and look) divine I'm always such a sucker for tea infused treats... You've got a very lucky boss there. I also love how the sliver lustre dust goes with the shape of your mold; really makes the shine stand out without overpowering the chocolate's own color! Did you just brush the dust on after demolding?
  18. excv_

    Dinner 2015 (Part 6)

    Pasta salad- Whole wheat penne, diced fresh & smoked mozzarella, onions, salami, artichoke hearts and raw spinach in a red wine vinegar dressing. Beautiful.
  19. Earl grey and lemon shortbread cookies, dipped in white chocolate and filled with earl grey ganache. They're tasty on their own or with only the chocolate(which is how I usually make them), but I had a lot of time on hand and decided to get a bit fancy. in production- [i didn't realize I spilled a drop of cocoa butter on one until after I assembled everything...]
  20. Caramel brownies with milk chocolate chips, topped with coffee ganache. I was initially planning to quickly whip up a batch(without frosting) to snack on, but somehow got distracted halfway through and went on full decorating mode; Classic.
  21. Kim Shook- Would you mind sharing a link to the recipe for those almond cookies? They look so great, I'm going nuts over them. The bleu cheese shortbread with fig preserve also seems like such a beautiful combination, by the way; I really should try something like that too sometime later. Great work!
  22. Made tons of things tonight! and finally whipped out my ancient DSLR for some less terrible photos. Rosemary ganache truffles Milk chocolate almond rochers(flavored with rum) Caramel and peanut gianduja bars, enrobed w/ caramelized white chocolate White chocolate covered 'cinnamon latte' caramels Espresso ganache and bitter caramel sauce, molded in milk chocolate
  23. I know this topic is practically dead and I'm not even sure it's the right place for my question, but since I didn't want to make a whole new thread: What exactly happens when you leave caramels unwrapped? Every soft caramel recipe I've seen tells me to wrap or dip them in chocolate if they're not going to be used soon, but never states why or exactly how long they can stay 'bare'. I'm guessing from my previous experiences they can slump/ flatten to an unattractive shape- if they do, approximately how long does it take and how can it be prevented? One of my plans for a decorative finish on the recipe(more like flavor variations on an existing recipe, but whatever) I'm developing involves dipping them only partway; quite tricky to wrap without damaging the appearance. While there's no reason for that other than visual appeal, meaning I can simply cover the whole thing if I had to, it'd be great to know what I can try. Thanks in advance!
  24. Simple salami sandwich- lots of sliced salami, fresh mozarella and romaine lettuce with whole grain mustard and tomato pesto. Sorry for the bad photo. Also, notice my extremely attractive(I know, right) plate.
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