Bold tang of the bite
Tip of the tongue tempered
By Dove™ that had cried.
P.S. It’s like Mole for really, really lazy people!
I recently took a position as a culinary coach teaching kids, ages 3-8, how to make fun and healthy snacks. Since I have the privilege of seeing the little chefs in action from preparation to tasting their masterpieces, I thought I may share my observations as well the recipes with those out there that have children, work with children or just delight in their frank, and highly amusing commentary.
In the spirit of my mission to create one of a kind, custom treats, and I since I was just informed by a little one that “everyone is special”, I encourage you to put your own spin on these ideas. A recipe is a mere guideline. The real art and ownership comes from putting your, or your child’s own personal twist on things.
Why not play a little dress up with your food?
Next up: WTF are ‘Nana Dogs?
A couple of weeks ago I attended a housewarming/birthday party for a couple of fine fellas, Luke and Gavin. In honor of Luke’s birthday, I decided to make some cupcakes. Inspired by the strawberry flavored sugar that I purchased on our trip to South Carolina, I chose a chocolate fudge cupcake, filled with a strawberry cream and frosted with milk chocolate ganache and sprinkled with the strawberry sugar.
The cupcakes themselves went off without a hitch. The easy way ganache was thickening up in the fridge. Time to make the filling. I’m going to mention that it was quite warm and humid out. Not ideal for baking, but that’s what you get in Chicago, so you deal. I started the filling by whipping up some cream. When it was whipped up good, I added strawberry preserves. Ooops. Big mistake. Adding the deflated took the whip right out of the cream. I whipped some more, hoping to revive the sweet, runny strawberry/cream concoctions. No dice. I added some cream of tartar. Nothing. I added some powdered sugar. Nothing. I was out of whipping cream and I had no time to get more. It was either save the filling or do an unfilled version. Since I’m obsessive and I couldn’t bear the thought of a plain version when I had a fabulous filled version in mind.
A couple of laps around the kitchen examining my cupboard contents for a solution, I spied a jar of marshmallow fluff, which I had purchased for a s’more’s brownie recipe I’d yet to invent. What the hell. I don’t like the stuff myself, but others do. So, in went the fluff along with a squirt of red food coloring. Man, this stuff may not have been the fluffy cream I dreamed of, but, wow, what a color!
It never did fluff up. Still, I cut my little cones out of the cakes and spooned in about a tablespoon of the pink strawberry fluff cream inside, replaced the cones and just hoped the cupcakes wouldn’t fall apart with one bite.
Problem solved for the time being, I took the ganache out of the fridge and saw that it hadn’t thickened to my liking either. Alright, time to turn ganache into butter cream by adding a bunch of powdered sugar. Problem solved. Yes, a tad sweeter than I would have liked, but it was tasty.
After cakes were frosted, it was test taste time. Mars loved them. (Actually, Mars loved eating the strawberry fluff cream with a spoon directly out of the mixing bowl.) The filling’s oozy consistency caused it to seep into the cake creating a really nice, moist texture. The addition of the powdered sugar to the frosting gave it that nice, crunchy top layer. Quite honestly, the flavor was not unlike the icing on a Hostess cupcake. And as a matter of fact, the entire treat was very much reminiscent of a Hostess treat.
To my surprise, I didn’t mind the marshmallow fluff. In fact, I’ll likely use it as a filling base again.Mars also came up with a good solution should I want to make the strawberry filling as intended. Instead of preserves, use Strawberry Quick mix. I think he may be onto something.
In the end, the birthday boy was pleased, the party guests seemed to enjoy them…though the party had been going on for a while by the time the cupcakes were served, so I think they would have been appreciative of any sort of sweet treat.
Once again, the best learning tool proves to be a big fat mistake.