Friday, May 28, 2010

All That Chocolate and No Vanilla

Photo courtesy Flickr

There’s vanilla and then there’s Vanilla. Powdered vanilla produces baked goods that taste elegant and pricey. Sometimes I use it to boost regular bottled vanilla.

A chocolatier friend told me to add vanilla beans to a bottle of good whiskey. Part of the fun of this project is drinking enough of the whiskey to make room for the beans. I sampled the brew after six months and was not impressed. I tucked the bottle into the back of a cupboard and forgot about it until the in-house archaeologist made a batch of something that tasted unusually good three years later. In a perfect world, I would have a vanilla cellar in preference to a wine cellar-and honey and canned salmon cellars as well.

Any liquid flavor that’s good with chocolate can substitute for or augment vanilla. Amaretto, creme de menthe, dark rum, orange curacao, almond extract, and cherry brandy are all good guesses when improvising. Vanilla marries flavors.

-30- More after the jump.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chocolate Week: Top It Off with Clever Judy Frosting

Photo courtesy Flickr

Mix one cup powdered sugar, a quarter of a cup of milk, one egg, and a teaspoon of vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Melt four squares of baking chocolate with one tablespoon of butter. Pour into other mixture and beat briefly to heat egg. Set the bowl over ice and beat to establish texture. It sets up fast. Store the cake in the refrigerator.

-30- More after the jump.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chocolate Week: Laughing All the Way to the Bank

Photo courtesy Flickr

Extensive research in the chocolate aisle of a neighborhood supermarket leads me to conclude that utility-grade unsweetened baking chocolate is just as good a middle layer in a bowl of oatmeal as something with a die-cut, gold-stamped embossed wrapper that’s flown in from Europe.

Place half a serving of oatmeal in a bowl, chop up the little brown ingot and distribute it across the first layer, cover with the rest of the serving, and sprinkle sugar on top. I like turbinado sugar. Add flax seed, various fresh or dried fruits, and a dab of sour cream.

A rice cooker makes it easy to prepare oatmeal in the fog of dawn.

-30- More after the jump.