I’ve been working on perfecting Peanut Butter Cookies since around the age of eight. Not the taste, which is nearly always great, but the texture. I love these All-American cookies super-crispy or super-chewy–but not in-between.
Cupid Crunch (Cracker Jacks for Lovers)
I’m in a Cracker Jack craze, and there is no end in sight. After developing Chinese Cracker Jacks in December and eating it daily for weeks, I can’t stop thinking about all the possible flavor permutations. This is such a versatile concept: popcorn, nuts, seasonings, caramel brittle. Hey, wait a minute, what about chocolate?
I know, I know! Molten Chocolate Cake, or Lava Cake, as it is sometimes called, is so YESTERDAY. I am almost perturbed today when I see one on a dessert menu.
I mean, really, can’t the pastry chef think of SOMETHING ELSE? Haven’t we moved beyond warm, fragrant, oozing, fudgy chocolate soufflé cakes and their requisite ice cream accompaniments?
It’s All Chocolate! All Month! in the LunaCafe OtherWorldly Kitchen. As usual during the Month of Love, I am covered in chocolate: milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, white chocolate, and unsweetened cocoa powder. All in an effort to come up with the most delectable, memorable Valentine’s Day dessert ever.
Recipes can be inspiring, but there is nothing as satisfying as truly understanding the underlying formula and technique of a particular dish. Once you’ve got those under your belt, you OWN that dish and can riff it successfully and endlessly. That’s when the real fun begins.
Take the concept of dessert crepes (pronounced kr?ps in French or kr?pes in English) for instance, which are a type of very thin pancake. You can go straight to a comprehensive French cookbook, grab the basic dessert crepe recipe and process, and rely on that forever. Or, if you are more curious, you can gather 10-20 solid resources, compare the formulas and processes, and then hit the kitchen and test your way through them. When you are done, the entire world of desert crepes will open up for you and reveal its secrets. You will become the Zen master of dessert crepes.
To set the record straight and to put my mind at rest, as near as I can determine after years of looking for the ultimate and absolute distinction between scones and shortcake, there is none.
Shortcake is a lightly sweetened cream biscuit–which is exactly what a scone is. So if you can make a perfect scone (and YOU CAN after reading The Best Scones in the Entire Universe), you can also make perfect shortcake.
Bless your heart if you are actually reading this post rather than running for cover to another food blog. Yes, I know this combination sounds a tad bit unusual, but I assure you it is Pure Genius.
Lest you think I’m being immodest here, the idea is not mine. The combination was recently featured in Gourmet Traveler, and that’s where I first encountered it.
As I said in the previous post, Caramelized Ancho Chile & Cinnamon Almonds, are you ready for one of the most spectacular desserts I have ever created? It is so indulgent, so bright, so refreshing, so festive, and so sinful (Using fresh strawberries out of season? Have I gone to the dark side?) that it may well be the PERFECT dessert with which to bid winter a grateful farewell. Goodbye freezing rain, mud, ice, and threats of snow. Goodbye short grey days and long dark nights. Have a safe journey to the other side of the globe, and please please please don’t hurry back.
Is there anything better in the world than a scoop of the richest vanilla bean ice cream you can get your hands on and a generous topping of an equally rich dark chocolate sauce? Okay, maybe add a couple of perfect strawberries to that picture. And then, since we’re talking perfection here, how about a small handful of toasted almonds as well?
Whether you call them beignet, zeppoli, bunuelos, crullers, Indian frybread, elephant ears, fritters, funnel cakes, churros, or simply donuts, there is something absolutely magical about freshly fried sweet dough, whether plain, encasing a bit of fruit or chocolate, topped with sugar, or dipped into a creamy, dreamy sauce.
With this post, we kick off the second annual Love Rules! All Chocolate! All Month! celebration at LunaCafe OtherWorldly Kitchen. To check out the wonderful chocolate creations we debuted last February, be sure to visit the All Chocolate! recipe archive.
Beginning now, every post until the end of February will feature, you guessed it, CHOCOLATE. In fact, I’ve been covered in unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate, as well as cocoa, for many weeks now, trying to come up with the world’s best, truly CHEWY (not fudgy, not cakey) brownie. And finally, after many attempts, I succeeded. In all the testing, I also serendipitously hit upon a wonderfully silky, light, and luscious fudgy brownie that turned me, the swamp boogie queen of chewy brownie lovers, into a fudgy brownie convert.
I want to wrap up LunaCafe’s February 2009 Love Rules! All Chocolate! All Month! celebration with a really special dessert. If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been covered in cocoa powder and melted chocolate all month. I discovered and perfected the world’s most delectable cookie, Bittersweet Chocolate & Toasted Walnut Cookies Perfecta […]
This is not mildly-flavored American-style hot cocoa, which is typically made with cocoa powder, or sometimes with chocolate syrup. Rather, it is European-style drinking or hot chocolate, which is made with whole milk (and sometimes part cream) and melted high-quality bar chocolate. Once you have had hot chocolate made in this way, you won’t settle for anything less.