Chocolate Mousse Methodology, Day Four

April 20th, 2012 · 1 Comment · Chocolate, Cookbooks, Recipes, Reviews

choc mousse lineup

Remember back with mousse #1, where I discussed how eggs enriched a mousse like nothing else? The only issue was that the eggs in the classic French style mousse weren’t cooked, so it should be avoided by those with health concerns. However, the next two mousses use eggs that are cooked, so you don’t have to worry about anything – except perhaps your waistline! I think they’re worth the extra effort.

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Chocolate Mousse Methodology, Day Three + {Tool Review}: Tovolo Quick Prep Mixer

April 16th, 2012 · 5 Comments · Chocolate, Cookbooks, Recipes, Reviews

tavolo prep mixer

Apologies for falling behind on the mousse recipes – I wanted to add on a review of my latest kitchen gadget, one that’s very apropos for mousse-making.

The photo above is of the Tovolo Quick Hand Mixer. I picked mine up on sale from a kitchenware store – I’ll confess that normally I would have passed this by as unnecessary (I mean, all a good pastry chef needs is a whisk and some elbow grease, right?), but the price, plus the fact that it’s a perfect illustration of gear trains and the benefits of mechanical advantage made it too fun to pass up.

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Chocolate Mousse Methodology, Day Two

April 11th, 2012 · 9 Comments · Chocolate, Cookbooks, Recipes, Reviews

choc mousse spoon

Thanks for the feedback on my mousse project! As I anticipate typing the word “mousse” about a hundred times in the next couple days, I am totally waiting for “mouse” to slip into one of these posts and elude both the spellcheck and my mousse-addled eyes. If only I could blame Autocorrect when that happens…

Without further ado, mousse #2!

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Chocolate Mousse Methodology: Day One

April 10th, 2012 · 13 Comments · Chocolate, Cookbooks, Recipes, Reviews

choc mousse board

Sometimes you find yourself in an inspiration drought. I know that seems practically impossible these days, when Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest means there’s all sorts of inspiration for the taking, all the time, but sometimes I find the reverse happening. When you’re surrounded by everyone else’s cool ideas, and it seems like everything original has already been done, it’s hard to have room for creative thoughts of your own in your mind. Sometimes I find I need to step away from the overstimulation and let my brain wander and percolate ideas on its own. Like the classic writers’ advice, to stop reading when you’re trying to write your own book, so you don’t let other voices drown out your own.

I can’t guarantee that the project I came up with is wholly original, but at least it was a happy kickstart.  I tried to re-organize my bookshelf for the tenth time (I keep coming up with new algorithms for determining hierarchy) and ended up picking out Cooking with Chocolate: Essential Recipes and Techniques, which was a nominee for IACP best baking book of 2011. I concur with the short-listing: it’s a comprehensive compendium of classic chocolate techniques, easy to follow, and written in English – that last criterion can be a real killer when searching for advanced/professional level baking books!

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Looking for Sunshine: Apricot Crumb Coffee Cake

March 30th, 2012 · 16 Comments · Cakes, Fruit, Recipes, Reviews

apricot coffee cake

It’s been raining a lot over here. April showers have come early, or maybe they’re winter rains that lost their way. Normally I like rain, especially after a dry winter that made me think I’d forgotten the sound of rain on the roof. In typical be-careful-what-you-ask-for-fashion, I am totally re-familiarized with rain. I still like the rain, particularly when I’m inside reading a book in my favorite spot on the couch. I’m not such a big fan anymore when I have to take my apparently hydrophobic dog out three times a day and stand for about 10 minutes outside convincing her to do her business.

So I’m ready for spring. And what better harbinger of sunshine than this package of dried apricots I got on my doorstep from Enduring Sun?

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{Cookbook Review}: 2011 Holiday Baking Cookbooks

December 8th, 2011 · 7 Comments · Cookbooks, Reviews

It’s that time again for one of my favorite posts of the year – the baking cookbook roundup!

I’m guessing that everyone is in holiday shopping mode, so if you’re still looking for a gift for your favorite baker, or maybe for your own bookshelf, there’s a great selection of baking cookbooks looking for an eager home. Some of my favorites from this year are listed in the sidebars to the right of this post, but let’s take a look at some of the latest releases – there’s truly something for every taste. May you all never run out of bookshelf space!

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