Three Sweets

I ran into two dear friends at the co-op.  Had a nice chat, finished shopping and then pulled into a checkout line just behind them.  The items I placed on the belt included Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Eats World cookbook.  Not quite as embarrassing as buying a Playboy while chatting with your minister, but nearly so, as my friend is a regular reader of my blog.  She admitted to seeing the cookbook and wouldn’t have said anything, but when I brought it up, she laughed and offered that a cookbook addiction isn’t such a bad thing.  She’s right, but it is still embarrassing to get caught in the act.

At least I use them.  From Vegan Eats World, I’ve already whipped up a batch of kimchi pancakes.  Incredible!  I’ve only had kimchi pancakes once before (when my friend’s wife made us a batch–I know…not generally the right way to reference someone, but she has since asked him for a divorce and broken his heart so the reference seems ok), so without this cookbook I may never have thought to use part of our kimchi stockpile in this way.  We have so much.  Still eating the 2011 supply.  Before this we’ve only used kimchi as a condiment, a quarter of a cup at a sitting.  The pancakes use up a pint in one go!  Between the pancakes and another recipe (kimchi soup!), we’ll be tucking into the 2012 kimchi in no time.  Thanks for the inspiration, Terry Hope Romero!

More food?  Always!  I prepared three deserts from Chloe Coscarelli’s Chloe’s Kitchen to bring to a Super Bowl party.  First up… Buckeyes!  BE

Simple, but delicious, they are little more than peanut butter mixed with powdered sugar, formed into balls and dipped in melted chocolate.  I made two batches.  The peanut mixture for both was too dry.  To the first I added a little walnut oil and cayenne.  To the second, a little bourbon.  Worked well.SBCC

Second up was bars with shortbread foundations, topped with caramel, then capped with melted chocolate.  You can see the sugar in the caramel didn’t completely melt.  Having never made caramel, I was afraid to overheat the sugar and end up with hard candy.  Still tasted great.CC

Third, but not least, recreations of a childhood favorite.  I was happy to have a chance to use my pastry bag, and even happier that they came out well.  All three were very well received by the crowd despite the fact the crowd was not vegan and they knew we were.  Not bad for three new to me recipes.

Hey Lagusta… what’s up with melting chocolate?  I used a makeshift double boiler (glass bowl over hot water, water wasn’t touching the bowl, stove on low so water not boiling), but the chocolate still wanted to go from not melted to grainy in a flash.  Still tasted good and was rescued with the addition of a little hot milk and a lot of vigorous whisk use, but still.  Was it because the chocolate chips had a very high cacao content (I think low 70s)?  Does that mean less fat, and does less fat make the melting process more difficult?

Phew!  Time to make breakfast.  Be well!


10 responses to “Three Sweets

  1. Christina Abbott

    Hi Randy! If you don’t feed your cookbook obsession from time to time, then how will your dear reader and friend continue to be informed on these great dishes you make and be inspired to make my own? The first time you mentioned Veganomicon, I made Isa’s Sloppy Joe’s the next night! How will I also find out about things like kimchi pancakes and all your culinary adventures interspersed amongst your life adventures? Also, I really admire those mock hostess-type cupcakes you made. Nice! 🙂

  2. Way to go with the buckeyes! I grew up in Ohio, the Buckeye State, so these were a staple treat – everyone made them and loved them. They always turned out looking like lovely, glossy buckeyes, but guess what – the peanut butter was always the junk food kind that we now avoid, and the melted chocolate chips had, I kid you not, paraffin melted with them. The important things are shape and deliciousness. Other than that, make refined coconut oil a best friend. I bet it would work in the chocolate.

  3. I can personally vouch for the deliciousness of these yummy treats!!! My guy is a master!

  4. Hey! Just catching up with blogs now!

    What IS up with melting chocolate? It’s crazy hard, to tell the truth. A double boiler is really tricky, because even one drop of water (easy to get from the steam from the double boiler) will make the chocolate seize, as yours did. No matter if it does though, it’ll still taste nice, and, as you did, whisked in milk will help it stay smooth, too.

    Four ideas:
    1) Buy a tempering machine! Just kidding, but if you wanted to, you can get a cheap, good one for $300 or so.
    2) Buy an induction stove! It can melt choco for you on such a low, low low heat that it never gets out of temper. Ours goes from 1-80, and to melt chocolate we melt it on ONE! In a stainless steel bowl, not a pot. Gentle, gentle gentle.
    3) Melt it suuuuuuper gently on as low heat as you can get in the double boiler. The water should be barely whispering-warm. Looks like you did this though.
    4) And: seed it. To seed, slowly whisk in (or stir in—don’t stir too quickly, or it’ll seize) some very finely chopped chocolate (one with a good temper, say, a nice chocolate bar) at intervals as you melt your chocolate. This will teach your melted chocolate molecules how to align themselves properly.

    Yep, generally the higher cacao content chocolates do have generally less fat (really it completely depends though—the percentage only refers to sugar: you could have two 70% bars with wildly different amounts of cocoa butter and cacao liquor which would make them taste totally different.) so they can be trickier to melt and stay in temper.

    Phew! Hope some of that made sense!

    • Wow! Thanks for the gentle hand. I did get a few drops of water in the chocolate. I read somewhere that mattered, but didn’t believe a few drops could be a problem until now. When my kitchen guru says something, I believe. And seeding! Love the term and the process. I’ll keep at it with your tips.

      Before I read your comment this morning, I wrote a post called Small World in which I mention you and your wonderful cooking a couple of times. Then I see you comment. Cue spooky ghosty sounds.

      Thanks again for helping. Hope to see you soon.


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