Saturday, June 25, 2011

Burning Chocolate

I put together the dough for the coffee snowflakes last night and promptly ran into trouble: mysteriously, when I put the butter in the microwave to soften it, it liquefied in no time flat. I ended up pouring it off the turn-table from the microwave. I knew I had lost some, so I guesstimated at a tablespoon.
I put a single tablespoon of butter in the microwave. For the same amount of time as two entire sticks. By the end of that, it was barely softened. What?
Anyhow, I refrigerated it overnight ... then had to take it out. Warning, this dough goes from firm to rock hard very easily. I went shopping for the rest of my ingredients, came back, then had to put the dough back in the fridge for a short while because it had gotten too soft. It's very easy to roll, though I either used too large of a cookie cutter or I made them too thick. Four dozen? Try thirty-something.
I started the other portions of my meal while these were in the oven and didn't finish them until after dinner. However, more mysterious microwaving malarky ensued: instead of melting as advertised, the chocolate went from melt-ish to blackened and burnt, burning me in the process. Not sure whether I just didn't happen to have the right size bowl or if the difference between half a cup and 3/4ths of a cup (I used 3/4ths of a cup of semi-sweet instead of 1/2 white, 1/2 semi) was enough to completely invalidate the meltability ... but I had to toss it, burning myself in the process.
I melted a second batch, but didn't get it to the drizzle stage. At this point, I was paranoid about wasting more chocolate, so I decided to spread it on the cookies instead.
Final verdict (cookies): Aaaaaah ... so incredibly good. They're buttery, shortbready, pleasantly bitter, sweet ... it took an act of willpower not to eat the whole batch tonight.
I started the soup while the cookies baked. As usual, I turned totally lazy when it came to the onion: I gave it an (extremely) rough chop and threw it into the Oscar to break it down. I had some concerns that the dutch oven I had chosen was too large, but seeing as it was the only one I owned, I went with it. I was very surprised how thick the stew was, so I added an extra half cup of water.
The cornbread mix looked as if it didn't hold together, spreading into an amorphous sea of orangey-yellow goo, but after I took the stew out of the oven, I discovered that it had baked into distinct, biscuit-esque masses.
While it was baking, I fried the plantain chips. I think these are meant to be cut a bit more finely, as they didn't crisp and there wasn't quite enough oil to fully cover them. Not much to say here, as it was a swift process: cut, drop into the pan, remove, wait for them to dry, and then sprinkle with the chili sugar, which was surprisingly tasty for such an easy step.
Final verdict (stew): I really enjoyed this - it's flavorful, chewy and easy as pie. And it really is more of a pie - all right, a casserole - than a stew: hardly any liquid. I ate it with a fork. I might try adding more water next time, or perhaps vegetable stock ... or even a low-fat mexican soup. (As it is a low-fat recipe.)
Final verdict (plantain chips): I just like the taste of plantains, so these were good for me. Again, I want to try them thinner for the future, but this turned out to be a good recipe for a basic process, and (as previously mentioned) the chili sugar definitely adds tastiness.

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