I haven't done a food post in a while (and the horror movie themed titles are getting trickier), but I'm still procrastinating about running, so it's time. [This week in running: 5, 5, funeral, surgery, funeral, 0.01 (re-injured knee)]
I've been trying to perfect some of my confectionery, but this has been the most humid summer in history and I haven't been able to do much except plan. I've discovered a few things.
People love the flavor of vanilla, but they will never order it. Give them a mediocre chocolate, then a spectacular vanilla candy and they will rave about the second one... and then eat another chocolate. You have to call it something else; people love cookie dough ice cream, but what flavor is the ice cream???
The average person has a completely different palate for vanilla than a gourmand. Chefs will rhapsodize about vanilla beans and how the flavor cannot be matched, but most people prefer extract; moreover, most people prefer artificial (vanillin) flavoring. Double strength vanilla extract turns out to be different from concentrated single strength, as some compounds, such as vanillin and bourbonal, are more soluble than the minor flavor constituents and thus it is closer to artificial in flavor than single strength.
I struggled to make true Turkish Delight. 99% of the available recipes use gelatin, which changes the consistency; it's supposed to be gooey inside, but gelatin firms it. The other available recipes simply don't work - there seems to be a conspiracy among those who make it to keep it secret. They needn't bother. It doesn't keep for more than a day or two and one ends up throwing away most of it. There's a reason no one's selling Turkish Delight in shops.
This has to have another name...
I haven't mastered this Indian specialty. Or maybe I have and don't like it; I haven't had any made by someone who knows what they're doing, so I'm not sure how it's supposed to be.
This week's thought
Julie Berg tried to make sponge candy like the kind made at Canelake's in her hometown. I'd forgotten about this candy and had never tried making it. It's aerated by baking soda, which distinguishes it from other candies. The quintessential aerated candy is marshmallow, but it's not very interesting until it's toasted; baking soda enhances maillard browning, which is the toasting reaction of proteins and sugars, so maybe I could make a premade toasted marshmallow!
This type of candy absorbs moisture from the air quickly, so it's usually dipped in chocolate, which would cover the toasted flavor, so I tried to think of other coatings. Airy and toasted... I came up with Rice Krispies. Marshmallow-like and with that coating... I'm remaking Rice Krispie bars!
Could one make sponge candy with Rice Krispies incorporated in it, so that one doesn't have the melted sticky goo of marshmallow, but a light fluffy toasted confection?
Time to reopen the kitchen.
Fisher's Big Wheel
1 week ago