8.14.2007

TIPS AND STUFF

What is it?
Hollandaise Sauce: You make this sauce with butter, egg yolks and lemon juice, usually in a double-boiler to prevent overheating that can result inthe breaking of your sauce. This is a really yummy smooth but quite rich sauce. You can use it on all kinds of stuff like veggies at dinner or on eggs like in the fancy brunch dish eggs benedict. Be careful when making this sauce though, It’s a delicate sauce that needs attention until serving-being too hot or cold can break it. What I mean by breaking is that the sauce elements start to separate from each other and can become a curdled looking sauce with the oily butter. Just try to keep whisking as much as possible and keep the teperature steady until you have to serve.
Aioli: You say it like (ay-OH-lee) It’s a strongly flavored garlic mayo-like suace that comes from France. The ingredients usually include eggs, oil and garlic or some strong flavoring. Usually made for fish or on top of veggies BUT, I have had a meatloaf sandwich at Joan's on Third that make NIIICE sweet chili aioli sauce. It's so good!

Ganache: A really rich chocolate-type of icing or filling. You will find variations of ganache recipe. It's usually made withcchocolate heavy cream(or wipping cream) that are heated and stirred together until the chocolate has melted. The mixture is cooled until lukewarm and can be used in many different ways. You may find it poured over a cake or torte perhaps.

Ganache soufflé: is made from reg ganach but, often includes a tablespoon or so of rum or cognac. When cooled to room temperature, the mixture is whipped to approximately twice its original volume and is mostly used for fillings.

The Cheaper Double Boiler
You don’t have to buy a fancy-fancy double boiler for $200.00.
This works just as good.
In a small saucepan simmer a ½ a cup of water under a low-medium flame with a bigger size bowl overtop. You want to make sure that the bowl setting overtop your pot is as snug as possible and that the simmering water does not touch the bottom of your bowl. I also reccoment using a glassbowl as it does not conduct heat as easily as a steel bowl and lends the gentle heat you need. Then, you are ready to put your chocolate or whatever in the bowl. Double boilers are used to warm or cook heat-sensitive food like custards, delicate sauces and chocolate.

Homemade Whipping Cream: Put your bowl and beating whisk utensils in the freezer for a minimum of 15 minutes or more before making the whipped cream. You want everything as cool as possible for the process to go faster. Pour the whipping cream in your bowl and whip away until you have sofy peaks. Then add your vanilla or favoring. Continue to whip to Stiff peaks. I like adding vanilla bean paste so you can see the vanilla specks in your cream. Becareful not to overwhip the cream as it will taste too fatty. Over-whipping cream can result in butter. Also remember that the whipping cream when whipped will pretty much double in volume.

Soft Peaks Vs. Stiff Peaks for whipping cream and Meringue: Soft peaks are when you lift up your whisk and it forms a peak but does not keep the shape. Stiff peaks are when the peaks keep their shape and stay in place completely.

Cupcake cave-in Prevention: Caving can sometimes have to do with the extreme exposure to hot and cold. In hot over then taken out and cold sitting on the counter. After the cupcake or cake is done, turn off the oven and leave them in the oven for approximately 5-10 minutes -this should help prevent cave-ins and cake-shrinks while the cakes adjusts to lower temps and cools slowly. Just make sure you don't burn them. Sometimes your falling has to do with your oven being too hot. And try not to ever open the oven door to check on anything baking until it's at least 75% past it's baking time. If you do it's disturbs the temps and could shake the cake causing it to fall.

Cake Mixing: Try not to over mix the cake batter, it causes tough cake. Unless the recipe tells you otherwise.
Spices:
If you have a Cost Plus near you I would reccomond seeing what's on their spice rack. I always find good spices for really cheap. For example vanilla beans can be $20 or more for just 4 sprigs. At Cost Plus I can get 4 sprigs of vanilla bean for $5. Or Dill for $1.99. IT'S AWESOME!
Not to mention that they have all kinds of neat culinary stuff to check out at Cost Plus.

Testing ..One..Two...Three:
I think it's smart when making cupcakes, or rather anything..., to just put a couple in to bake and make sure they will turn out how you want. If not, you can alter your recipe and not waste the whole batch.

Room Temperature?: You should probably always use room temperature ingredients unless your recipe tell you otherwise. It just gives you a better result when all the ingredients are at the same temperature. I know it’s a pain sometimes but, if you can….. do it. If not….don’t worry-it won’t be a total disaster. It's ok to leave your covered ingredients on the counter overnight. Or if it's a last minute thing. Grate your butter and place your cracked eggs in a small bowl that is then set in a bigger bowl of warm water.


Salted Butter Vs. Unsalted Butter:
Have you ever wondered why a recipe calls for unsalted butter rather than salted butter or vise versa? Well, part of the reason is that salted butter can vary in how much salt is actually in it depending on the manufacturing of the butter. So, for conrol-freaks :) who want to control the amount of salt going into a recipe, they use unsalted butter and add their salt if needed.

Freezing cookie dough for that last minute guest who invites them over for a spot of tea: Next time you feel inspiration to bake cookies, freeze your extra dough. Or even whip up a double batch to guarentee extra batter for freezing. Make your dough and bake what you want as usual. Then line a cutting board or baking sheet THAT FITS IN YOUR FREEZER with parchment paper/plastic wrap, tin-foil. Using a batter scooper or spoon, scoop cookie drops onto parchment paper and freez for at least 2-4 hours. Then remove your frozen cookied batter drops into a baggie and store in the freezer up to a month or so. Then when you have people coming over at the last minute all you need to do is preheat the oven and bake your cookie dough drops.Viola.

(THAT'S ALL  FOR NOW) :)

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