Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone. As the year ends we all tend to reflect on all we have done and would like to do in the coming year. Of course, my 'to do list' always centers around food.

In 2011, I have continued my canning adventures, which advanced to chutneys. I dived into the world of beer. And, played with sugar. All have been fun and challenging.

Next year, I plan to brew more beer, can other fruits and veggies, and have more fun with sugar. Any new adventures will come to me when the spark hits me. That is the best part about being a chef.

I wish everyone a year of good food and cooking. So, before the year ends I plan to make challah for the first time. The adventure continues.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Playing with Sugar

A few days ago the weather was dark, rainy and gloomy. And, I needed a diversion quickly. I didn't want to play outside, so I decided to play inside. My playmate was sugar. I recently pick up a sugar cookbook and wanted to try a few techniques out. First game, cotton candy.

Homemade cotton candy is very different from carnival cotton candy. It is much harder. It has a certain crunch to it. The whole process is part of the hard-crack sugar stage, which is used in many desserts.

It took about 25 minutes to get the sugar mixture up to 320 degrees (hard-crack stage). I quickly worked with the sugar and began to whisk to back and forth on to parchment paper creating strands of spun sugar. After I rolled the spun sugar into balls. The whole process is done quickly because the sugar hardens fast.

Personally, I did not care for the taste of homemade cotton candy. I did learn a lot and now I am ready to make my first croquembouche. Plus, I forgot about the weather for awhile.

December 7th is National Cotton Candy Day