Friday, August 26, 2011
The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!
This challenge kicked my culinary behind. Oh, I had grand plans...but I procrastinated them. Which is really asking to fail, since I don't work well under stress. But, I waited until the last minute...well, the last week. And, I paid for it. But, I learned quite a few lessons. And, hey, they look really nice on the plate. For once, I like the picture more than I like the food on it.
I will be the first to admit here, I didn't do the chocolate portion of this. I had such a stunning failure in the non-chocolate, I just gave up to fight another day. Tempering chocolate isn't something that I find difficult - but only because I have a chocolate tempering machine I bought quite a while ago on ebay. I don't use it often, but I know it turns out perfect chocolates.
My first grand scheme involved Aplets and Cotlets. For those of you that aren't from the Northwest, there is a company here that sells Aplets and Cotlets - mostly around Christmas Time. They are heavenly. Sort of like Turkish Delights (or locum), the ones I love have a little chew to them, and are stuffed with walnuts.
I thought I would try to modify the recipe given on the daring bakers site for fruit jellies into something similar - you can get the printout here. Well, my first mistake was forgetting to measure the apricot puree I used. It only got worse from there. I'm still convinced that recipe can be modified, and want to try it soon, but I did make other mistakes. I think Aplets are boiled for a lot longer, since my candy didn't jell quite as nicely as I had wanted. I can try that next time.
Still, those could have been edible if I hadn't made the second, fatal mistake. And, here's a lesson for all of you - be careful with the rosewater. I added a teaspoon, and it smelled like about a million roses exploded in my kitchen. As soon as the water hit and the smell filled the air, I knew I had made a mistake. Next time, a few drops will do.
The second candy I wanted to make was nougat. The finished product was pretty good, but I ended up modifying the recipe, and trying to adjust from a failure. I wanted to make pistachio nougat, and it was really good. I used this recipe from Emeril Lagasee. Now, I will admit, I made one mistake by putting the butter in too soon for the recipe. But, if any of you have made nougat - does it really call for 2 sticks of butter? Because I couldn't get all that butter incorporated.
The recipe called for whipping until the mixture holds its shape. But, I recommend, at a very minimum, whipping until its at least partly cool, or your butter will melt and fly all over the kitchen. Trust me. We are still cleaning up the nougat shrapnel. Once I finally got it re-incorporated from a separated mess coated in melted butter, the nougat is actually delicious, and I will make it again. Maybe the mistake was all mine, and incorporating the butter while the mixture is too hot is a mistake that is very difficult to overcome.
Anyway, even though I didn't have great results from this challenge, many of my fellow daring bakers blew my mind with their stunning tempered chocolates and creative chocolate fillings. Thank you again for allowing me to be part of this group, and I love all of your creations! Can't wait until next month!