This morning, after Blogger ate my entry for the third time, I remembered why I wasn't using it anymore. Welcome to Vox.
And so, dear readers, my Quarter-century has come and gone. That's right! I'm now officially 25 (which is convenient, since that is the age I have been claiming for the past 6 months). Sometime back in February, when I decided that I was tired of being 24, I realized that this birthday would be my last "big one" for a few years. I know, I know… everyone thinks that 21 is the last big birthday before 30. If you think about it though, you only get one thing at 21: the ability to purchase and consume alcohol without borrowing your sisters ID. Not that I would know. But 25… car insurance rates go down, you no longer have to pay extra fees at the rental car counter, and for all intents and purposes you are a fully functional *gulp* adult. And you know that's true because you get excited about things like car insurance and getting to bed before 10 pm. Time for true confessions: I also decided during those long, dark days of winter, that it was time for a few extra resolutions. Chief among which was the creation of this blog, but it goes deeper.
My friends– I, Amanda of Like a Fat Kid Loves, am a Daring Baker.
A what, you might ask yourself? Aren't all bakers daring? To which I say: Oh, no no no. Only those who live by the seat of their culinary pants can truly claim to be Daring Bakers. You also need to visit their website and sign up. While I can't say too much, I can say that each month the Daring Bakers are presented with a challenge, which they must complete within a certain time frame and post on their blog.
Rejoice, for today is that day. I present to you, beloved readers of LAFKL, my first challenge as a Daring Baker. Of course, if you happened to be at my birthday party last weekend, you got to consume the deliciousness that is about to follow… thanks for keeping mum. ^_~
The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alasa or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.
What is browned butter, you ask? I'm so glad you did– browned butter is the darker, nuttier, more sensual cousin of unsalted butter, and it is something that you must consume at least once in your lifetime.
Put it on your bucket list.
To make browned butter, you put unsalted butter in a skillet and you heat it.
Seriously. That's it.
You can really start to see the change between the second and third pictures, and if you're making it you can smell the change, too. The scent changes from that sweet cream buttery smell to a really rich, nutty, almost caramel. Oh, sooo good.
Two things about browning butter. One, once you begin the process do not leave the butter unattended! It's way too easy to go from browned to burnt and then you have to start over. Two, don't strain out all the delicious little bits of butter that you see at the bottom of the cup. That's where all the flavor is! You can find some great tips on browned butter here.
Now, since it was mah birfday, I decided to make the ice cream petit fours. Those little cakes are so festive, no?
Those of you not too busy drooling to pay attention may have noticed that I have pictured above WAY more than 19 tablespoons of butter. I made two cakes. 🙂 Here are the ingredients for one pound cake:
19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
And here's what it looked like:
I also, as part of the challenge, was asked to make my own ice cream, any flavor. I chose chocolate, of course (like there was any contest), and I actually made the ice cream base a day ahead of time, so that the flavors could mingle overnight and really get to know one another. I'm going to save my post about my ice cream recipe for another day, but I'm going to share my secret to perfect chocolate ice cream here, with the world, right now:
That's right, vanilla AND coffee extracts. Apparently the flavor of coffee punches up the inherent mouth-wateringness of chocolate. The first time I heard that little tidbit was from the Barefoot Contessa, and it has never failed me. Remember: Chocolate+Coffee=DELICIOUS.
So fast forward a day, and this is how I put together the petit fours: You take the cooled pound cake, level and layer it, and then flip out ice cream which you have prepared ahead of time onto one of the layers thusly:
Then, you freeze it overnight, trim the edges, and slice it into petit fours:
I say that like it was easy… it wasn't, particularly. Make sure you use a good, sharp knife!
Now, here is where I wish I could say that I put the petit fours back in the freezer for awhile. Alas, I did not… and that came back to haunt me later…
Instead, I made the ganache– a delicious mixture of cream, dark chocolate, vanilla, and (yes) coffee extract– and proceeded to glaze my petit fours.
Just… yum. I was so excited about these!! And if you're wondering what I did with the second pound cake, I direct your attention to the last photograph– I filled that one with raspberry jam 🙂
Anyway, I returned the petit fours to the freezer, and walked away for about 30 minutes. When I came back, I expected them to be beautifully set up and ready for consumption.
What I got was this:
I had to laugh, because I knew right away what I had done wrong. In my eagerness to glaze and consume (can you blame me??) I had forgotten that the ice cream center would most surely soften while I was cutting the petit fours and preparing the glaze.
I'll tell you a little secret about these petit fours, though: no one cares what they look like. My friends devoured more than half at my birthday party, and my family polished off the rest. They are that good.
If you want to revisit older entries from Like a Fat Kid Loves… visit http://www.fatkidloves.blogspot.com