December 13, 2004

bah, humbug

I am just not cut out for baking and candymaking. I tried to make the cranberry-pear jellies from the November Gourmet, and I followed the instructions EXACTLY and today I find they will stay only vaguely cubeshaped and have an alarming tendency to puddle and smush when you pick them up. To make up for this lack in a gift-package to dear friends tonight, I decided to whip up a batch of my great-uncle's fabulous butter crunch, consisting only of butter & sugar cooked to hard crack & cooled. This of course curdled just as it was starting to color, and though my mother's suggestion to whisk it actually did manage to recombine it, the damned thing had already overcooked, so now I have rather burnt-tasting crunch, also unfit for gift-giving, and possibly unfit even for surreptitious guilty comfort eating later in the privacy of my own darkened kitchen. All this on top of the parade of slumped-over horrid-looking birthday cakes over the past year. BAH.

At least the cheese scones came out okay, even if the cheese did end up mostly on the outside of the scones in crunchy puddles rather than inside. And I managed not to screw up chocolate dipped pretzels too badly, once I figured out that the colored sugar looks better if you let the chocolate cool almost all the way before dipping into the sugar. However, for my money, it's the ones sprinkled with fleur de sel that taste best. My taste for salt is clearly a sign that I should leave the confections to the competent, like spleen & hedge. Sigh.

(Update: Second replacement batch of butter crunch also curdled, and would not be reconstituted by any amount of whisking, but at least I didn't burn it and I was able to salvage it by pouring off the excess butter, then covering its textural deficiencies with chopped nuts & pushing it into the pan by hand. I give up, I swear. Sigh.)

Posted by foodnerd at December 13, 2004 05:52 PM
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