Thursday, January 26, 2012

Case Study 106: "The Salted Caramel Touch"

"Lady, i will touch you with my mind.
Touch you and touch and touch
until you give
me suddenly a smile,shyly obscene

(lady i will
touch you with my mind.)Touch
you,that is all,

lightly and you utterly will become
with infinite care

the poem which i do not write.”
― E.E. Cummings

Valentines Day is less than three weeks away.  

This year, I suggest we do away with all the fluff: the lace heart-toting stuffed animals, the drug store box of chocolates and those baby's breath stifled long stem roses.   Let's do away with the expectations.

You see, to me, what is most sensual is that which evokes the greatest of senses, and clearly I choose the runner-up to the obvious "touch": taste.  

Vanilla bean cupcakes topped with caramel buttercream, drizzled, slowly, with warm caramel and sprinkled with Maldon salt, chilled in the fridge, and ready for indulgence in any manner you prefer.

A little bit salty and a little bit sweet. Just like all the greatest love affairs always are. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Case Study 105: "The Winter Pecan Pie"

 By this point, it should be of no new surprise to you 
that I really really love whiskey...

...and that I love to bake with it. Specifically, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Even more specifically, Maker's Mark, which is my go-to in the kitchen. And if we're being honest here, nothing pairs better with this good old spirit than pecans. So in an effort to update my standard combination on a snowy winter's evening, I decided I might improve my recipe and go all in.

So I chopped some pecans, and tossed them over the stove with brown sugar, corn starch, egg yolks, bourbon whiskey, sea salt, vanilla and butter. A little stirring and reducing later, I had a damn good pecan pie filling, and it was like Thanksgiving in my kitchen all over again.

Except it's January, so I had to hide the goods.

Brown sugar cupcakes with a bourbon pecan filling topped with a whiskey vanilla bean buttercream. The cake is light and fluffy against the sweet and nutty filling. And that buttercream? It finishes with a boozy kick in the pants every damn time. 

Bake these suckers up and combine them with straight up Manhattans, your lov-ah and a good dose of the bluesy jazz.  What you'll get is romance, shaken or stirred, on a cold winter's night.