Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chocolate Festival

Today is the 2nd day of the Chocolate Festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Local vendors were able to set up and let the community know about their businesses. It was great to be able to find out about all these great places.
These are some pics I took walking around the different kiosks that were set up at the festival. The chocolate is plentiful and varied. I found some French macarons in different flavors and truffles galore. The obligatory chocolate fountain with bananas, strawberries and marshmallows to cover. There are also some freshly fried mini doughnuts to dip! There is a wonderful kiosk filled with all kinds of fragrant and colorful spices and teas. I got some fenugreek, zatar and sumac. I can't find these anywhere and this is an extremely pleasant surprise. One place has these Hungarian "horns", these are very thin cinnamon rolls. These were very good and not overly sweet. There was a French bakery from West Palm with fantastic baked goods and the chef was nice enough to give me some tips and information about baking up good croissants! Can't wait to implement his tips! There are tables set up where you can learn how chocolate becomes the chocolate we know and love! There is the added bonus of the gorgeous gardens and the wonderful pictures you can take of the flowers.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Croissants and Viennoiserie

I have completed my first attempt at laminated dough and croissants. This attempt yielded a superb product. The croissants are flakey, light and buttery. The crispy exterior yields to a soft, buttery, yet light and feathery interior. The best moment was walking into the kitchen and smelling croissants. Weird as that sounds they actually smelled like croissants. My sister, M, walked into the kitchen and yelled, "Tania it smells like croissants in here." I walked into the kitchen and was floored by the delicate, buttery and uniquely pleasant aroma. It is a smell you don't forget. Interestingly the ingredients are quite plain and mundane, flour, sugar, salt, yeast and water or milk, after those are mixed and rolled out, you pound out 4 bars of butter and layer that on to the dough. Then just roll and fold at least, 4 times with a 1 hour rest and chilling period in between. Then they are shaped and proofed until puffed. Then just bake for approximately 16 mins. That is the part that freaks me out. All those hours of work (at least 8 but more than likely about 20, for just 16 mins, in the oven. Heavenly! I made about 5 plain, 3 filled with cherry preserves with either almond paste or cheese, 4 with extra-dark bittersweet chocolate, and 2 with cinnamon raisin and 1 with cinnamon raisin and cream cheese. I guess this is goodbye because I would need very cold, dry weather again. *sniff* *sniff* If I do make them again I better get them done by this weekend! hm? Some danishes, perhaps, the dough is VERY similar.

Enjoy the music of Yael Naim, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Tom Waits.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Loaded Cookies

My sis M baked some loaded cookies! Choc chip, cranberry, coconut, oatmeal cookies. Very delicious! Some bacon wrapped dates also made it to the table but the only pic is when they were raw. Those are delicious because the smokey bacon flavor is very pronounced and then you get hit with a soft sweet center, some were filled with a mixture of goat, gorgonzola and cream cheese. I must say, the cheese sort of gets lost but the sweet, creamy center is a nice complement to the bacon-y exterior. My next entry is my foray into the world of laminated dough and it is a video. I am editing so I may not post till tomorrow. Stay tuned!