Friday, December 08, 2006

Day 1 of BPT – We’re Making “Brownies” (wink wink)

Oh… I guess we really are making brownies. Tonight was our first night of baking. Let me just say this kitchen lab we’re in is going to smell really really good for the next few weeks.

First up was tasting a lot of different chocolates and learning how it’s produced, various by-products and amount of butter and cocoa contained therein. There were the nibs which are the purest essence of chocolate. They are the cocoa bean without it’s shell. They are not sweet and they are very crunchy. I’m thinking salad topping but not sure what kind of salad. There were several types of bitter chocolate and bitter sweet chocolate which were good. One had a very tangy taste at the end. Another was very earthy flavored.

It is safe to say that chocolates can be like wines. Many varieties, some rare and all an acquired taste.

Side Note – I don’t like chocolate as much as I used to. They say our tastes change about every 7 years but I didn’t think I’d lose my taste for chocolate. I can eat a few bites and I’m good for a long while. I don’t even eat candy much anymore. I looked in my desk drawer and sure enough there was a bag of candy from last Christmas still in there. A few years ago that would haven’t lasted a day let alone a year!

Tonight we made 3 dishes as a team and 1 dish individual. The 3 team dishes were brownies, white chocolate ganache and dark chocolate ganache. The individual dish was vanilla cream. The brownies came out very good. But I must be honest in that I do prefer the box mix you get from the store. I have tasted these brownies when I was in PCA I and II and BPT brought some over to share and I tasted ours. To me the sugar never quite dissolves and they’re grainy to me. I may have to experiment with this recipe later.

Hahaha I just re-read the sentence. Listen to me…all gun shy about baking and already I want to experiment with a baking recipe. I love this class!

Now for the ganache. Ok ganache is chocolate, be it white, milk or dark that is melted with cream and other flavorings like liqueurs etc. This is then chilled and you use about ½ teaspoon of it and roll it into a ball. Then you coat it with something. The heat from you hands as you roll it (briefly) will allow the toppings to stick. For the dark chocolate we used dark cocoa powder. But for the white we got a little creative. Our group chose toasted macadamia nuts and toasted almonds. But for our third (everyone else did 2) we took some coconut and mixed it with Grand Marnier (distilled essence of oranges) and orange zest. Then we toasted it. Oh my but this was so good!! No I don’t think you get the gist of what I’m saying..this was really, really good. I’m very proud of this. Eddie had the idea for a flavored coconut instead of just plain. That triggered my brain into the additives. The rest is ganache history (smile). I don’t have pictures to post because we haven’t presented yet. We’re making them and holding them over till day 13 when we do a big presentation. I’ll be sure to get pictures then.

The vanilla cream was a new experience for me. My idea of vanilla cream is the cook and serve vanilla pudding. Ha! This class is going to cause me to go out and spend a lot of money I can tell. I want to go out and buy a lot of equipment as well as quality ingredients.

We got our grades back from the week prior as well as our finals.

I was stunned. Shocked actually, at my end results. Chef looks at me and says “I must congratulate you..” and proceeds to shake my hand “You got the highest grade in the class. As a matter of fact you’re my highest grade student yet.” You could have knocked me over with a feather. My final written was 106%, that combined with my practical’s and product ID made my overall grade a 98.86%. I think I drove home with a grin on my face the entire way. My goal now is to maintain the momentum which will prove to be a real challenge but I look forward to it.

Tomorrow we’re making a flourless chocolate cake, butter cake which will be frozen till cake decorating day and I believe our Boston cream pie.

Until Tomorrow!...


At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Denise!!! That is just wonderful! I managed straight 100% until our last class which was Nutrition, which was the only class I absoultely detested. I never did go back and see how far down she dragged my 100% - didn't think (still don't) I could take it. :)

Salad with nibs - we played with that one time and it's great.

Wonderful greens with the addition of lots of goodies:
dried cherries
lemon zest
pecans or pistachios
of course raspberries

so many goodies!! Have fun.
(I probably should have written all this in an email... )


Post a Comment

<< Home