Saturday, December 6, 2014

Beautiful Baking

On Thursday I thought I would make this edible Christmas craft.  It looked so easy.

I tried following the directions, honestly.   Basically this: Lay out the candy canes on a tray. Melt chocolate and put it inside a piping bag or a heavy-duty plastic bag with the corner cut off. Then squeeze the chocolate into the center of the heart shape.

This should have been the clue for me that I should not attempt this:  I do not have a piping bag. 

I melted a few dark chocolate Hershey’s kisses in the microwave, on “very low”.  I had to check it several times because I didn’t want to overcook the chocolate.  After this laborious effort, I put the gloppy chocolate into the plastic bag, and cut the corner off. 

It was very messy getting the chocolate into the candy cane hearts, which kept moving around, but I managed to make two of them.  Then there was a lot of chocolate left inside the bag, but not enough to squeeze out. 

Such a waste of chocolate!  I decided to try making the whole thing in the microwave.  So I set up the candy canes in a heart shape on a plate, then chopped up two chocolate kisses.  I was tired of tending the microwave, so I set it for 2 minutes and went away to do something else on my list.  I ended up with the very likeness of molten lava taking over an innocent Hawaiian town:

Sometimes I should leave the baking to professionals.  Today this is what we found at LaGourmandine, in Lawrenceville, a neighborhood of Pittsburgh:

It’s a Buchette de Noel!  A miniature Buche de Noel (Yule log).  I think it is so cute and lovely!

These pastries are so beautiful, they deserve to appear twice.
Clafoutis on the left; Marquise in the front
Also appearing:
(Dark chocolate mousse with crème brûlée and crispy caramel)

Another traditional French Pastry from the Limousin region.
Dessert made of cherries covered with a Flan-like batter.

And here is my To Do List for Friday.  
You can click to embiggen, but trust me, it's a boring list.
Also, it is incomplete.
Such things as “make chocolate candy cane hearts” and “write blog posts” do not appear on the list.  I am continually wracked with guilt that my list never includes “Procure justice for everyone” or "bring about equity in school funding."  I must confess that I seem to be utterly exhausted lately, which I attribute to this season of  “The Hap-Hap-Happiest Time of the Year When Everyone Should be Hibernating But Instead Has Assigned Themselves A To Do List Ten Miles Long.”  

But today I threw the list aside, and the three of us went to Lawrenceville in the rain, to do some Christmas shopping, and to go to the bakery which Youngest Daughter first encountered on a school field trip and has been raving about ever since.  It was a good day, largely because I did not turn anything into lava.


Cassi said...

Those hearts are really pretty, but the memory of your lava flow is probably better in the long run :-)

When I first started making chocolates for Emma (because of her peanut allergy) I bought some tools, one of which is a smallish plastic funnel that you open and close. This works really well for pouring melted chocolate into shaped molds. Also, just in case you want to melt chocolate in the future, chips work better than something like kisses.

I've long wanted to try making a buche de Noel, but I'm sure it would turn out similar to your lava flow!

Angie said...

The first part of your post -- I would have done the exact same thing.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

"the very likeness of molten lava taking over an innocent Hawaiian town"
Thank you for saving me from this experience!
Now I want to visit your French bakery.

I'm catching up on blogs tonight when I should be going to bed early.

The Crislers said...

I love to bake, but candy? I just can't. All the exact temperatures and finicky chocolate melting techniques are too high maintenance for me.

I groaned out loud (GOL?) when I saw those pastries. An appreciative, longing groan, that is. You must tell us all exactly how they tasted so we can live vicariously through your taste buds.

Ginny Marie said...

Those candy cane hearts do look deceptively easy! I'm quite sure I don't have the patience to make them!

Patience_Crabstick said...

I literally laughed out loud when I saw the result of your attempt to make the hearts. I bet whoever made them for the professional photograph glued the candy canes to the tray.

Sarah said...

HAHA!! I made peppermint bark with the kids this weekend, and I got the bright idea to make it inside cookie cutters so the bark would have cute Christmas shapes because PINTEREST. And then the chocolate leaked out under the cookie cutters, and I realized that even melted, chocolate does not spread evenly, and, well… I didn't quite end up with a molten Hawaiian town, but it was close. I'm going to leave the crafting to the experts.

Anonymous said...

That looks EXACTLY like what would happen if I tried to make that same recipe!!! Ah well, you tried.
The buche is gorgeous.

slow panic said...

I don't have a piping bag either and every single time I try to do that thing with the zip lock bag and the cut off corner it is a disaster.

Still, I find myself wanting, needing dying to make those recipes.

why? why? WHY????

the bakery looks amazing and a day to shop even more so.