While I’m writing, let me tell you about a little dessert I created this week. I fought this one the whole way because I could NOT make up my mind what I wanted the finished product to be and I’d been to the grocery once and had decided that I was NOT going back. I wanted strawberries, the ones at the store were mauve, not red. (I hate mauve) I wanted to do the strawberry, herb and spice combination that I saw a French guy do that was DIVINE, but there was no yum to be found in those berries, so I kept on going.
Meryl Streep as Julia!
I’ve been wanting to try this divine looking chocolate shortbread. (By Alex Guarnaschelli) The original idea was a chocolate version of gingerbread, since I have a low tolerance for gingerbread and I’ve already had my fill for the year. I baked a double batch and don’t even ask how much butter is in there, they have the most WONDERFUL texture. Crunchy but not hard at all, it’s melt in your mouth shortbread, not biscotti. I cut them into rounds with a cookie cutter after the pan came out of the oven. However, I did not have the sour cream or white chocolate for the dipping sauce, and I didn’t have cream of tarter to do something with egg whites, or the time to let a mousse set up, so that wasn’t going to happen. And I thought back to the old days, one of my favorite creamy fillings was whoopie pie filling, so I pulled out an old Mennonite cookbook and made this light and barely sweet cream, added some peppermint and voila! A light fluffy mint cream for the shortbread. The whole thing required a chocolate sauce so I whipped up ganache to drizzle and crumbled some shortbread cookie over the top. Someone had mentioned peppermint ice cream a while back and so I picked that up while I was out. Now the interesting thing about the ice cream is that it is sweet. The shortbread wasn’t very sweet, kind of like eating crunchy buttery dark chocolate, the whipped filling was just barely sweet… the cold sweet ice cream pretty much brought the whole thing together. Or was it the rich velvety ganache? That might have done it. Whatever it was, in my mouth it was wonderful. And guests seemed to enjoy it, and so that was fun. PLUS: LEFTOVERS at my house! (YUM PERK!)
(Plating in someone else's kitchen on their plates)
Sometimes I think cooking is just another art media, one that I really enjoy. And it’s all about the process! And it’s a nice perk if the food turns out to be delicious in the end. Maybe I’ll treat myself to a copy of Julia Child’s cookbook this Christmas and try something loaded with butter with a French name. That sounds lovely! Bon Appétit, and if you haven’t seen the move… do so at once!