Sunday, September 13, 2009

She drowned the candy thermometer in caramel

Lately I've been obsessed with cakes - I mean tortes.

I've been baking tortes since I was 14, but only last week did I learn the definition of torte : a cake that uses ground nuts instead of flour.

OK, there's more to the definition than that, but my cakes - I means tortes - never had flour in them. Lots of nuts and eggs and butter and sugar, but no flour. But I digress...

I've been obsessed with tortes the last few weeks, ever since I began trying out new recipes with the hopes that the girls can make a small business out of baking tortes. So I've been outdoing myself brainstorming, researching, and trying out new recipes. Hazelnut Dacquoise. Chocolate Truffle Torte. Mocha. How would Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle Torte sell? Would an almond buttercream taste good in a hazelnut torte, or should I put in a layer of chocolate? What if I put crushed hazelnuts in one layer of the praline buttercream? I have to hold myself back from going to the kitchen to make yet another torte when my refrigerator is already filled with sweets - or when I have homeschool plans to make or homework to grade.

Until I perfect the recipes I want to feature, I haven't involved the girls in the testing, so they've been doing some testing of their own. They love to bake just as much as I do, and I never know when suddenly they'll spread out cookie tins and mix concoctions of oatmeal and brown sugar, or, more recently, caramel chocolate bars with nuts. Mmmmmm!

But alas, accidents do happen, and when I walked into the kitchen last week, I found my digital candy thermometer, which you need for making caramel, a little... um... sticky. All the words had disappeared from the buttons, and the label was curled back.

It was an expensive batch of caramel chocolate bars, but you know, they were worth it. I just love when the girls cook and bake because they want to, not because I ask them to.

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What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)