Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Whatchmacallit? Fuggedaboutit!

My best baker gift this Christmas was the Bouchon Bakery cookbook.  You know... Thomas Keller, French Laundry, Bouchon Bakery?  Right.  Swoon.

Seriously.  This book is food porn.  The recipes are intense.  The photos are mesmerizing.  I'm going to have to make croissants from scratch now.  And maracons.  Soon.

This weekend, I wanted to give one of the recipes a whirl, but I did not want to go to the store.  I was seduced by Keller's riff on the rice krispies treat.  We all know how I feel about rice krispies treats.  Well, Keller adds a layer of caramel and then covers them in chocolate.  Whoa.

Wait.  That sounds sort of like... Those could almost be... That's right.  I speak of the Whatchamacallit, one of my favorite candy bars of all time.  All that's missing is a little peanut butter.  I wonder...

Oh yes, I did.  Oh yes, they were.  Oh, you know you want to.  Here's how:

Crispy Bit
2 T butter
4 cups marshmallows
4 cups rice cereal
1/2 cup peanut butter

Caramel (almost identical to Keller's Caramel Jam)
1/2 cup plus 1 T sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 T butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. salt (fleur de sel if you have it)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

8 oz milk chocolate, melted
  1. Melt butter, marshmallows, and peanut butter over low heat until melted.  Stir in cereal.  Press into 8x8 pan sprayed with non-stick spray.
  2. Spread half of the chocolate over the cereal treats.  Place in refrigerator to set.
  3. Meanwhile, cook sugar and corn syrup over medium heat until melted an bubbling.  Swirl pot, but don't stir.  When sugar is a dark caramel color (with the faintest wisps of smoke), remove from heat and add butter, salt, cream, and vanilla.  Return to heat and stir until smooth.  Set aside to cool.
  4. Remove cereal treats from fridge and invert onto a piece of parchment paper.  Flip over and return to pan, chocolate side down and with the parchment paper.
  5. Pour caramel sauce over top of cereal treats.  Place in refrigerator until just starting to set.  Carefully spread remaining chocolate over the top.  Return to fridge until completely set. 
  6. Cut into 1x2-inch pieces.  Store at cool room temperature or in the fridge.

I know these sound complicated, but they're really quite easy.  You don't even have to turn on the oven!  The intensity of the homemade caramel really puts them over the top.  I promise they're worth it.

Keep it sweet.

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Reflective Baker

Happiest of new years to you, dear readers.  I shall address you as though you still exist.  Well, of course you exist.  Whether you still follow, subscribe to, or stumble upon The Literate Baker on occasion is another question entirely.  I'm an optimistic person, though, so choose to believe I'm not solely writing for myself.

I hope the last few months have been good to you.  Mine were marked by good food and good friends, some career soul searching, and lots and lots of writing (courtesy of a graduate writing course with the legendary Minnie Bruce Pratt).  All in all, I find myself happy and ready to embrace whatever 2013 tosses my way.

Although I'm avoiding resolutions specifically, I am attempting a renewed commitment to writing.  Naturally, that includes this blog.  What I'm still wondering, however, is the form that will take.  I'd given myself some rules with regard to this blog.  Silly, I know, but I wanted to be a professional.  I wanted to have a baking blog, not a personal reflection outlet.

Then, of course, I considered whether I should have multiple blogs.  And then I took a writing class where the point (for me at least) was to find ways of integrating my many, seemingly contradictory, selves.  Right.  Well then.

All I know for sure is that I want--no, need--to write more.  So here I am.  What that means and where we shall go remains to be seen.   I do hope you'll stick around.  I'll do my best to make it worth your while and...

Keep it sweet.

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