Well, I really like to cook, so I guess I should post some recipes since Christmas is coming and all that. My problem is that I don’t really follow recipes and just make stuff up, but most of the food I make doesn’t need to be measured anyway.
Basically, the key to cooking without a recipe is knowing the specific function of each ingredient so that you can monitor how much you need. With a cake that’s pretty iffy, but these are great to get you started on the chill cooking path.
Tasty Peppermint Patties
Some butter (couple tablespoons…melted and cooled)
Veggie shortening (I know, it’s weird, but totally necessary. I used about 1/3 of a cup)
Chocolate melting wafers
(Optional) Dark chocolate
1. Beat the shortening and butter together until all combined and stuff. Should look pretty whippy. The shortening is a must because it stabilizes the filling and adds that perfect ‘artificial too good to be real’ smoothness that store bought stuff has. The butter is for flavour and is melted to keep the filling from being too dense.
2. Add some vanilla (A touch. Vanilla is crazy strong). Add some peppermint extract (Ditto).
3. Add some icing sugar (about a cup) and beat it in. Add some more. The icing sugar sweetens (duh) and gives the filling body. You’ll be going for a nice fluffy frosting consistency. If it’s loose and tastes like a bowl of Crisco, add some more icing sugar. If the icing is too stiff AND too bland, add some more peppermint or vanilla. My peppermint was like five million years old or something, so I had to add over a tablespoon to get it strong enough, but that’s atypical. If you want to lighten the consistency without flavour, drizzle a TINY amount of neutral oil like canola to improve the texture.
4. Beat it for longer than you think you should. The beating will help the sugar crystals start to break down which will result in a smoother filling. Once that business is done, scoop it into a piping bag or plastic bag or something and make a 1cm diameter hole in the piping end. Cover a cookie sheet in wax paper/parchment/a Silpat and squirt little flat poops onto the sheet. Dip your (clean) finger in icing sugar and pat the little pointed tops of the poops down so they look like patties (like the name, omg).
5. Stick that sheet in the freezer (wow, I am so demanding). After about 30 minutes or so, stick the melting wafers in a bowl and microwave in 30 second increments (stirring after) until melted. I often add in some real chocolate at this point to add flavour while keeping the stability of the wafers without having to temper it. We’ll have a discussion about the properties of chocolate later…Bottom line is, don’t microwave all in one go or you’ll burn it and no one wants that.
6. Let it cool a bit, but not enough that it gets hard because that would be dumb. Take a few of the frozen pattie insides from the freezer and, one at a time, dunk them in the chocolate. Use a fork to fish them out, and stick them on another cookie sheet to harden.
7. Once the are hard, they’re done. I like to eat them frozen, but not frozen is cool too because the filling is super fluffy and spooges out.
Wow. That seems a lot less complicated in my head