The Contest is officially Over
Thank you so much to everyone who entered. I LOVED reading your cooking stories. They were just wonderful. Thank you for sharing those stories. I’m off to pick the winner.
I’ve made this post sticky for the duration of the contest. There’s a new recipe (this time, chocolate mousse) and a link to Chapter 3 of My Dangerous Pleasure. Also, since I was late getting out my newsletter, I’ve extended my contest deadline to Midnight Pacific June 4th in order to give them time to enter.
The Contest Info
As some of you may know, the heroine of My Dangerous Pleasure, Paisley Nichols, owns a bakery. In honor of that and in shameless promotion of the book (it’s out May 31, have you bought your copy yet?) I’m going to be giving away a slew of cooking supplies to one lucky winner. The supplies will include, among other things:
- Baker’s Sugar
- Cake Flour
- Chocolate (assortment)
- Dutch Process cocoa
- Parchment paper
- A cookbook or two
If the winner is in the US I will also arrange to ship some awesome butter to the winner. If I find out that butter can be shipped internationally, I will so do, but I cannot guarantee that will be possible. I will also include some other baking-related surprises.
But Wait! There’s More!
Over the next three weeks my publisher will be making chapters 1-3 of My Dangerous Pleasure available for you to read:
What Would I Do With All That Baking Stuff?
Well, you could make some awesome desserts . . .
The week before last, I posted a recipe for Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies. download a pdf of the Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Recipe. Last week’s recipe was for download a pdf of the Butter Cookies recipe
This week? Chocolate Mousse. download a pdf of the Chocolate Mousse recipe
Notes on the Mousse
The higher quality the chocolate, the less tolerant this is to inattention, over-beating, cheating and timing. I recommend making this once with cheap chocolate, as it is less prone to seizing and will still taste really good. (but not to-die-for good) that way you’ll understand the steps involved and will not be as tense when you’re using the good chocolate.
Also, despite the cautions, this doesn’t take all that long to make. You can do it!
Notes on Ingredients
Heavy Whipping Cream: Get the highest fat content you can find. Not the cheapo grocery brand unless you happen to know it’s high quality.
You have to look really, really hard to find chocolate without soy lethicin in it. Sadly several formerly high quality chocolates have started adding soy lethicin. If you find chocolate without it, almost by definition, you’ve found a high quality chocolate.
You should be able to pronounce all the ingredients in your chocolate: cocoa, cocoa butter and not much else. Look to the Belgian or Swiss chocolates.
A note on separating the eggs
There CANNOT be EVEN A DROP of egg yolk in the egg whites. This means you need three bowls. One for successful egg whites with no yolk, one for the egg yolks and one to use when you’re separating an egg. That way if the egg is old and the yolk is runny or what have you, you only need to discard one egg and won’t contaminate the successes.
Seized chocolate gets instantly grainy and lumpish. You can try stirring your way out of it, but you’re likely to get mousse with an unappealing texture. This actually happened to a friend of mine. It was sad, and she cried.
16 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped or as chips.
2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
6 large eggs, separated
1. Whip the cream to soft peaks, put aside in a new bowl and refrigerate
2. Melt the chocolate.
You can do this in a double-boiler (over-but-not-in hot but not simmering water). Stirring often. With this method you will almost certainly end up having to wait for the chocolate to cool down to warm.
It’s far easier to do this in the microwave:
Put your chocolate in a bowl, and NEVER nuke for LONGER THAN 30 seconds.
Stir. Nuke again for 30 seconds.
Stir and nuke, stir and nuke etc until the chocolate still has a few lumps.
Now, you just stir continuously until the rest of the chocolate melts. It doesn’t take long and the chocolate will not be all that hot. Dab some chocolate on your lower lip. It should feel warm but not hot. If it’s too cool, the chocolate will seize. Same if it’s too hot.
3. Whip the egg whites in a very clean bowl until they are foamy and beginning to hold a shape. Beat until soft peaks form. Soft peaks should fold over and not be rigid.
4. When the chocolate is at the proper temperature, add about 1/4th or less of the whipped cream.
Add the egg yolks. If you don’t add the whipped cream first, the chocolate will seize when you add the yolks. (It will also seize if the chocolate is too hot.)
Fold by hand until mixed. Do this fairly quickly because you don’t want the chocolate to seize. (Fast, but not too fast!) Too slow and the chocolate will seize.
Gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream. You need the fluffiness, so be gentle.
5. Fold in half the egg whites until just incorporated using a whisk, then fold in the remaining whites, switching to a spatula. Be gentle. There should be no chunks or bits of white, but you need this fluffy so don’t over-work.
6. Spoon the mousse into a serving bowl or individual dishes and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
How to Enter the Contest
Leave a comment on this post in which you mention your fondest, funniest, saddest or most embarrassing cooking memory. Feel free to make one up. If you have one involving Elves, demons, fiends or other supernatural creatures, that would be pretty darn funny.
Leave a comment by midnight Pacific June 4, 2011.
Contest void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. People related to me can’t win. Sorry.
Winner will be chosen at random on or shortly after June 5.