Friday, December 19, 2008

A Chemist Bakes the Perfect Cookie

Food Scientist Shirley Corriher's tips for baking perfect cookies seem to be everywhere at the moment. On National Public Radio, her advice for crumbly cookies is to add a tablespoon of water to a cup of flour. That will make the proteins — glutenin and gliadin — hold together. In the New York Times she's one of several culinary experts weighing on why you must keep butter cool.
Butter is basically an emulsion of water in fat, with some dairy solids that help hold them together. But food scientists, chefs and dairy professionals stress butter’s unique and sensitive nature the way helicopter parents dote on a gifted child.
Although I have not heard of Corriher before, I am tempted to check out her new book Bakewise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes. Amazon customers give it some rave reviews.

And I like the chemistry angle too.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cake in a Mug mug

When I couldn't get carbon snakes to work, I made exploding cake in a mug. And for a last-minute holiday gift, I just put the barebones recipe on a mug, complete with crudely drawn illustrations. You can order them too from Cafe Press. Order by Monday for holiday delivery.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Homemade Ice Cream

We had homemade ice cream for dessert on Thanksgiving. (My dad, never having seen our machine, asked, "Whose home was the ice cream made in?") But the machine we have uses a cooling pan with some kind of chemical sealed inside. You put the pan in the freezer before using it, then just add the ingredients and let the machine stir them up. Not much to it.

Meanwhile, over at Socks and Books, homeschoolers "Moomintroll" and "Snufkin" recently made ice cream the old-fashioned way, using rock salt and ice cubes. We did this years ago using two plastic bags, but they used a metal pot, which I think looks way more dramatic.

Go to their post to see how its done, complete with chemistry explanation. I'm saving this link for future reference!