With the shopping, cooking, gift wrapping and party planning you’re doing this week I’m guessing your free time for blog browsing is at a minimum. So, I have a little blog treat for you – a picture post! Pictured below are my Christmas goodies: a whole lotta sweetness, a little hint of spice, and a few Food Science tid-bites you just might find nice.
A Food Science tid-bite: The caramel is so easy to make (even my dad can do it). Unwrap pre-made caramels, heat, and stir. The trick to a soft texture is to add only enough heat for the caramel to melt. If the caramels get too hot, the sugars recrystallize and you’ll get a finished texture that may threaten to chip every taster’s sweet tooth.
Candied Orange Peels
A Food Science tid-bite: The pith of an orange contains natural pectin. Pectin is the stuff that makes gummy candies so soft and chewy. (Sometimes gelatin or starch is used commercially, which serves a similar purpose as pectin.) So, of course, the candied orange peel recipe with pith turned out to be a much softer treat, reminiscent of a fresh gummy candy. If you like a chewier texture, I recommend you remove the pith from the peels.
Christmas Cookie Cut-outs with Buttercream Frosting
A Truffle Shuffle (any Goonies fans out there?)
A Food Science tid-bite: Melted chocolate is required for truffles. My favorite method to produce a silky batch of melted chocolate is the microwave. Melting by double-boiler is the classic method, but (if not watched carefully) the chocolate can easily develop burnt notes from overheating, or quickly morph into a seized mess if even a drop of moisture is introduced to your batch.
Cranberry Pistachio Shorties
A Food Science tid-bite: Use lemon zest…often! Lemon (like salt) is a natural flavor enhancer in many recipes. It’s heightens the flavors of other ingredients in the recipe, producing a brighter, fresher, more complex flavor profile. Look forward to a future post on flavor enhancers.
My Sweetness, the Hubs