Monday, November 9, 2009
Chocolate Trouble and Cherry Love
I'm a Google-holic. Despite having some really nice cookbooks, I still trawl the Internet and use obscure recipes from totally unknown sources. Some of these have turned out fine, but I got a few duds recently. Like my attempt at chocolate rum & cherry cupcakes. These came out moist and soft out of the oven but became mysteriously dry when cool.
But you learn from errors. I found a valuable tip from Rose Levy Beranbaum's blog - When you use hot water to dissolve the cocoa powder, then let it sit to cool, some of the water evaporates. You can lose as much as two ounces! Wow, who'd have thought!
A reader helped solve this mystery which has bugged Rose for 18 years! She couldn't figure out why others could not get the same results from her recipe. She wraps all items not going to be used immediately, especially chocolate and water.
Dissolving cocoa powder in hot water was the first step in the recipe I followed - and of course it sat there for quite some time while I prepared the rest of the batter. And the recipe had only half the liquid called for in my cookbooks.
Ah. Baking - too many moving parts! I'm going to stick to my cookbooks for the rest of my learning curve.
However, the one saving grace was S&W's maraschino cherries. These are beautifully sweet with very little of the horrid medicinal cough syrup taste that you get with some versions. I can't tell you how much I used to detest maraschino cherries before this. These were awesome and have made me a convert. I wish I put a whole lot more of these cherries on the cupcakes. Now I can't wait to buy a new bottle! (This one was kindly given by S&W along with a host of other goodies).
Oh I also tested my new toy external flash unit on these cupcakes. First time taking indoor shots without having to worry about lighting! No need to bring items close to window for sunlight! Oh my, this almost feels like cheating! How I ever survived without a flash unit, I can't imagine. But I'm still learning how to use it (it's got a lot of complicated features), so bear with me.
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