Sunday, January 6, 2008

And here it begins, I guess

Maybe this is because I am way too obsessed reading food and recipe blogs, but I feel like I'm cheating. I take and take, and never throw anything out into the wide world of cooking and baking. I guess that's why I feel like I should get going on this. Not to mention that it's a nice bit of escapism. Thanks to all of the blogs out there, I've been able to get all sorts of useful and random information about baking (which leads to me giving tips to my manager on how to avoid having a cake fall while baking - weird!). I don't really believe that I'll be putting out anything particularly original, but it will be interesting to see if I can keep up with this and keep anyone who's interested (probably not too many people!) updated on my various baking and cooking ventures.

I have to admit, this is also because it's a sharp contrast to what I do at work. Being a process development engineer at a flexible packaging company that's dominated by men who talk about sports a lot (not that I don't like sports - I give as good as I take in those conversations!) just makes me want to go home and bake cookies. In fact, out of the handful of women in R&D, there are quite a few who would love to just quit their jobs and start a bakery out of their homes. Now wouldn't that be neat - 5-6 former chemical engineers start a bakery out of their mutual dissatisfaction with their jobs! Well actually, that's sort of depressing, so we'll just move on.

In order to keep up with this and give it due attention however, I feel I'll have to ramp up my baking efforts. Otherwise, I won't post more than once a week or so and that isn't really my goal. Luckily, I can funnel all my baking either to the office or to my boyfriend (he needs to pack on a few pounds anyway, right?). So here's my goal - to post at least every other day, either with something I've baked or cooked. Also on the goal list are a number of things I've always wanted to bake or cook and haven't managed to get around to doing: bagels, pretzels, a really tall layered cake, pot pie, a really good risotto, a savory scone... okay, I could go on and on about all the things that I've seen done by people, especially the daring bakers (dare I? we'll see...) but that might get a little boring. Oh, and I want to take cake decorating classes so that I can make pretty cakes and cupcakes like I see all over the interwebs. Mmmm... frosting... This venture could definitely force me to increase the amount of time I spend at the gym. Yikes. Speaking of, I really need to get going so that I can actually get up to go swimming tomorrow morning at the Y. Ick. So I guess I'll leave you with my favorite recipe of all time, a fool-proof, deadly rich chocolate torte. It's seriously the best thing ever, takes tons of bowls, and makes a huge mess. What could be better?

Chocolate Torte Souffle

Ingredients:

4 ounces (4 squares) unsweetened chocolate
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
5 ounces butter (in 1-inch pieces)
1 cup plus 1 TBSP granulated sugar
7 eggs, separated
1/3 cup Grand Marnier
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees, rack one-third up from bottom of oven.

Butter a 10-inch springform pan (at least 2-1/2 inches deep), line the bottom with waxed paper, and dust all over with flour. Tap out excess.

Melt together both chocolates and the butter. You can use a microwave, just be careful. Let cool slightly.

Set aside 1/4 cup of the sugar, then beat the egg YOLKS with the remaining 3/4 cup + 1 TBSP of sugar with electric mixer at high speed (eventually!) for about 5 minutes until pale and thick. On low speed, gradually add the Grand Marnier. Then, still on low speed, add the chocolate mixture and beat only until mixed.

In large bowl, add salt to the egg whites and blend with electric mixer until they hold soft peaks. Reduce speed and gradually add the reserved 1/4 cup sugar. Then, increase the speed and beat until the whites hold a definite shape. Don't let them dry out.

With a large rubber spatula, fold about 1 cup of the whites into the chocolate. Add about 1 cup more -- don't worry about mixing them thoroughly. Then, add all the remaining whites until blended.

Turn into the prepared pan. Rotate pan to even out mixture.

Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour, then reduce heat to 250 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven, but do not remove the cake. Open the oven door only about 2 inches and let the cake cool completely in the oven with the heat off.

When the cake reaches room temperature, remove it, remove the sides from the pan. Cover the cake with a rack (or plate) and invert. Remove the bottom of the pan and the paper lining. Now gently place a large, flat cake plate on the cake and carefully invert.

Serve with whipped cream. [serve on the side unless you're sure the whole thing will be devoured at once!]

1 comment:

Andrea said...

You go girl! I'm a female Engineer too and I love to bake (and I've been thinking about blogging too). Your posts are quite inspiring. Keep up the good work!