Killing Time With Hershey

If you’ve never visited the Reese’s cup site and feel like killing a little time, have a look. It’s pretty fun. My wife and I were trying to remember all the different types of Reese’s products that have come out over the years. From crunchy to white to minis to caramel…there’ve really have been a […]

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Joe and the Amazing Peanut Butter Machine

Just about all it really takes to make peanut butter are peanuts, salt and a grinder. I myself remember when instant peanut butter-making machines were all the rage, back in the 70’s. Just an electric grinder with a hopper full of roasted peanuts on top was all they were. A gift shop in the suburb […]

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Fry Baby

What makes peanut oil so perfect for cooking? It’s not because of its peanut flavor, which is really very faint. It’s because of its high smoke point. Which is to say, it can be heated to an extemely high temperature (over 450 degrees). An oil’s smoke point is the temperature at which it begins to […]

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Peanuts and the Age of Discovery

Peanuts are members of that great family of agricultural gifts that the New World gave to the old (other notables include corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beans, sunflowers, chocolate and tobacco). Call ‘em goobers, groundnuts, pinders or monkey nuts, they all bring a smile to your face. What is it about the peanut that it’s […]

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Temper Tip

Fame-wise, superstar pastry chefs inhabit the same region of the national consciousness as skeet-shooting champions. Joe-Bob who? Somwhere below Latoya Jackson, but above, say, a Supreme Court justice. Yet for what it’s worth, Claudia Fleming of the Grammercy Tavern in New York is one. Her book The Last Course was received to great fanfare a […]

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The Fake McCoys

People who’ve made candy at home may have looked at yesterday’s posts and thought: what’s all the fuss about? Why go to all that trouble when there are perfectly good nontempering chocolates to be had? A reasonable question. Nontempering chocolates, also known as coating chocolates, are chocolates from which the cocoa butter has been removed […]

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Chocolate Gear

As stated previously, chocolate tempering is a tricky undertaking (it’s also fun and delicious, no matter what the results). Good gear vastly improves your chances of success. While the microwave is without a doubt the best tool for melting chocolate, you need a good double-boiler if you want to tackle tempering. Concerning measurement, you’ll want […]

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That Waxy Taste

What is it about unstable cocoa butter crystals that give chocolate that soft, waxy consistency? It’s not because “unstable” fat crystals are inherently softer or more likely to fall apart, though that would be a reasonable guess. One of the many interesting things about fat crystals is that they melt at the same temperature at […]

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