Carole Bloom studied pastry and confectionary arts in Paris and London and worked in five-star hotels and restaurants in Europe and the United States. She is the author of nine dessert cookbooks, including her latest, The Essential Baker; Truffles, Candies, and Confections; and Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook for Dummies. She has been teaching for more than 30 years; chocolate is one of her specialties. Carole lives in Carlsbad, California, with her husband and their two pampered house cats.
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In my longtime career as a pastry chef and cookbook author, I’ve talked with a lot of people about desserts. And in the past year or so, I’ve noticed a trend: In an effort to scale back their calorie consumption, people want smaller-than-average sweets — but still they want them full-flavored.
My latest book, Bite-Size Desserts, is about making and enjoying small-size desserts. But I’m not the only one promoting them. Sweet Miniatures, by Flo Braker, and Petite Sweets, by Beatrice Ojakangas, are two other great books that advocate eating small-size desserts — desserts that are power-packed with flavor.
Continue reading Eat small »
There’s absolutely no reason for not having great desserts on a picnic. Making and organizing all the munchies, salads, and sandwiches is easy. But when it comes to desserts, there’s always the question, “What should I do?”
You can always go the store-bought route with mass-produced packaged cookies and candy bars, which of course taste mass-produced. My recommendation is to plan ahead just a little for your picnic or travel and make yummy mini-size desserts. Choosing the right ones means they’ll be easy to make and to carry, and will taste so much better than store-bought.
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Ganache — pronounced guh-NAHSH — is one of the basics of the Western dessert kitchen. It originated in France around 1850 and is, essentially, a mixture of chocolate and heavy cream. Besides its fabulous flavor and texture, ganache is very versatile. It’s often used for frostings and fillings, as well as for truffle centers.
Ganache is made by pouring hot heavy cream over very finely chopped chocolate and stirring those together with a heat-resistant spatula or whisk until the mixture is silky-smooth. The thickness of the ganache can be varied by the amount of cream added to the chocolate. So, to make thick ganache (used for tart filling, truffle centers, and as filling and/or icing for cakes and cupcakes), you add less cream. To make thin ganache (used for glazing cakes and pastries), you add more cream.
Continue reading Making ganache »
I recently demonstrated several cupcake recipes at a fundraiser for the San Diego chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier. When I was asked to do this demonstration, I was a little concerned about the topic, thinking that there may not be enough interest. Was I wrong about that! The event was sold out, and all nine recipes were a big hit.
It was easy to see that cupcakes are making a comeback.
Cupcakes have a lot to offer. They are basically a cake made on a small scale, so just about any cake recipe can be made into cupcakes.
Continue reading Cupcakes for all »
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