My Attempt at Gourmet Baking

I am a nervous cook. I read and reread a recipe ad nauseum.  I set out the required ingredients before I start.  I am more that a bit compulsive.  Seriously people, I was well into my 20s before I stopped measuring the water required to boil Kraft macaroni and cheese.  I am all about keeping it simple.  When baking I tend to go for the bar and drop varieties of cookies; they require less hands on time and you can’t mess them up too bad.

Back in September when I came across a recipe for chocolate-covered buttercream cherries, just perfect for the yearly Christmas party I co-host, I never dreamed I would actually make them.  I printed off the recipe and let it collect dust on my kitchen counter.  So it was with some surprise and quite a lot of trepidation that I found myself in the kitchen Monday morning, cherry recipe in hand with all the ingredients newly purchased and ready to go.

  • Step one:  pat cherries dry with paper towel.  Sounds easy.  Oh, gosh, don’t pull the cherries out of the jar with their stems.  Crap.  I over patted that one and this one is still sitting in a puddle of it’s own juices!  How did I miss this one?
  • Step two:  prepare buttercream and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Powdered sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt (ha! I didn’t even measure the 1/4 teaspoon salt – what a rebel I am!)  And look, the recipe says not to worry if it is crumbly and reassures me that it will come together after a few kneads and it was right.
  • Step three:  roll dough into 1/2 inch balls, flatten into circles and wrap cherries then back to the refrigerator for another hour.  Ok, this took forever!  I mean, how could it not if you want perfectly uniform balls (I could put in a joke here but will show some self restraint.) 
  • Step four:  melt chocolate and shortening until smooth; dip cherries, set on waxed paper in refrigerator until hardened then store, covered for 1-2 weeks before serving.  Ok, chocolate is nicely melted and then, what the…  The chocolate is clumping and   every time I stir it gets worse!  Is it too hot, not hot enough – argh!!  Damn you cherries, you shall be dredged instead of dipped.  Ouch!  Burning hot, melted chocolate under my thumbnail – must . not . lick . fingers. 

And so it ended.  I had my 60 mostly chocolate covered buttercream cherries which looked nothing like the pictures from the blog where I found it.  Husband sampled the one that parted from its’ stem during the non-smooth chocolate dredging catastrophe and declared them good.

I would show you some pictures but, really, no one wants to see that.  Instead I suggest you go to Bakergirl’s blog for some lovely pictures and while you are there you can snag the recipe.

Oh, and if anyone knows what went wrong with the melting of the chocolate I would love to know.

About shoes

I am a blogger, a former microbiologist, a stay at home mom to a herd of two boys, and a grilled cheese sandwich and beer connoisseur.
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13 Responses to My Attempt at Gourmet Baking

  1. Jodi Stone says:

    I bet their good.

    I have problems with baking too. Bob’s Gluten Free flour says you can substitute it in any recipe as long as you add Xanthum Gum, but it didn’t work in BabyCakes Spelt Biscuits. I couldn’t get the right consistency. They tasted alright at the first eating but the second night they could have been classified as a lethal weapon. :-(

    Screw you Bob, I said. I’ll stick to the original recipe.

    • shoes says:

      Honestly I am not a big fan of maraschino cherries but I thought this would be a wonderfully festive addition to the snack table at the Christmas party.
      Recipes were written for a reason – I am all about sticking to them myself.

  2. Beth says:

    I think your chocolate wasn’t tempered properly. I’ve had same problem, so don’t do any baking that requires melting chocolate. Heck, I barely do any baking :)

    http://candy.about.com/od/candybasics/ht/temperchoc.htm

    • shoes says:

      Good lord, I have never even heard about tempering chocolate! I don’t think I did any of those steps they talk about. I think I will stick to good old bar and drop cookies from now on. Thanks for the information it is good to know where I went wrong!

  3. Hetterbell says:

    They sound as if they’re delicious. :)

  4. muddledmom says:

    I cook all the time and I had the same feelings you wrote about. Very funny! Melted chocolate is a beast! I did the same thing recently for dipping pretzels. It was a mess. I just redid it all and melted it slowly in a double boiler. I think it tends to overheat/burn if you do it too high. I don’t know. It’s a pain is what it is!

  5. shoes says:

    I completely agree with you – a total pain. I do not have a double boiler and don’t think I will be dipping things in chocolate enough to get one. It was an interesting experiment but I think I will stick to making numerous batches of peanut brittle for future Christmas parties.

  6. CJ says:

    This sounds like my kind of kitchen disaster. I spend hours salivating over recipe books and pore over the steps with confidence, thinking that it doesn’t sound too hard. But it ALWAYS comes out wrong, and my husband, too, ALWAYS says that he’ll eat it anyway. He’s a good man, as is yours. I’ve no advice about the chocolate though, and besides, no-one would want to take baking advice from me!

    • shoes says:

      Hahaha! Glad to know I am not along with my kitchen diasters. I quite often print off or clip out recipes that I know are way above anything I would ever attempt to do. I save them in a folder and from time to time thumb through them. Lucky for me, and my husband, I don’t often try them.

  7. HA! you are so funny!!! & just like me! I am a crazy OCD cook! haha I have to measure exactly, display ingredients, reread again to make sure I read it right the first 5x…& I clean as i go, so image ….stir, pour, wipe….crack, stir, wipe…haha

    My receipts never turn out quit like the pictures!

    • shoes says:

      Glad there are others out there that can relate to my baking woes! It is hard enough being a bit OCD (can you even be a bit OCD or do you have to go all the way??) but then cooking with a 5 and 3 year old. Some days it about puts me over the edge! :-) Oh, and I am a constant cleaner while I cook. It drives me nuts but I can’t help myself.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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