Thursday, March 11, 2010

Food for Friends

I'm back up to my old tricks, but this time, it's for my friends. I swear.

My friend C was feeling less than stellar recently, for a variety of reasons. When it rains, it pours, y'know? She lives outside of KTX bullet train range, though, so it's not so easy to go visit for a weekend on short notice. So I did the only thing I could think of to cheer her up a little -- priority mailed her a loaf of homemade banana bread.

Now, I don't have an electric mixer/eggbeaters/anything but a whisk, so anything that requires lots of mixing, especially creaming together butter and sugar, is a bit of a hassle. Enter JJ, the other baker of the ETA gang and my frequent partner in culinary crime, who was in Daejeon for the day. Not only did he turbo through the mixing, he cleaned up afterward. Whatta mensch.

Banana bread, before being tekbay-ed:

We also met the lovely Sarah for coffee at Angel-in-Us, where she introduced me to the wondrous Korean pastry that is the coffee bun. They look anemic in the case, but are actually yummy - a little tease of buttery sugary goodness inside, sweet light cakeyness, then a sweet, almost eggy crust. Tip of the hat to you, my good woman!

Also, yesterday was Melissa's birthday, so since I had today off, I bused over to Jeonju to go to her birthday dinner. Never one to miss a culinary opportunity, I took the time on Tuesday after school to take advantage of the recipe in last week's NY Times for super simple fudge.

And okay, here's something weird about me. I'm always attracted to the recipes that sound super basic, easy, and simple (I know those sound like synonyms, but they can be totally different things, baking-wise), but then I always end up messing with them until they've got more stuff going on than the originally complicated recipes probably did in the first place.

But no matter. In this case, this is really the only way I can make fudge, since my kitchen has no candy thermometer (full disclosure - I don't have one at home in CT, either, since I so rarely make candy. it's a self-preservation thing, since I'd probably just drown in a sea of terrible jokes about the soft ball vs. firm ball stages...) Still, I doubled the recipe (or nearly doubled, since condensed milk is sold in 375g, rather than 14oz, cans around here), and added a few of my favorite things. I had lots of fun. I mean, how could I not? Here's what I was workin' with:

Stuff That Goes Into Fudge:

- 2 cans of condensed milk
- 2 lb chocolate (yep)
- 3/4 stick butter
- 4 Snickers bars
- 1/2 bag marshmallows
- 4oz almonds

+ a whole 'nother mini-batch of peanut butter fudge, which I quickly whipped up and poured as a layer on top of the chocolate fudge before it set. Superduper.


Step 1: Assemble a double boiler and put in most of this stuff. Stare gluttonously.*

I mean, I KNOW, right?

*(NB: see the Times article or this website for non-glib details on how to make it)

Step 2: eh, screw it. no one cares. Here's some food porn instead!
Huge frackin' pan of fudge:

Aaaaand here's where it's at:

Bonus coverage over on JJ's food blog here

Delicious. This is the most diet-friendly cooking/baking I've done in ages. I've discovered the secret -- bake, but gift it away!