How can you resist a warm chocolate chip cookie?
- Chocolate chip cookies are a variant of cookie, identifiable by its inclusion of chocolate pieces.
- Sugar, flour, eggs, butter, baking powder and chocolate bits are the typical ingredients used for baking chocolate chip cookies.
- The chocolate pieces of chocolate chip cookies can be replaced with white chocolate or M&Ms, while a popular combination is white chocolate with the addition of macadamia nuts; or the dough can be flavoured with chocolate or peanuts, for an interesting variant.
- Chocolate chip cookies were invented in the 1930s by Ruth Wakefield of the United States, then owner and chef of Massachusetts’ Toll House Inn restaurant, and despite various stories of the invention being an accident, it is said to have been a deliberate alteration of a butterscotch cookie recipe.
- The first recipe for chocolate chip cookies was published in the 1938 edition of Ruth Wakefield’s cookbook “Toll House Tried and True Recipes”.
- Around 1939, as chocolate chip cookies grew popular, Ruth Wakefield exchanged the rights for her cookie recipe with the Nestlé company, for a lifetime supply of their semi-sweet chocolate, and they printed her cookie recipe on their packaging.
- Shortly after obtaining rights to the chocolate chip cookie recipe, Nestlé reconfigured their semi-sweet chocolate from a bar, to small chocolate pieces purposed for cooking in the cookies, naming them ‘Toll House Semi-Sweet Morsels’.
- As of 2015, the largest biscuit ever made in the world, happens to be a chocolate chip cookie, which was baked in 2003 by the United State’s Immaculate Baking Company as a museum fundraiser, and it was approximately 31 metres (102 feet) in diameter.
- The chocolate chip cookie is the official state cookie of Massachusetts of the United States, while it was proposed that it also be the state cookie of United States’ Pennsylvania.
Éclairs are the favourite pastry of many French children.
- Éclairs are a sweet pastry bakery item, particularly popular in French cuisine, and they are shaped somewhat like a hot dog bun.
- Éclairs are made of a light dough stuffed with cream or a flavoured custard, and then glazed or iced on top.
- The fillings of an éclair come in a variety of flavours, such as chocolate, vanilla, fruit, nut, coffee and rum.
- The literal translation of ‘éclair’ from French, is ‘lightning’, which is thought to refer to the speed of which it is eaten, or the shine of the glaze.
- Éclair dough is typically made by partially cooking a mixture of butter, flour and water in a saucepan and eggs are added soon after; and then they dough is piped onto a tray and baked in an oven, and is later filled with filling.
- The invention of éclairs is often attributed to Marie-Antoine Carême, a popular chef of the royals of the time, in the early 1800s in France.
- In the United States, the 22nd of June is recognised as the National Day of the Chocolate Éclair each year.
- The term ‘éclair’ was first documented in the English language in reference to a bread-based item, in an 1861 edition of the Vanity Fair magazine.
- Traditionally, most éclairs are sweet, though savoury variants have been made in more recent times, while the recipe for the dough has remained relatively unchanged since its creation.
- ‘Éclairs’ were first known as ‘pain à la duchesse’ or ‘petite duchesse’, French terms meaning ‘bread duchess’ and ‘little duchess’ respectively.
Add some butterscotch sauce to top off a pudding.
- Butterscotch is a typically a hard candy confectionery, that is also commonly referred to in modern times as a ‘flavour’.
- Butterscotch generally consists of butter and brown sugar; and sometimes water, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla or other ingredients.
- Although the appearance is similar, butterscotch and caramel are not technically the same; and while there are various opinions on the difference, traditionally, caramel uses white sugar and does not include butter.
- Butterscotch is made by boiling the sugary mixture to a temperature of roughly 132°C to 143°C (270°F to 289°F), which is the ‘soft crack’ stage.
- The method and ingredients of butterscotch are also very similar to toffee, however toffee mixture requires a longer boiling time to reach a higher temperature and consistency, and usually omits butter and includes water.
- Butterscotch is usually a golden yellow or golden tan colour, with a sweet and often creamy taste.
- A variety of desserts may use butterscotch as a base ingredient or flavour, including ice-cream, fudge, puddings, sauces, icing and cakes.
- The etymology of butterscotch is ambiguous, as ‘scotch’ may refer to ‘Scotland’, or more likely the ‘act of scotching’ – cutting an object’s surface.
- It is believed that confectioner Samuel Parkinson invented butterscotch in 1817, in Yorkshire’s Doncaster in England, and his company became famous for the product and supplied the British royal family with the confectionery.
- With the addition of cream or milk, butterscotch can be made into a sauce to top ice-cream or pour over desserts.
Although candy apples are evolving into a tradition, they are well suited anytime!
- A candy apple is a confectionery item consisting of an apple, that has been dipped in a hard sugar or toffee mixture to coat it; and includes a wooden or plastic stick pushed into the apple, which is used to hold it.
- ‘Candy apples’ are also known as ‘candied apples’, ‘toffee apples’, ‘lollipop apples’, and ‘taffy apples’.
- Candy apples are most popularly eaten as a snack during autumn months when apples are at their peak season, especially during times of celebration, or at carnivals and fairs.
- Typically, the hard coating of a candy apple is a red colour, likely due to tradition, as well as the appealing and striking nature of the colour.
- The sugary coating of candy apples is typically made from sugar, corn syrup, food colouring, and water, although the ingredients may vary, and they are sometimes flavoured with cinnamon.
- The candy apple invention is often attributed to candy maker William Kolb of New Jersey, in the United States, who is said to have placed toffee-covered apples in a display window in 1908, and he promptly sold them for five cents per apple.
- Candy apples are commonly confused with caramel apples, which are notably different in that the latter’s coating is generally made of soft caramel rather than hard toffee.
- The oldest known written recipe for a candy apple originated in 1919, found in the cookbook “Rigby’s Reliable Candy Teacher” and it was referred to as an ‘apple on a stick’.
- Apple cultivars of particular tartness, like Granny Smiths, are optimal for candy apples, as the flavour compliments the sweetness, and these apples usually have a firm texture.
- Climates with high humidity render candy apples as somewhat impractical, as excessive levels of humidity cause the hard sugar coating to become soft and runny.
Don’t get macaroons confused with macarons!
- Macaroons are usually wheatless sweet snacks that are quite similar to cookies, and they are generally suitable for those requiring a gluten-free diet.
- Macaroons are primarily made of sugar, whipped whites of eggs, and coconut and/or almond flour, and they are usually baked in an oven.
- Macaroons can be dipped in chocolate, or contain or be decorated with glacé cherries, jam or nuts.
- The term ‘macaroon’ it said to come directly from the word ‘maccarone’ or ‘maccherone’, Italian for food with a ‘paste-like appearance’, in reference to almond paste, which was the traditional base ingredient.
- Macaroons are often confused with the popular macaron, and although they have similar ingredients, the two sweets are vastly different in appearance, though some people use the terms interchangeably.
- The texture of macaroons can be rough and uneven, especially if they are made with coconut, and they are generally raised in the centre; while macarons usually have a smooth and even appearance, and are sandwiched together with a creamy filling.
- Macaroons became popular and favoured by Jews due to the snack’s unleavened nature, meaning it can be enjoyed throughout the Passover period.
- It is thought that macaroons originated from Italy, perhaps as early as the 700s to 800s, and the food likely spread to France by the 1500s.
- Coconut varieties of macaroons are typically high in fat, carbohydrates and manganese.
- Macaroons have also been known as ‘mackaroons’ and ‘maccaroons’; and different countries have their own particular variations of the food.
Is your mouth watering from the thought of a chocolate truffle?
- Chocolate truffles are confectionery sweets made primarily of a mixture of cream and chocolate, known as ‘ganache’.
- The term ‘chocolate truffle’ is derived from the edible tuber fungus known as a ‘truffle’, which shares a similar appearance to the confectionery.
- The internal part of a chocolate truffle is usually a soft ganache, that is generally coated or rolled in a covering of nuts, chocolate, icing sugar, coconut or cocoa powder.
- While its history is uncertain, one tale of the chocolate truffle invention points towards the inventor as master chef Auguste Escoffier, from France, or one of his young workers, who in the 1920s, accidentally placed heated cream in a bowl of chocolate.
- While traditionally chocolate truffles contain ganache, a heated and cooled chocolate and cream mixture, they sometimes consist of another filling, such as caramel, fudge, fruit, nuts or chocolate.
- In some areas, the 2nd of May is recognised by some people as National Truffle Day, and it is celebrated by eating chocolate truffles.
- To make chocolate truffles, hot cream is poured over chocolate pieces; gently stirred; allowed to cool; and shaped into balls that are then coated; although ingredients and methods differ in various countries.
- Despite its dubious origins, chocolate truffles are said to have originated in France, possibly existing as early as 1895, and created by Louis Dufour, while Antoine Dufour is believed to have popularised the confectionery through his shop in London, England.
- Chocolate truffles are traditionally roughly spherical in shape, due to the ganache being hand rolled into balls, although they can be purchased as cubes, cones, and in other forms.
- Chocolate truffles are generally considered a luxurious confectionery item, and they are commonly coloured either brown or white, depending on the chocolate used.