Monday, August 25, 2014

Bouchon Bakery Cookbook 'Fuhgeddaboudits'

This is the slightly unusual name for a chocolate covered Rice Krispie Treat 'made better' by the Bouchon Bakery team and as they say in the recipe introduction they have taken the basic 'treat' part as is and then covered it with a layer of caramel and dipped each piece in chocolate. This is one of the simplest recipes in the book so long as you are happy tempering chocolate#.

I find the physical format of the book puts me off using it; basically it is a very heavy book weighing over 2.5 kg and an awkward square shape. Too big to fit in my book stand it has to sit flat on the counter and then seems to take up half of my work space measuring  28cm x 56cm when open. But I whinge too easily, and this is really a very well written bakery book that has not skipped on any of the details you will need to get a professional level of product consistently right.
Bouchon Bakery Cookbook (Signed by Chef Keller)
My only error on this recipe was to allow the cut cripies to sit out uncovered for too long on a humid day and I paid for that with not so crisp crispies. For personal preference I would also up the amount of caramel to twice the given amount.


100g unsalted butter
225g store bought marshmallows
127g Rice Krispies

130g bought dairy caramels (I added 2 tbs double cream to aid melting) ##

260g high cocoa content, tempered# milk chocolate (I worked with a larger amount to make dipping easier)

Fleur de sel for sprinkling  (I missed that bit out)

I made my treats into bar shapes but the recipe calls for rounds that are formed in a silicone mould with 6.5cm diameter cavities. I'll keep my notes to the bars as these are so much easier to work with and can be cut to whatever size you want.


  1. Line the base of a 2cm deep brownie/deep baking pan (20cmx30cm size approx) with parchment paper and grease the sides if pan is not none-stick.
  2. Weigh the Rice Krispies into a large bowl.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium size saucepan on a low heat and then add the marshmallows.
  4. Using a silicone spatula (or other nonstick spatula) stir the marshmallows until melted and then pour onto the Rice Krispies. The mix gets very gloopy.
  5. Quickly stir all to coat the cereal evenly and then tip out into the lined baking tray and level as quickly as possible.
  6. While the base is cooling gently melt the caramels over a low heat. I added a couple of scant  tablespoons of cream to get a slightly softer caramel but this is personal choice as I am wary of chewy caramel and my dentist bills. You just need a little, you are not making caramel sauce.
  7. Once the caramel is melted, pour it over the marshmallow crispie base, spreading it out evenly and leave to set.
  8. Once cool turn the base out onto a board and using a sharp knife cut into the size squares or bars you want.
  9. Line up the cut bars on a sheet of non-stick paper or a silicone mat (they get sticky!) and arrange another tray lined with non stick paper to take the pieces once they are dipped. 
  10. Get your chocolate ready to dip by tempering it using whatever method you prefer#.
  11. Arrange your dipping setup by having the undipped pieces on one side of the chocolate bowl and the tray for placing the dipped pieces on the other side. I am right handed so I place undipped pieces to the left of the bowl and the dipped pieces on the right hand side. As you are placing a dipped piece onto the tray put in down on the far right hand top corner and work towards yourself and then down a row so each time you are not carrying anything over the top of an already dipped item. This avoids those many random drips landing on already dipped pieces. That's the theory, I am not very disciplined so tend to mess the system up every time.
Dipping hints:
  • You want work fairly quickly so the chocolate does not cool too much and go out of temper.
  • Keep stirring the chocolate between dipping every 2-3 blocks so you keep the temperature uniform throughout the bowl. I use a narrow silicone spoon that I  keep in the bowl while I am working but be sure the handle is long enough that it will not fall and get submerged into the pool of chocolate.
  • Keep the caramel layer on the top, if you think the item has flipped over in the pool of chocolate flip it back before trying to lift out as the fork will sink in to the caramel if the item is lifted out upside down.
  • Use a chocolate dipping fork or a large narrow tined dinner fork, this helps to drain off excess chocolate. A plastic fork with the middle tines snapped off may also work but is better on smaller items.
  • Carefully place a bar into the pool of chocolate, caramel side up and using the stirring spoon flood the top surface with chocolate to get a complete covering and then lift out and allow the excess to drain off into the bowl before transferring the bar to the separate sheet. 
  • Gently tapping the fork handle onto the side of the bowl can help but be careful as all too easily the whole bar will just drop off the fork.
  • If too much chocolate stays on the piece it will run off into a large base (see below) when the item is placed on the cooling paper which looks a bit clumsy but who complains about extra chocolate.
 Once the bars have cooled you can of course carefully cut off the excess chocolate from the base.
These went in to work and went down a 'treat'!

I am submitting my 'Fuhgeddaboudits' to this month's We Should Cocoa - Marshmallows blog challenge which is being guest hosted by Rebecca of  BakeNQuilt who chose marshmallows as the special ingredient for August. The 'We Should Cocoa' monthly challenges are managed by Choclette over at Chocolate Log Blog where you will find all manner of delicious chocolate recipes.

# The Callebaut Institute in Banbury have produced a video of how to temper chocolate in a microwave which is a very clear and tells you what you are doing to the chocolate to get it in temper. They are using their own products but of course the process is the same for all bought 'real' chocolate, bars just need to be chopped up. Link:  Beverley Dunkley on Microwave Tempering.
##This only gave a thin layer of caramel, I would double the amount next time.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tapas for Bloggers Around the World

I have been very slow to wake up to the delights of Spanish cuisine and in particular just how perfect tapas meals are for folks like me who much prefer to graze than restrict themselves to one main dish. Tapas is for me, the ideal tasting menu, you get to choose exactly what you are going to eat and in what order, perfect!

So I finally discovered this huge culinary omission from my life during a short trip to Seville earlier this summer.  Being a small city, Seville is a easy to walk around and we went in May when it was warm but not too warm. I am now dreaming of living somewhere where orange trees just grow in the streets, whole families sit around tapas bars till late in the evening eating and drinking while their children play happily around them; it was all such a beautiful experience.

I cannot hope to recreate the warm friendly buzz of those packed tapas bars back at home but I can hope to learn how to prepare some of the food. To that end I was checking out all of the cookbook sections in the Seville book stores to see what the Spanish might be cooking from, and was particularly taken by a rather modern looking title:
As I do not know more than a few words of Spanish I am relying very heavily on translating each word as I go along, which is slow, but the recipes are quite brief. Many of the tapas dishes in this book remind me of some rather wonderful food we had at restaurant La Azotea which was mentioned in the trip report written by David Lebovitz that inspired me to go to Seville in the first place. Despite our lack of Spanish we were made to feel welcome in all of the places we went to eat, but the staff at La Azotea were particularly warm and friendly, and the food was wonderful. Within minutes of them opening it was standing room only, but somehow they kept track of everything, and everyone, and when I wasn't focusing on the excellent food I was eating, I was mesmerised watching the staff managing the chaos with charm and ease. Actually a few of the places we went were just as busy and just as slick at dealing with it; I couldn't help thinking about experiences back in the UK and wishing they were not so far removed from this.
So my first dish from my new book 'Pintxos' was a simple 'croute' of red pepper, blue cheese and toasted almonds, shown on the mixed plate above at the back.  I used Cornish Blue, a cheese which is a quite fresh and mild blue, that I much prefer to many stronger blue type cheeses. I can get this cheese quite easily in North Devon but it is also available online from the producer.

Cornish Blue Cheese
The croute is a 1cm thick slice of a multi-seed baguette. This is topped with a piece of roasted red pepper which has been marinated in olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. The blue cheese recommended is roquefort which I used the second time but really much preferred the Cornish blue. The amount of cheese allowed for each croute in the recipe is 30g but I used a little less. The cheese is sliced to sit in one piece on top of the pepper and then about 8 grams of toasted almonds are sprinkled on top of the cheese. The retained juices from marinating the peppers are then drizzled on top. The recipe used nibbed almonds but I just had pin almonds in my cupboard and was too lazy to chop them up.

The combination of sweep pepper salty tangy cheese and toasted almonds was unusual but really good.
The other tapas dish that I made for this meal was a tiny portion each of fresh pea and ham soup. I had recently picked the last peas from a small patch in my garden and found some quite mature pods in amongst the more tender ones. I put these slightly more floury peas aside and used them for this soup.
This was really very basic, just the podded peas cooked until tender in some ham stock that I had kept from cooking a ham joint earlier in the week. The peas and stock were then liquidized and sieved to obtain a perfectly smooth soup. To serve, the tiny cup of soup was garnished with some cubes of ham sizzled briefly in butter and added just before serving.  I really like soups served this way in small portions but with intense flavours.
The rest of my tapas plate was pretty much served as bought, Spanish ham, olives, ripe beefsteak tomato and good tinned tuna, prawns, and those lovely little bread sticks we were served everywhere in Seville which I managed to find in my local Marks & Spencer food section.

So I am submitting my Tapas meal to the Bloggers Around the World August food challenge where Christian has already posted up some of his own wonderful tapas dishes .