Archive for February, 2011

Help me Find A Wafflemaker! (Please!)

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

I love waffles.

They’re great sweet—topped with pure maple syrup, of course.  My favorite inclusions are blueberries and pecans.  I also once made a terrific gingerbread waffle topped with a peach caramel sauce.

They’re great savory—my go to is a black pepper waffle topped with sauteed vegetables in a mustard cream sauce, but a sauce to match the waffle flavor is all you really need: dill waffle topped with smoked salmon and a yogurt sauce; cumin waffle topped with chili; allspice and cayenne pepper waffle topped with creamed turkey… I’m salivating just thinking about the possibilities.

Problem is, I have no way to cook waffles at my house right now.  I’ve got a beautiful antique cast iron waffle maker, and it worked great with my old stove.  But for the past two years, since I upgraded, I’ve gone pretty much waffleless because the waffle iron is just incompatible with the new burners.

Which is a shame because I know it can produce such beautiful specimens.

So, I need your help!  Please, please, please, please: go to your cupboard, dig out your wafflemaker, and leave a comment letting me know about it (please!).  Please (please!) let me know: the brand, the model number, whether it makes traditional or Belgian waffles, and how much you like it (do the waffles stick or do they come off easily?  Are they evenly browned or are there hot spots?  Is it easy to clean or do you fight with it after every time you use it?  Is there anything else I should know about it if I’m considering whether to purchase a model to match yours?) (Please!)

Thank you in advance for your assistance!  I’m willing to drop a wad of cash on a nice wafflemaker if it’s worth the investment, but I’d hate to come home with a model that never lives up to the promises made on its packaging.

Time Saving Cookie Tip

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

I recently discovered that one can make perfectly legitimate drop cookies without creaming the butter and the sugar in an electric mixer.  Simply melt the butter and allow it to cool while you combine the eggs and sugar by hand.  Then, stir the butter into the egg/sugar mixture.  Once this is done, mix your wet ingredients with your (already combined together) dry ingredients.  Stir in any inclusions (raisins, chocolate chips, etc.) last.

The Science of Baking

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Jesse—

do you happen to have any suggestions of books that explain the science behind baking?  I’m envisioning a pseudo-chem lab text book.

Thanks,

N.

N.—

A few resources come immediately to mind:

  1. Alton Brown has a tremendous volume that sounds pretty much what you’re looking for, though broader in its scope.  I’m Just ere For the Food: Food + Heat= Cooking is the only cookbook that I’ve ever read cover to cover.  And I took notes on it.  Therefore, I can give an unequivocal 4-orange recommendation to this volume.  Mr. Brown also has a follow-up volume, Food x Mixing + Heat= Baking, which I have never read and therefore cannot give any recommendation on, but based on teh quality of his initial volume, I imagine that this may be the book you seek.
  2. On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee is a comprehensive reference volume on many of the scientific aspects of food and its preparation.  It is not set up like a lab manual (the way Mr. Brown’s book is), but the information included in it is far-reaching and (often) fascinating.
  3. Cookwise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking Revealed, by Shirley O. Corriher, is a volume that I have consulted on several occasions and have found to be useful in answering some of my questions.  The author also has a book called Bakewise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking Revealed that may be more of what you’re looking for.

I hope this helps!