Today has been a frustrating, yet inspiring, day. I got up early this morning and made a marvelous batch of lavender-honey caramels, which tasted divine, had perfect texture, and were exactly what I had been hoping for. Then Mike accidentally splashed them with dirty dishwater (and no, they were NOT sitting next to the sink – it’s a long story), and it was back to square one.
So, on my lunch break, I made another batch.
This batch was curious; I had to keep stirring rapidly to keep it from burning, and it behaved very differently from the previous batch. It wasn’t until about ten minutes after I poured it that I realized the reason: I had accidentally left out the honey. Then it started crystallizing on me, since it was lacking the invert sugar (honey) that would keep the solution stable. Ugly mouth-feel. Ugh.
So tonight was “Lavender-honey caramels: take 3”. I carefully set out all the ingredients, made my lavender extract, and cooked it quite successfully, poured it…
…and realized that I had left out the lavender extract, and the result didn’t taste much like lavender at all.
So I scraped it back into the pan, added the extract, and reboiled it. It is now cooling, safely away from dishwater and cats (I will cover it up as soon as it’s cool), and I hope to Heaven that it’s going to WORK this time. So this has been really frustrating. I don’t like having to do things twice, and three times is infuriating. I can do better than this. Really.
On the upside, I was reading up on chocolate today and found Norman Love, a pioneer in the art of making beautiful chocolates. Just looking at his confections is giving me inspiration for color work in chocolates…I purchased some gold and some silver shimmer cocoa butter from Chef Rubber and plan to try using them this year. I only have so many chocolate molds, so I will need to distinguish the resulting chocolates from each other visually. In the past I’ve used milk and white chocolate streaks to distinguish, but this year, who knows…gold? silver? both?
Anyway, I am genuinely inspired by his work, which is at the very least beautiful, and by reputation fantastically tasty as well. If I ever come across a chance to take a class from him, I’ll seize it.
And now, off to bed. I’ve done three batches of caramel today (in addition to a full workday) and I’m exhausted.