the perfect puff.

I’m talking soufflés here, folks. I’m in my final semester of school, and in my class last week we made soufflés, both baked and frozen. This was not my first time making a soufflé (you can read about that adventure here), so I knew that it involved attention to detail and accuracy in order to obtain the perfect “puff” that is completely cooked on the inside without exploding out the top, and does not collapse in on itself when removed from the oven. I had successfully done it once before. But likes snowflakes, every soufflé is unique, so I certainly didn’t want to be overconfident.  

We started off with the frozen soufflé – no worries about collapsing here – it wasn’t possible. However texture, taste, and presentation were all key factors in this soufflé’s success. We chose an orange flavor, using liqueur and orange zest, and it wound up tasting like a creamsicle (which according to everyone who tasted it, was a huge success).  We placed a shaped Florentine  cookie on top, and served. One down, one to go.

"Dreamsicle" is more accurate.

Next up, the baked bad boy. This was the more challenging of the two, as it required very accurate preparation, mixing, and baking time/temp in order to achieve that perfect unpopped, yet thoroughly cooked soufflé bubble. We went with a traditional vanilla flavor, and anxiously hovered around the oven, peering through the glass trying to get a look at the puff-factor. The time had come, we opened the oven, and….

we have achieved "puff".

So, if I had to pick which one I liked better, I’d chose the frozen, and not because it was easier to prepare and there was no “puff anxiety.” I just love me some frozen desserts. I really do scream for ice cream. Just ask my friends. Break your eardrums, man.

super bon bon.


Yesterday, I had an intimate gathering of friends over for some grilling and chilling. There wound up being much more chilling than grilling, but that’s another story (btw – can someone teach me how to start up a gas grill, please?). Anyway, in lieu of this pending gathering, I thought it would be swell if I prepared a little dessert. I had chocolate on the brain, so I thought ice cream bon bons would be perfect! I had just recently seen a recipe for these in Food and Wine Magazine, and they looked tasty, and pretty simple, especially for someone who just completed a class solely dedicated to artisan chocolates. This recipe didn’t even call for the chocolate to be tempered, so there was no way to screw it up! Au contraire.

The guests were scheduled to arrive at 7. I figured these would take no time to prepare, so I began the bon bon adventure around 6:30. The first batch of chocolate, I somehow ruined. I was able to squeak out one average-looking bon bon, but had to chuck the rest. Ok, sh*t happens, maybe I was rushing and got ahead of myself. Lets try this again. The problem was I didn’t have any of the high-quality chocolate left, and I assumed that because it didn’t have to be tempered anyway, I could just use the cheap crap.  My teacher would revoke my good grade if he only knew what I’d done. The chocolate melted unevenly, barely coated the bon bons, and wound up all over the counter, and myself. I managed to make two more bon bons (if you could even dare to call them bon bons) with this mess.

sh*tty sh*tty bon bon.

At this point, is was about 7:20, and thankfully, all my guests were late. I decided to try one more time, with a random piece of chocolate I found in a bag. I was desperate. I don’t even know if what I was using was actual chocolate at this point. I mean, it tasted good, but it melted into a big blob, and was virtually unusable for all intents and purposes. That’s not to say to say I threw it out – like I said, it tasted good. I could use it for filling or mixed into a cake or something. I bagged it, and put in the fridge. At this point the doorbell rang, I had 3 barely bon bons, and everything was covered in chocolate. Awesome. The first thing my friend said when I let him in – “it smells really good in here – like chocolate!” At least some good came out of this.

I would not let these bon bons beat me, however. So we didn’t have them at the gathering. I still had something to prove. I know how to use chocolate. These easy ice cream bon bons will not crush my spirit! So, the next day, I tried again.

move aside, and let the man go through.

I had conquered the bon bon. Of course, it was when I was baking for no one. And now I have a freezer full of bon bons. So, yeah, if anyone can come teach me how to use a gas grill, there’s bon bons in it for you. 😉

A little bananas.

Last night I was having dinner at a restaurant with a few friends. The food (and drink) was amazing, but, not to anyone’s surprise I’m sure, there was just so much of it. Being a self-proclaimed dessert-buff, I make an effort not to over-indulge in appetizers, drinks, and entrees, for the sole purpose of saving room for dessert, because, contrary to popular belief, there is NOT always room for dessert.  The problem was that the food was just so good. I did my best to control the portions, and when it was dessert time, I did, in fact still have some room. I did not, however have room for the gargantuan dessert that I wound up ordering because it was just too tempting – a chipotle cinnamon banana split, complete with two types of ice cream, whipped cream, cherries and who knows what else. I did share it with someone, however it was by no means an equal share. It was just too good. I was angry at myself when I was finished, not for ordering dessert or even eating dessert, but for eating as much dessert as I did.

We got to talking about it, and how upset I was with myself for my gluttonous display. We had been discussing small indulgences earlier in the evening, and one of my dining colleagues brought up something I wished I had thought of myself – a mini banana split.  What a fantastic idea! If only that had been on the menu, I would have certainly ordered it, and all this guilt and beating up of myself would have been spared. I envisioned how this delectable little dessert would look in my mind – mini-bowl, with a slice of banana, teeny-tiny tablespoon size scoops of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream…it made perfect sense! This morning, I was curious to see if others had done anything similar. I found a few, none quite like what I had envisioned, which was great! I did stumble across this one though, from Baker’s Royale, that I really liked:

Aren’t they cute?