You guys. Make this. Make it now. Then I’ll have someone else who shares my addiction to it, and I won’t feel weird about crunching it non-stop. What is it? Buffalo wing popcorn. It’s a savory caramel corn, and it’s crunchy, sweet, salty, and spicy all at once– the perfect snack for any occasion.
Bon Appetit has called this “the best recipe we’ve ever made,” and while I’m not sure it’s the best thing I’ve ever made myself, it’s certainly unique and interesting and did I mention addictive? It starts off lightly sweet, then the hot sauce kicks in and the easiest way to assuage the slight burn is to eat more popcorn… which of course starts it all over again, and before you know it you’ve gone through a large handful and are reaching for more!
** Note to all my readers: Just wanted to thank you all for keeping up with my posts! We reached the 5,000-view point last week, and just hit the 2,500 visitors mark this weekend! I’m thrilled that so many people seem to be enjoying the blog, and I can’t wait to share more projects with you! **
I’ll say right now that this cinnamon babka was something I made to bring to my great-aunt for her 90th birthday, so I have very few photos of the inside– it’s not like you can demand that the recipient slice into the loaf right away so you can get a picture for your blog. She did cut one slice which she shared with me, and it was delicious, so I feel comfortable posting about this recipe despite the lack of good pictures.
Anyway, cinnamon babka. I grew up eating a butter-enriched sweet loaf swirled with cinnamon for holidays, so cinnamon bread was always something I enjoyed. But this recipe, adapted from Cook’s Country, stands head and shoulders above that one (sorry, Dad). It’s soft and moist, and the cinnamon-sugar filling is thick and gooey, yet holds its shape in a way that I have to attribute to the flour and egg white– brilliant additions to the standard sugar-butter-cinnamon filling mixture.
So, after my first excursion into petit fours the matter rested for quite a while, until by chance I came across an article about mooncakes. You know, intricately-stamped pastries filled with red bean or other sweet pastes, given as gifts or served with tea for the Harvest Moon Festival or Lunar New Year. I actually don’t like them very much, flavor-wise. But I do appreciate the possibilities in detailed molds intended for desserts.
A little searching online revealed that the molds came in various shapes and sizes, including a nice little 50g capacity plunger set that came with interchangeable design plates. I got mine in a square shape with various floral design plates, figuring that even if I didn’t make mooncakes I could make something interesting.
Once the mooncake mold arrived, I immediately realized that it was just the right shape and size to make petit fours. If I used rolled fondant instead of poured fondant, I could mold it however I liked over a cube of cake. Of course, I don’t much care for regular fondant, even the marshmallow fondant I use for layer cakes– it’s chalky and cloyingly sweet. So, figuring it couldn’t hurt, I decided to add cream cheese to the recipe. Voila! Perfect. The new recipe maintained the flexibility of fondant, but the extra fat from the cream cheese added richness, which did a lot to cut the sugariness and reduce the rubbery texture. Continue reading