Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Bouncing Apple

The other day, I decided that I would open a cute little bakery-type shop in Willow Glen or perhaps Los Gatos and call it The Bouncing Apple. I would sell cookies, muffins, fancy little cakes, and homemade candies. I also decided that I would have a really innovative candy that would make The Bouncing Apple famous. On sunny days, I would set out a chalkboard in front of my shop that would boast in swirly handwriting: Home of the famous -insert name of innovative candy here-.
So last night, I worked on creating my famous candy. I thought maybe it would be dried pineapple covered in chocolate and rolled in shredded, sweetened coconut. But we didn't have any dried pineapple, which is rare in our house, so that was a flop. I thought about chopping up almonds, mixing the pieces with dried blueberries, then rolling the mixture in chocolate until coated and dropping the glop into cupcake liners. But we didn't have dried blueberries. I remembered as I was pulling out the ingredients that I had eaten the last of our huge Costco bag for breakfast a few days ago. I managed to use the meager supplies of my cupboards to create a few candies, though.The first thing I made was a peanut "truffle." I mixed peanut butter and sugar to create a sweet, fluffy mixture. Then I added a copious amount of chopped peanuts to the bowl and stirred it all up. This I shaped into two large, lumpy spheres.

They were dunked into semisweet chocolate and sprinkled with chopped peanuts. And they actually came out looking pretty darn nice, and tasted good too.So I'd call those a success, though hardly gourmet. I'll sell them in a pretty box sectioned off into four compartments, with a truffle per compartment and a big gold bow. One dollar per box. Yes. Yes, that is what I will do.
Since my peanutty confection came out so nicely, I decided to move on to almonds. Basically, I plunked a few into some melted chocolate and then rolled them in coconut. They looked all right, tasted fine, but were nothing special.While I had the almonds out, I decided to put them to another use. Stirring together sliced almonds and semisweet chocolate infused with orange extract proves to have a very nice effect on the taste buds. I kind of went a little overboard with the orange extract though, so I added some ground cinnamon too, to balance everything out. It was yumma-lishis.
I had some leftover melted chocolate, so I made a crispy rice ball, mini marshmallows covered in chocolate and rolled in Rice Krispies, covered a lemon peel in chocolate and sprinkled it with powdered sugar, and dunked a few dried montgomery cherries in the last dregs at the bottom of the bowl. The crispy rice ball tasted like a Crunch bar, but way better. (According to my sister.) The marshmallow things were okay. I can't tell you about the lemon peel, nobody's had the guts to try the thing yet.
Now I was running out of ideas, which resulted in this:

What in the world could that unattractive glob be? you wonder aloud. That, my friends, is what I like to call the Ranger Cup. Almonds and peanuts and dried cherries, oh my. Coconut and crisp rice and chocolate... oh my. That hunk is basically all of the ingredients mixed together, with chocolate acting as a sort of paste. Is it edible? you may ask. I would assume so. I did not eat any of it, but my dad did and he said it was good. He may have just been trying to spare my feelings, though. We could always use it as a hockey puck, if the need ever arises.(Click on the picture to see it in, you know, CLOSE UP.)
I'll wait for you to get over the shock. Go barf if you need to, it's okay. Really. What could that possibly be? you moan, your face turning a sickly shade of pond-scum green. That, my friends, is my tea chocolate. It is chocolate, mixed with half a tea bag's worth of green tea, and then covered with the other half. It looks like a dog crapped on somebody's lawn, then the grass was mowed so those little flecks of grass that spew out of the rear of the lawnmower got stuck onto the still-fresh pile of poop. Yum. You know what? I'm gonna let you have the first bite. Go on, try it. No, you first. Really. Go ahead.
I was discouraged after that set of failures, and decided to ditch the chocolate. So I concocted a sugary brine to soak lemon slices in. I let them soak overnight, and now I've got a delicious sampling of candied lemons. They came out very nicely. I covered them in a layer of sugar and let them dry so they had a sweet crystallized layer.Anyway, that is two mild successes, two epic failures, and the rest ho-hums. My dreams are officially crushed.



Joanne Gover Yoshida said...

Great experiments.
Keep dreaming!

Jeni said...

Thanks, but my dreams are shattered into several thousands of tiny shards.
(Call the custodian, we better get those swept up before somebody gets hurt.)