maple everything

A couple of months ago I decided to join Daring Bakers. My friend Nancy had joined them and I was growing a bit envious of all the stuff she was getting to make, and of the ideas it gives you – also, she was so secretive of the whole thing that I wanted summadat. So after the probationary period (a month) I was finally allowed to bake the secret recipe. I was pretty excited about it, but when it finally came around, I was slightly disappointed: maple syrup? bacon cups?

I am not a fan of maple syrup. It tastes weird (as do most syrups – oh, did I tell you I don’t like jams? Well, honey and syrupy stuff is for the most part just as bad). Also, bacon is far too amazing and precious to use with maple syrup. So yeah, the first challenge didn’t quite endear itself to me. I kept checking the forums and seeing what ideas everyone would come up with (to be honest, between Nancy and I we had come up with most of those), and kept wondering what I’d do. It was my first challenge too, so how could I not do it?

Eh well, I did end up making it.

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com

I started by making the mousse; I’d figure out what to do next. I reluctantly bought the maple syrup, took it home and left it in the same spot for two weeks. I didn’t really want to think about it.

maple mousse on maple snap

maple mousse on maple snap

I eventually decided to go for it. I did. It wasn’t particularly challenging, and I finished it really quickly and made a batch of macarons in between, using the egg whites I had left from the mousse.

Let’s talk about my saga with macarons for a minute, as it is at this point still ongoing. I seem to have a better idea of what’s going wrong when something does go wrong, but still no success with colours. Ah well, at least they’re not ridiculously ugly blobs.

maple mousse with macaron

the worlds smallest macaron

The macarons made me happy, but then it was time for the edible container. I had set my mind on making Dorie Greenspan’s Maple Tuiles (maple on maple seemed sensible), but with a 3 hour to overnight wait for the dough it seemed like it wasn’t going to work – this was at about 4 pm on a sunday, and I had to make the best of the light available.

I went for brandy snaps instead. I made them using maple syrup instead of golden syrup (I have to use up the bottle anyway), and although they didn’t come out as thin and tuile-like as I would have wanted, they were still ok. I tried to make a quenelle – after all, the daring bakers are all about experimenting, right? – but it seems like I don’t have the right tools. Seems daft really, but all my spoons are rounded and yes, I do blame them.

The mousse is quite stiff – I expected it to be soft but there’s far too much gelatine in it for that – it almost wobbles. Probably due to my cooking methods (I wasn’t too happy with not cooking the egg so I returned the mixture to the hob for a couple of minutes, thus making it thick – which makes me wonder if gelatine is actually necessary at all). Regardless.

maple mousse

sprig of mint on top makes it prettier

I assembled the dessert but it seemed quite boring, visually; so, I did what anyone would do. I added a tiny little macaron on top, filled with mousse. Seriously, I might start making macarons that size, they’re adorable.

So there you have it, my first entry for the Daring Bakers. Not over the moon with this one, but I guess if I liked maple syrup I’d have an entirely different opinion. Here’s hoping the next Daring Bakers challenge is more, umm, challenging.

maple

maple syrup food

Maple Syrup Snaps
(adapted from Bron Marshall)
1 tbsp maple syrup
40 g butter, unsalted
35 g brown sugar
45 g flour
1 tsp ground ginger
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare a baking sheet with a silicone mat, and have ready a cooling rack and something to roll your biscuits on (I used a rolling pin)
In a pan, heat the maple syrup, butter and brown sugar until melted and combined. Remove from heat and sift flour and ginger into the mixture until combine. Spoon teaspoon sized portions onto the mats and spread to form a thin biscuit (I only made 3 at a time). Bake for 5 minutes and remove with a spatula, placing them on the shape you want them to adapt to. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes and then transfer to the rack until cool.
Yields about 10 biscuits.
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