Better Butter Batter?

butterAs part of this holiday cook fest, I made some of my favorite savory shortbread cookies. I made many batches of these last year from a recipe called “Savory Parmesan Shortbread” on But this last batch was just too crumbly, and I can’t think of anything I did differently than last year except—I used super cheap butter. I mean, not even real store brand, but like a level below Wal-Mart store brand. While I’d think butter would be butter, maybe it isn’t?

Since it is our goal not to snarf these down, I’m either going to crush them and use them as part of a crust for an appetizer or to roll a cheese ball in OR I’m going to quickly put them out when we have company and just eat them. But I can tell they are not going to last long, because they are tasty—just crumbly. Maybe I should give them a spin in the food processer right now, as it is likely (though not assured) that we will not sit and eat crumbs with a spoon, but we might very well eat imperfect cookies that are not good enough to save for gifts.

 Boxes of Godiva or Russell Stover’s are looking like the safer gift for us to give everyone, if this cooking is going to fatten us up by eating the spares and the oops.

Adventures in Candyland

I have made rum balls and some truffles that I rolled in cocoa or coconut, but had never dipped any candy. But I came across a recipe that looked so easy, I thought—I could do that for gifts this year. It was basically as follows:

Bake a cake
Crumble it up while still warm and mix in a package of frosting
Chill, make into balls, freeze the balls and dip in candy coating.

How easy is that? I’ve never used candy coating, but I’m about the last person in the USA who hasn’t, so how hard can it be?

I made spice cake, added the frosting and, when the time came, melted a slab of the white bark stuff from the store and dipped my little cake balls. And it was pretty easy. But what I did notice (and, gentle reader if you are a gentle reader, you may want to skip this part) is that, as the white candy shell hardened, and the cake ball thawed, it became evident where any little gap in the shell was, from the toothpick I’d used or just from a failure to get a complete thick coating. Because tiny little spices cake extrusions appeared on about half a dozen of the cake balls. The color and size was very much what you’d see dragging behind a gold fish that a quick needed a quick swim in a bidet….. Charming image, I know, but that is what it looked like!
So, I cleaned that up and stuck them in the fridge. And later the freezer, so I could then take them off the tray and freeze them in a container.
But Philip and I each sampled a couple and our take on it was:

Way too sweet.

The coating is just overpoweringly sweet—and not flavorful in any other way. Which was not helped by what I’ve decided is too much frosting in the cake. The texture isn’t cake, it isn’t truffle, and it is sort of frosting. It tastes ok, but combined with the sweetness of the coating it is too sweet and not flavorful, and I’d not want to feature it in a gift basket. I’m not tossing these, since we do have a family thing to attend with 12 children under the age of 10 and said children are known to have no limit called “too sweet.”

My next batch will include a smaller proportion of frosting, which I’m inclined to make myself instead of using store bought, and I will be hitting the Wilton aisle and find some better candy melts to see if any of them are more flavorful. If not, I’m going back to tried and true recipes that don’t require dipping.

Cul de Sac in Paradise

To blog or not to blog, that is the question,
Whether ’tis nobler in the world to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous comments,
By posting to the web tales of joys and troubles,
And by exposing entertain—befriend?

So I join the hundreds of thousands of bloggers on the World Wide Web, to see if my voice in the Internet can be heard in the cacophony. And if it can be, do I have anything to say that merits being heard?

But the answer is that I can’t and won’t know without trying. So, I’m jumping in and will leave that answer up to you. Please feel free to comment. I’ll feel free to remove anything that is too very offensive from the comment fields. I hope to improve with time, and also, with time, learn more about what you like.

We’ll see how things go.

And, since this is my first time…….

Please Be Gentle!

Copyright 2012, Cul de Sac in Paradise.