Monday, September 15, 2008

Wedding Baking Project #1

As mentioned earlier, I am making the desserts for the wedding of a very good friend of mine. The reception is all cocktails and appetizers, so to go along with the cocktail party theme and a throw back to days past (and because they don't really care for cake), they would like a variety of small sweet treats for their guests. The groom has an allergy to milk and wants to use seasonal fruits in the desserts, so there was a bit of a challenge to come up with the dessert menu.

I'm all about abundance and making sure my friends know I love them through food they enjoy, so trying to learn from lessons past, I am keeping the complicated desserts to a minimum and plumping up the menu with some easier items to produce in larger quantities. I have been learning that I far too easily bite off more then I can chew without stress (you should see me at a buffet!) so I have been practicing restraint with this project... ok eventually I started practicing restraint. Initially I was crazy!

I had originally decided loftily that I was going to make everything without milk so that there would be no worries about the groom eating something that had touched or gotten crumbs on it from a dairy filled item. I was going to spend lots of time in the kitchen testing and experimenting to make totally awesome desserts that no one would suspect contained no dairy. Only one item would have dairy for the bride, lemon tartlets.

Well time past. Weekends slipped by and well.... this weekend was day one of trying to turn an otherwise awesome recipe which uses butter, into an awesome recipe using butter substitutes. Did I mentioned that the wedding is this upcoming Saturday? Umm yea.

So I oddly decided on making brownies non-dairy even though I know the groom doesn't care for chocolate, my non-dairy side of the menu had plenty of choices and we had already decided that a few well identified dairy filled items would be ok as long as the caterer knew to keep them separate on the display. Still, I was determined.

Many batches of brownies were made, and tasted and analyzed. I had friends and co-workers all vote and give me feedback. I messed up my little test though by having one batch of butter containing brownies to compare to. Well duh.. most people loved the butter brownies over the alternates for flavor, and some for texture. Some people liked the the alternates though and when asked to pick between the non-dairy versions there was a clear favorite (even though some people SWORE the loosing batch was awesome!). So I learned that personal preference, experience and expectations all play a very big role in what someone expects in a brownie. I spent a lot of time with these brownies and I found that the butter version was actually overly buttery and the "fake" butter version had a better color and chocolaty taste but were a bit greasier.

The bride has said I could go with the butter version if I would like, but I've already purchased the "fake" butter of the winning batch. I wasn't going to bake the brownies for the wedding until Friday anyway so I have some time to think it over.

Tomorrow...making the shopping list!


Starshine said...

You can't go wrong with Brownies, Cherry! When I lived in Spain and couldn't find vegetable oil anywhere to add to my box brownie mix, i used olive oil, and they still tasted awesome!


J at said...

I'm not sure if you're brave or insane, or both, but either way, you're an awesome friend to do all of this for your friends. :)

C said...

Oh, they look wonderful! Cherry, you are one really good friend! What a huge undertaking! Your friends are very lucky to have you in their lives!

Sarah said...

Yeah, I couldn't figure out the texture until Liz explained the lack of dairy... It was a fun experiment to be part of :)

Autumn's Mom said...

I miss being one of your tasters!!!!!

Our chocolate mint ice cream was a hit last night. I have never liked mint ice cream until I made my own. haha