Praline Squares or Pecan Candy

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Praline Squares or Pecan CandyThese Praline Squares or  Pecan Candy are one of those happy accidents that comes from just enough knowledge. I found a recipe for New Orleans Praline Pieces on  epicurious.com that sounded just like what I was looking for.

I had made pralines before and I remembered they always seemed grainy after they set up. So, in an attempt to make them less grainy or not grainy at all, I decided to replace some of the sugar with clear corn syrup as it is an invert sugar and helps reduce crystallization in sugar.

So out comes the pot and in goes everything except the pecans. The butter melts, a candy thermometer is clamped on and the bubbling mass cooks to a temperature of 236 degrees. I removed it from the heat and cooled it to 220°F as instructed. Continue reading

Toasted Sugar or Not!

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Items made with Toasted SugarI was recently toodling around the internet and came across a recipe for Toasted Sugar on Serious Eats by Stella Parker.

For all the chemistry involved please go to the article. I just wanted to know if it actually worked and what it tasted like.

I didn’t own a glass baking dish, so off to Walmart I went to get one. Easy enough. While there I picked up a four pound package of granulated sugar as called for.

A glass or ceramic baking dish is called for because they are poor conductors of heat and allow the sugar to darken without melting.

Here how it went. Continue reading

Getting the Most out of Baking Recipes

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Getting the Most out of Baking Recipes.comReading baking recipes is not as easy as reading a book for pleasure.  While it’s true, people read cookbooks for enjoyment, that isn’t the same as cooking or baking from them. Yet, there are a number of things that will help in understanding what the author of the recipe wants you to do.  Well written recipes follow a certain form. Continue reading

From 1 Recipe Comes Multiple Cake Layers

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Many, many years ago when I first opened my bakery, the challenge was finding recipes for cake layers that worked and could be scaled up.  It seemed like all I did was test

Then I discovered, as did everyone, “The Cake Bible” by Rose Levy Beranbaum.  It was a game changer for anyone interested in baking and cakes.  The explanations of what was going on and why in each recipe helped us understand baking better.  At that point in time (1988)  there was not a lot of information on the science of baking which made this book all the more valuable.

I found the recipes in her book for cake layers to be the recipes I was looking for.  Although I used recipes from many sources, including those I came up with, “The Cake Bible” was always my back up. Continue reading

White Wine Amaretto Peach Sauce

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

White Wine Amaretto Peach SauceI recently made this White Wine Amaretto Peach Sauce for the restaurant to serve over peach ice cream. As I was peeling the peaches, I thought of all the ways this could be used for a quick summer dessert.

If you have been following the weather across the states (I realize most people don’t particularly care about the weather elsewhere but I have children in other states and like to see if they are as bad off as we are), you will know that St. Louis is experiencing a brief respite from the very hot temperatures. As a result, I have been indulging myself by going back in the kitchen for short sprints.

I’m not sure when I started making this, but it was a while back. The wine and amaretto give the White Wine Amaretto Peach Sauce a depth of flavor that sugared peaches can’t match. I have used both Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio white wines with excellent results. Continue reading