Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The pizzelle were a hit and we had some artisanal NYC chocolates.

Today's entry for student cake month were some homemade Italian cookies.  The person who made and brought them isn't really Italian so what gives?  Apparently these were something that he had once, decided he liked them and then learned how to make them himself, you know, the usual stuff just like everybody else does right? Well not really so kudos to him for learning and for bringing them for us to enjoy.
A couple unknown treats lie in store!
I liked them so I learned how to make them - doesn't everyone do tha
Nice little stack of pizzelle.
He made pizzelle, which is not a little pizza like it sounds. Pizzelle are traditional Italian waffle cookies made from flour, eggs, sugar, butter or vegetable oil, and flavoring (usually anise or anisette, less commonly vanilla or lemon zest).  The batter is prepared then poured into a pizzelle mold, similar to a waffle iron that gives the cookie its unique snowflake pattern. The mold is then held over the burner of a stove to cook (unless it is electric which also happens.)  These are popular at Christmas and Easter neither of which we are near but, I told you, he just liked them.  We got them plain in a big stack, which was fun. They are frequently covered with powdered sugar and can even be used to make a sandwich with ice cream or cannoli filling. We didn't go there.
The shape comes from the mold. Snowflake?
They were very good!  They were not too crispy i.e. overcooked and not too mushy.  They had the right amount of crispness for sure. And of course the were enjoyable because, as a European  recipe, they are not sickeningly sweet. Everyone enjoyed them and suffice it to say the pile did not last too long.
Stacked them high!

And the stack is starting to decline!
For a complementary treat we also had some chocolates that came from New York City.  Another of our associates had visited recently and came across some candies made by Li-lac Chocolates which claims to be and probably is New York's oldest chocolate house and has been making hand made chocolates since 1923.  The package included a history of the place which certainly was news to us. 
From the oldest continuous chocolate house in NYC - LiLac!
Another slice of NYC history!
Looking good and mostly chocolate and nuts...even better!
They were very good, mostly dark chocolate with embedded nuts which we liked.  There were no issues with cream filling or the like that you realize you don't want after you take one bite.  All together the two treats made for a good flavorful time today at cake hour!

Monday, July 10, 2017

And the first student entry is......homemade lemon squares!

It's July which everyone associated with cake hour knows is student cake month. This is our friendly, non-competitive contest for the lab students to show us their cake hour stuff. It is also a surreptitious way to get them to bring in sweets for the rest of us but never mind that! We accept anything but prize homemade goodies a bit more.  As a matter of fact if it is not homemade you can't get the highest five star rating. I guess we are a little demanding in that regard.
First off with some lemon squares!
Today's kickoff entry was homemade lemon bars from our Brown Medical School student doing some concurrent research. These baked in a rectangular pan and then cut up into small squares so we suppose that makes them lemon squares.  These are tricky since they combine sweet and sour.  You have the sugar to lemon balance correct or they end up too tart or the sugar overwhelms the lemon to the point where you don't taste it.
Ready for eating and ready for their closeup!
We like the coarseness of the top!
Lemon curd over yellow cake makes for a sweet and sour treat.

Our student baker nailed it though.  These featured the lemon curd-like topping over a thin layer of yellow cake. They were baked well to come out nice and moist and the lemon balance - if we can call it that - was correct. Good job for the first entry and we give our gal 4 stars!!