Luckily, there is a lot of inspiration out there on the interwebs. Google is a strange and dangerous place. Flikr is full of colour and imagination. Twitter always buzzes in your ear with new tips and tricks. There is no way your inspiration should end. But, without initiative, inspiration means diddly-squat. That's why I love online baking challenges. We've been involved in Cupcake Hero, Iron Cupcake, and Mystery Box these past couple of years. They have inspired us to get real creative and, dare I say it, downright freaky. The best thing about these contests isn't the prizes, but the sweets they inspire.
Let me give you an example:
I promise you, crème brûlée is not snooty. Nor is it complicated or dangerous (unless you leave Mr. C alone with the blow torch for too long). It's a really simple. And, lets face it, it's really impressive. So, if you are out wooing a gentlemen or gentlelady, listen up. The road to love is paved with two things:
Crème brûlée and Nutella.
adapted from Cooks Illustrated
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 vanilla bean
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for dusting
2 tablespoons Nutella, melted
1) Preheat your oven to 325F. In a sauce pan add your cream, the scrapped insides of your vanilla bean, and your bean husk. Heat over medium until it just starts to foam up and boil. Take off right away and set aside.
2) While the cream is cooling, whip your sugar and egg yolks until light and creamy. Take your cream and pour it through a strainer, taking out the vanilla bits and husk. Pour a bit of your cream slowly into your yolks and whisk slowly to temper. Now pour your tempered yolks into the rest of your cream. Stir, add the melted nutella, and keep stirring until everything is combined.
3) Pour about a cup into per ramekin (you'll use four ramekins in total). The ramekins in an ovenproof casserole dish and pour enough water so that it reaches just below halfway up the ramekin. Place the dish into the oven and cook for about 30-35 minutes, or just until the centre is nice and jiggly.
4) Carefully remove the ramekins (with tongs!) and transfer to the fridge for about 3 to 4 hours so the mixture can set completely. When you're ready to consume, take the ramekin out of the fridge, sprinkle with sugar and torch the top of the sucker until nice and dark.
Because this is a contest, we have to mention the prizes!
- Whisk and cupcake necklace from Moon & Star Designs
- The Smartshopper Electronic Grocery List Organizer
- Beanilla Sampler Pack of Vanilla Beans
- Lenox Personalized Musical Cupcake
- 1,000 ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies & Cakes
- Endless Vanilla and Cinnamon Extract
- Unlimited Layers: A Recipe for Turning Your Passion into Profits
- $50 Gift Certificate to Theme Kitchen
- $50 Coupon Redeemable for Organic Valley Products
- $50 Coupon Redeemable for Organic Prairie Products