When I was younger I thought of cooking as an art–an art in which I wasn’t particularly skilled.
My mother would ask why I couldn’t replicate her excellent fried chicken, since I’d watched her make it enough.
I guess I wasn’t taking notes since I was probably mentally drooling and trying to stand close enough to get a good smell while avoiding the popping oil.
As a grown-up lady I discovered Alton Brown‘s cooking show, his cookbooks, and the wonder that is Cook’s Illustrated and their sister show America’s Test Kitchen. I was pleased to see cooking is as much a science as an art.
Science I can do.
Science has rules and an approximate expectation of the outcome. A recipe is really a formula and I can follow a formula.
Baking, more than any other aspect of food-making, requires a pretty strict adherence to instructions. Yea, rules!
All this to say, I have been doing a rigorous quality-control test of my clone cranberry bliss bar recipe.
The things I do for science.
Tests require a control group. In this delicious experiment, that’s original cranberry bliss bars straight from Starbucks.
I find their cake to be more moist, probably because of more fat. But, with two sticks of butter already, I’ll take mine as is.
I do like their larger chunks of a less-sweet white chocolate compared to my white chocolate chips. Also, their cranberries seem to be less dried and chewy and more tender, like the candied cherries in fruit cake.
I don’t like most commercial fruitcake or candied fruit, but for Starbucks year-end treat, it works. I may try to soak my cranberries before my next batch.
What I like better about my recipe is the increased ginger. It’s still subtle, but heavenly and very seasonal. I might even up the crystallized ginger content and not chop it so finely.
Also, at $2.25 a bar, I can make a pan of 12, a twenty-seven dollar value, for a fraction of that. I could sprinkle them with gold dust for that.
Tomorrow–shopping for elastic-waist pants and finding a Monday Weight Watchers meeting.
Do you think CBBs will count as a fruit?
P.S., here are some of my favorite science books.