Sometimes I think I go to Hogwarts School of Wizardry. Magic happens here. Last week, I witnessed simple, granulated sugar turn to from white to brown to gold.
This is what happened….My Chef began stirring the sugar in a small saucepan and within moments a transformation occurred. Presto! The melting sugar became a smooth, light caramel brown and gave off a buttery, rum-like, sweet aroma. Color, smell and texture had all changed. It was a totally different substance that what we had started with.
Magic, I tell you.
Kazam! Before my class even realized what was going on, the Chef dipped his bare hand from ice water into the bubbling, molten sugar and out back into the water. With a sly smile, he ensured us that he was not a masochist. We’d just witnessed the “Cold-Water Test,” which helps determine the cooking stage of the sugar. I’m not exactly sure why one would oppose the alternative, less-terrifying option of a candy thermometer, but then again, it does super cool to reach your hand into a pot of boiling sugar.
After the hand-dipping act, the Chef poured the sugar out onto the table’s surface where the kneading and shaping process began. This is when the next bit of magic occurred. The once brownish, caramel colored sugar became shiny yellow! This was spinning straw into gold, Rumpelstiltskin stuff!
Not only was the color change spellbinding, but also the Chef’s ability to create perfectly flat, ribbon-like pieces was absolutely entrancing. Pull and fold and pull and fold and then stretch along the table and stretch along over the table again, and again, and POOF! MAGIC! A BOW!
The bow was created for top of our French wedding cake (AKA: Croque en Bouche). Delicious. Beautiful. Magical. Mr.Potter has nothing on our Croque en Bouche.