Friday, October 3, 2014

Snowballs



Not to be confused with the Hostess snack, these Snowballs are completely homemade! (Or, rather, Housemade. Because, you know, I made them at work.)

The restaurant industry is a fascinating one, that cannot be contested. There are a million factors as to why a restaurant could fail, and one of these factors as far as losing money goes is over buying. What does that mean? It just means that you didn't quite keep the best track of your inventory, and you bought stuff when you do need to buy stuff. Now it's sitting on the shelf, not being sold, and therefore not making any money. I have a lot of the stuff on my rack at work. Things like almond paste and flaked coconut and ground oats. They're not saying that I can't use, but there's things that aren't on my menu. So, now, in an attempt to help out the restaurant, I have decided to turn to a childhood favorites: snowballs.

(Disclaimer: I have never eaten a hostess snowball in my life. When I was a kid, I pointed at one of the gas station once asked for my dad if I can have it, and he said "no, sweetheart, no food should be that pink." And that was the end of it. I never tried it. But I'm very familiar with them, as I would see them in the lunch pails of my friends at school growing up. And in various gas stations around the country.)

I had initially gotten the idea from Chef Elizabeth Falkner, a very famous pastry chef, whom I admire quite a bit. She's got this shop called Citizen Cake where she makes art out of cake. I don't know why, but it somehow inspired me to make a sexy version of that gas station childhood classic. So I googled what a snowball actually was: chocolate cake, marshmallow like fluffy stuff, pink coconut. Easy! So off I went.



The best ever chocolate cake recipe I have come across has got to be, hands down, the devil's food cake recipe from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery Cookbook. It's a masterpiece. That cake brings me closer to God. (Spend $12 and get a little scale that reads grams. It's worth it.)

Devil's Food Cake
202 g AP flour
62 g cocoa powder (alkalized, please)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch of kosher salt
112 g eggs (cracked and strained, about 2)
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
172 g mayo
205 g water, at body temperature

Preheat the oven to 325 F, and prepare a sheet pan with parchment and pan spray.
Sift all of your dry ingredients together whisk in the salt. Set this on another sheet of parchment paper for later.

Put your eggs, sugar, and vanilla into the bowl of standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk to combine, and then for 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape the bowl, then whip at medium high speed for about 5 minutes. Add the mayo and whisk to combine. Remove the bowl from the standing mixer and fold in the dry ingredients, alternating with the water, with two additions each using a spatula. For the batter into the prepared pan and, using an offset spatula, read it into an even layer making sure that it reaches into the corners. 10 minutes if using a sheet pan. You can also use muffin cups, but I can't give you time for that since every oven works a little differently. 10 minutes. It should be fine. But let cool completely before using/sculpting.

With this cake, cut circles using a cookie cutter and stack, using either marshmallow fluff or just melty, gooey marshmallows that you blitz in the microwave for a few seconds. But I would recommend just getting a big jar of marshmallow fluff and going to town on this, because you're also using it to "frost" the outside of your cakes and get the coconut to stick!

As for dyeing the coconuts flakes, I prefer the Wilton paste eyes. But invest in a pair of gloves. Because that stuff will stay in your hands like no other. I like Wiltons rose color for this particular application. I also use it in other cakes and frosting s. Wilton really does put out a great line of products as far as colors go. They last for a long time, and the colors are always really intense! Look at what they did to these cupcakes.



See? Totally perfect pink color, just in time for October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Thanks for reading and happy cooking! Post your results and request for new blog content in the comments below.

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