Thursday, January 24, 2008

Caramel is just burnt sugar...

...very burnt when I'm cooking. But let me back up. First, I quickly got out of my bad mood yesterday...thank you! Whenever I realize I'm down, I try to do something to change it, and yesterday, my decision was to go out to the supermarket to get the ingredients to make mini-apple pies with my twins. We bought apples and pie crust, then set about making our delicious creations.

The boys helped me grate the apples (okay, helped me EAT the apples), helped me mix in the sugar and flour (okay, helped me SPILL the sugar and flour), sprinkled in cinnamon (okay, they mostly missed the bowl), and helped me roll out the pie crust (okay, knocked stuff off the counter with the rolling pin and put huge dents and holes in the crust).

We had a great time. Seriously, I love this kind of stuff. We ended up with some "pies" that looked like mini-calzones, and some that looked like those purse appetizers you get at a Thai restaurant. They ended up pretty tasty, too.

My problem started when I felt like we shouldn't waste the pie crust that was left after we had cut out the circles for the mini-pies. So, I decided to make some fried dough. Good idea so far, right? And what's better than fried dough rolled in cinnamon sugar? Here's where my thinking fell apart. I got worried: the dough would come out too hot for my boys to roll in the sugar. That's probably true. Then I made the stupidest decision of the day. I let them roll the dough in cinnamon sugar ahead of time.

Yes, I do cook. Quite often. I know very well what happens when you apply high heat to sugar. It melts, caramelizes, and, well, burns. I'm not sure why this didn't occur to me ahead of time. The first batch didn't actually turn out all that badly since the oil probably wasn't quite hot enough yet. I realized I had made an error, but figured I'd go ahead with the second batch anyway since it didn't seem dire. I took the first batch out and put it on paper towels to drain. Remember that, I'll come back to it. Then I put in the second batch to cook. Back to the first batch: I realized that sugar + hot = hard candy when it cools. So now I return to the first batch, which has begun hardening, melding into the paper towels. I try to pick some of it off and put it on a plate, burning my fingers. I'm busy taking turns between scraping hot crystallizing sugar off of paper towels and blowing on my fingers to keep them from burning.

That's when I notice the smoke. From the second batch. Which has now turned completely black and burnt. I took it off the heat very quickly and luckily there were no flames. Just completely burnt sugary dough. Oh, delicious.

Thankfully, the only good decision I made in this whole misguided effort was to wait to start the frying until the boys were snapped in their booster seats eating dinner. I figured it wouldn't be safe for them to be anywhere near a fry pan of hot oil. So, at least they were happily eating and enjoying my antics from a distance.

Random unrelated thought: are coats out of fashion? I drove past a local high school today, and half of the kids outside were just wearing hoodies. It was 27 degrees out! I'm not saying I never did something just to fit in, or in the name of fashion, but it's pretty darn cold out and these kids were just milling about. Kids today! Hee!

1 comment:

Giovanna said...

This post made me laugh! I could just picture it!
Hey, kuddos for making the effort.