Sorry about my recent disappearing act (I've been having some technical difficulties with my internet connection) but never fear, because I have returned with a REALLY cool post for you!
A really good friend of mine named Mica is running a pretty successful business by the name of Confectioneiress Cupcakes & Sweets and she honestly makes some of the best cupcakes and desserts that I have ever had. When you get a chance, you should definitely take a look at her blog because it posts her current or upcoming cupcake flavors and where you can find her to get your hands on some of them.
She recently invited me over to help brainstorm and experiment with some new flavors and being the foodie that I am, I instantly jumped at the opportunity. I will be the first to admit that although I am a pretty decent baker, I am far better at cooking entrees, so I looked at this as an opportunity to learn from someone who I know for a fact is amazing at what she does. Her initial idea was to start with a cake flavor that could stand up to any of the experimental ideas we came up with, and dark chocolate was the winner. Her dark chocolate cake recipe (sorry, I can't give that out :-p) is probably the best I've ever had. It was moist, aromatic, dense without being too dense, and as decadent as possible. I could have eaten the cupcake itself without any frosting and been perfectly happy.
Another goal we were shooting for was to step outside of the box; meaning to come up with flavors that would appeal to the people who aren't afraid to be adventurous with their food and try something new. We both agreed that being adventurous is one of the fun aspects about being a foodie. So many people say they don't like things before they even give them a try, and because of that , they miss out on some fantastic experiences. You never know what you will like until you try it...and if you liked it, try it again! Thats how I try to live my life when it comes to food and I've had some of the best gastronomic experiences I can remember, simply because I pushed myself to be open minded.
The flavors that we ended up experimenting with (and they were all great) were: Bacon Dark Chocolate, Strawberry Balsamic Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Pink Peppercorn and Dark Chocolate Curry.
All in all, this experimenting session was both eye opening and fun at the same time. Its almost a necessity that with food you have to be open to try new things and new combinations. Sometimes the weirdest combinations can turn out to be one of the most delicious things you've ever eaten - just look at candy corn and peanuts. Its also a good idea to give things a second try. Just because you don't like the way one person prepared a dish or used an ingredient, doesn't mean you'll dislike the way someone else does it.
So I'll leave you all tonight with a challenge:
Go out and try something new or something that you don't think you'll like and let me know how it goes- and I'll do the same. For example, I personally don't like cinnamon, but I also know that I have never had cinnamon done well; it has always been done with a very heavy hand and the only thing that I tasted was cinnamon. So what I'm going to do is go to Mica for one of her Apple Cinnamon Churro cupcakes because I know that she is good at what she does and I feel confindent that I wont be overwhelmed with cinnamon. Who knows, I might find a new favorite flavor.
...And all because I was open minded.