Of course, the produce and freezer sections remained as they were, along with the alcohol aisles and their corresponding sommelier station. Just before checking out, I found Ruby Cacao Häagen-Dazs on sale. A 2 for $10 deal prompted acquisition of the tried-and-true Vanilla Almond.
Into mason jars filled halfway with ice, the following were added: 2 parts lemonade, 1 part espresso, and 1 part tonic water. Distinct layers remained, along with luscious crema on the surface. The combination would fare equally well with cold brew.
Though, the Mochi Bites were notably the worst of the selection. The pieces were rigid and bland instead of elastic and addicting. Being further coated in unsweetened shredded coconut heightened its dismal texture without contributing depth. The savoury corn flake-esque topping and goopy white sauce were unidentifiable and unenjoyable.
Most of their offerings fell within a 3 for $10 deal, while Small Pretzels rang in at $5, Large Pretzels at $7, and Focaccia rounds at $8.50. Custard Tarts retailed at 4 for 10, while Butter Tarts (plain, walnut, or pecan) could be combined with the 3 for $10 deal. The system was confusing at best, leading to a hefty amount of deliberation before coming to a decision.
Between my coworker and I, we had opted to split four Custard Tarts, one Pizza Pretzel, and at least two cookies. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, the prices were skewed. Received instead were two Custard Tarts, priced as if they fell within the 3 for $10 promo. Raising my case to the lady manning the stall was of no use, for her declarations were inconsistent. Ultimately, we resolved to dismiss the unfortunate circumstance.
The cookies were greasy and appalling, with me feeling sickened after ingestion of a small chunk. In place the gratifying crispy edge associated with creamed butter came the satiating tenderness of an oil-based product. Their texture was reminiscent of a slice-able bar instead of a crunchy-chewy cookie. In addition, the chocolate chips were dry and utterly unappealing. The M&M-containing version was comparatively better, yet its base dough was equally as disappointing.
Inclusion of tomato sauce in the Pizza Pretzel made for an interesting profile, though there was minimal cheesiness present, despite the abundance of charred, cheddar-tinted threads.
Neither the Pecan Butter tart nor overcharged Nata had been sampled, though I had arrived at my verdict: That Pretzel Dough was sheer tragedy.
Compiling the ingredients was, quite literally, a piece of cake, for whole eggs would be whisked with sugar, combined with a milk-oil mixture, and, lastly, mixed with flour and baking powder. The inclusion of a chemical leavener had eliminated the need for prolonged whisking of the eggs for volume. Afterwards, the batter would be divided between two 6-inch aluminum pans for a speedy baking time of twenty minutes. No sheet pan lining needed!
But, of course, the results were considerably telltale of the amount of effort required. The layers emitted a predominantly yellow, eggy hue with cross-sections bearing both large and small air pockets. The observation allowed to be deduce the following:
- Chemical leavener: Larger, non-uniform air pockets, but faster to construct batter; less diligence required to obtain volume
- Physical leavener: Aerated eggs forming fine, uniform air pockets, consequently yielding a soft, delicate texture
Milk and oil had contributed to moistness, allowing the sponge to remain plush without a brushing of syrup. However, the irregular air pockets and sporadic structure lent a tougher mouthfeel, as opposed to the airiness I had coveted.
By this point, I was frantically scrambling to complete the ordeal. The lumpy mess was discarded with tremendous annoyance, all bowls and tools were rinsed out rapidly, and the process was restarted.
The second time around, I folded in the melted white chocolate all at once, just as I had for previous mousse iterations. All was swell: the formula persisted with a smooth sheen.
Half of the cream was intended to be plain, while the other half would be laced with earl grey. The latter was folded with the earl grey paste I had crafted earlier. Lo and behold, the same outcome unfolded. Why?!
Disposal of the curdled portion meant insufficient cream to fill the cake. Needless to say, I proceeded anyway.
In later consultations with Sunday Baking, I was informed that the heavy cream had either failed to maintain its temperature or had been overwhipped. Given my careful attention to temperature control, I alluded my failure to the second possibility. We agreed to revert back to a hand mixer for better control over the incorporation of volume, despite the undeniable convenience a stand mixer brings.