Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kudos to John Roeser II,III, IV,

Yesterday in the Chicago Sun Times there was a great, great story about Roeser's Bakery on North Ave in Chicago. It was two full pages, lots of colour pictures, invaluable coverage. They deserve the recognition. In 2011 the bakery will be 100 years old. What business does that? It's true testimony to their keen marketing skills and commitment to quality baked goods.

Yesterday I was dipping florentine cookies in chocolate and I realized that it is well after Memorial Day. In years past we always stopped making this variety because the summer humidity is to hard on them. The only thing holding them together is caramelized sugar. Their isn't any type of protein, be it eggs or flour to create any structure. We cook sugar, butter and honey to a precise temperature, and pour the syrup over sliced almonds. We fold them together an dump the mixture out on a sheet pan. Once it has cooled some, we divide them into pieces and drop them onto a silicone baking mat that looks like a shallow cup cake mold. We bake them and cool them. Once cooled they get dipped into chocolate on one side, and scraped with a decorating comb. They are really delicious cookies. Very popular at Passover and Christmas.

It's one of two reasons why we are still making them this late in the year. Either, the humidity hasn't gotten high enough or the fact that over the winter we completely revamped our formula/process. Last fall I contacted Robert Jorin, CMB, who is the bread and pastry chair out at CIA Greystone in Napa Valley. A very, very Swiss man. Family had a bakery in Bern, Switzerland forever. I discussed with him a few times our problems of lousy florentines and over a couple of phone calls we're in. They are really nice. Stay crisp and shiny. I'm really looking forward to this upcoming Christmas season. Remind me I said that come December twenty first.
Incidentally Robert did the viennoiserie for the '99 team that won the Coupe du Monde.

Gotta head upstairs, this is graduation weekend at Northwestern University. Weekends like this only happen once, every June. This town is up for grabs. Weather's gonna be nice Saturday, markets should be busy.


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