Tuesday, February 21

Oven Test

I mentioned that I really liked my new range, but now that I've gotten a chance to do an oven test, I absolutely love it!

The oven dimensions on the Lacanche are little smaller then American ovens tend to run, but it will still in your regular roasting pan and I’m not going to bake anything larger then that. The small size helps it kept an even temperature throughout. My husband tested the thermostat and he said that the air temperature swing on the oven is about 32 degrees, which is on the low side maintaining a fairly consistent temperature over the baking period.

Being European, of course, the dial is in Celsius, but we have a conversion chart nearby and it only takes a second to look up. I’ve already got it down that 350F is 175C, so I expect I’ll start to memorize other frequent temperature settings soon.

However, my favorite part is that it is incredibly well insulated. After having the oven on 350F for over an hour and a half, I couldn’t detect an air temperature difference in my somewhat small kitchen. I placed my bare palm on the oven door and it merely felt warm. Of course, this will help reduce energy use every time I use it. I’ll actually be able to use my oven all summer long without overheating our living space and forcing the air conditioning to work overtime. I enjoy baking and really missed using my oven this past summer, so this realization makes me very happy.

…And what better test of an oven then cookies.

The balls are Mexican Wedding Cakes (a.k.a. Pecan Balls or Polvorenes). I’d type up the recipe for you, but honestly after much hunting around and experimenting with different ways of making them I found the perfect recipe at epicurious.com. I make the recipe exactly as written except that I double the cinnamon and mix it in with the other dry ingredients instead of tossing it in with the coating sugar.

The hearts are a Mocha cut-out cookie that I found in one of those Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookie Special Magazines about five years ago and left essentially the same.
Mocha Hearts

½ cup softened butter
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons instant espresso granules
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
Dash salt
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon Kaluha
1½ cups flour
¾ cup semisweet chocolate pieces

Mix butter on high for about 30 seconds. Add next 4 ingredients and beat until well combined. Beat in egg yolk and Kaluha until well combined. Beat in flour.

Divide dough in half. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350. On lightly floured surface, roll out half the dough at a time to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out with cookie cutters to your preferred shape. Place about an inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes or until tops look dry. (These over bake very quickly). Cool a couple minutes on cookie sheet and then transfer to wire rack.

Once cool, melt chocolate pieces in small saucepan on low or microwave at half power, stirring frequently. Dip a small portion of each cookie into chocolate and allow to dry on wax paper. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.


utenzi said...

The insulation that your oven possesses (that's a lot of s's), Lora, sounds great. My oven leaks heat like a seive. There's one burner up top that I can't have anything near when the oven is on 'cause the escaping heat can almost cause water to boil.

Yes, it's a cheap oven!

Those are awfully nice looking cookies. Yum! Anything with brown sugar and Kahlua in it will get my vote!

gypsy said...

Those are beautiful! I love love love to cook, but I cannot bake for anything. Maybe I'll start blaming it on my cheap, non-European oven. Yeah, that's the problem...

Mike said...

Ohhh, yummmyyyy!!!!!!! Isn't it great having the right tools for the job?

Bearette24 said...

that looks so good.