Monday, December 21, 2009

Top Secret Sweets

Moonlighting as a restaurant hostess extraordinaire in the nation's capital, I often have conversations with guests that I walk away from thinking, "Did that really just happen?" Case in point, a recent exchange with one unassuming gentleman:
"I'm waiting for my friend. She used to be a chef for the CIA."
"Oh, haha!" I retorted to this common culinary conundrum in Washington, DC. Whenever throwing around an acronym like that in a town like this you can never be quite sure whether the speaker is referring to the Culinary Institute of America or, well, that place where Jason Bourne likes to hang out. In this case, it happened to be the latter, instantly summoning up images of another famous spy chef enjoying a recent bout of popularity.

Anyways, if you want to tell your friends you whipped up a creation with help from the CIA and leave them wondering, just in time to use up those holiday gift cards that other CIA is releasing a new tome to help you create candied confections in your home kitchen (or secret spy lair) just like the professionals. Chocolates and Confections at Home with The Culinary Institute of America is an unpretentious, step by step guide to help you tackle all types of sweets by taking the intimidation factor out of words like "candy thermometer" and "soft-ball stage." With chapters on truffles, brittles, fondants, marshmallows (!), molding and more, these recipes will be perfect to round out your holiday treat-making schedule once you just can't bring yourself to decorate another single gingerbread man.

So, when you arrive to your next holiday bash with a plate full of delicious buttercreams and meltaways and the host asks for your recipe, just be sure to say, "I'd tell you, but then..."

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