Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fats and flavors

I'm tickled by all the possibilities that arise from the concept that I brought up 2 posts ago, about infusing fat with flavors (in that case it was basil infused butter for cookies). The fact that fats are particularly good at absorbing aroma molecules is excellent leeway for producing unique and interesting flavors in baked goods and candies and the like. I'm dreaming of the endless possibilities as I type. Mint chocolate fudge? Cinnamon caramels? Brown Butter Sage cupcakes!!!!???? Geeze I need a test kitchen.

10 comments:

c3 said...

I almost commented on this when you made your cookie entry. I've never infused fats and am unsure how it's done. Can you please be so kind as to enlighten me?

Desirae said...

I love making flavored oils and infusing fats when cooking. I meant to comment when you did your cookie post, but I have made coriander cookies with shaved dark chocolate and pine nuts. Infusing the butter with the crushed coriander seeds really gave an amazing citrus flavor. I wasn't really happy with the texture of the cookies, but I might try it again with your recipe!

Nick N said...

c3
I just cook the flavor im trying to infuse in the fat over low heat for a long period of time.

desirae
those really sound delicious

Jumper said...

I wonder if you could make actual "peanut butter", butter flavored with peanuts but without the actual peanut paste.

Bob said...

Harold McGee has a great article related to this

Essence of Nearly Anything

WindintheWires said...

I'm also curious as to how to infuse the fats with flavors, but wouldn't melting the fat signifigantly alter the texture of the finished product?

cook eat FRET said...

catching up on you
you are... how do you say... amazing!

next time i'm in nyc (may-ish) take the train in and i'll buy us lunch!!!

Trig said...

You are definitely on the right track, but remember that much of the experience is olfactory and even more is probably generated in the brain as a result of quite subtle triggers, rather than arriving as stimuli en masse. Fat=flavour is a common mantra, but not adequate. Go back to McGee and also check out Heston's thoughts (though I'm personally inclined to the view that there are seven taste sensations, rather than five - the additional ones being pungent and astringent). What's really important is to understand what goes with what (although that's probably as much culturally determined as generic). So the food pairing stuff from Martin Lersch, Bernard Lahousse and others is really important.

Nick N said...

c3, just steep the item you want to infuse with the fat in the fat for a long time over low ish heat.

cook eat fret,
you flatter me, that would be aweswome!

trig,
thanks for the advice and the links, but I'm not sure if were talking about the same thing. I'm not really saying fat is flavor, rather, I'm saying fat is an incredible medium for carrying flavors.

Trig said...

No, I understood what you meant, Nick. "Fat is flavour" implies that fat carries flavour molecules, not that it has intrinsic flavour. But it's just one of several mechanisms for transporting flavour experiences and few are limited to the taste buds. I don't know if you did this sort of thing in school science, but I found it really interesting. Can you tell peanut butter from cream cheese?