When a food critic turns the poison pen on herself

Caramel crumb bars December 10, 2008

Filed under: Cookies,Disaster cakes — crummb @ 12:49 am
Tags: , , ,


BEFORE you think I’m still on a rampage against Nick Malgieri, let me say right now that I had actually planned an ending to this post. And it reads: “You’re forgiven, Mr Malgieri.”

See, I’m reviewing his latest cookbook The Modern Baker for the newspaper and I can’t possibly shred it to smithereens just because his caramel recipe was a dud (read drama here). Maybe that recipe was the only blip in an otherwise faultless tome of culinary mastery and genius.

So to be fair, I decided to try another recipe from the book. And to up his chances for salvation, I chose a cookie recipe because, unlike cakes, cookies are pretty much fail-proof. I also chose to make Caramel Crumb Bars because I love caramel, and its success would obliterate all hard feelings (and hard sugar on my saucepan) I have towards the man after my previous caramel outing with him.

I would wax poetic about how buttery the cookie base was, how creamy the caramel on top, and how crispy the crumble bits sprinkled all over. Then, I would declare with big-hearted, seam-busting goodwill, “You’re forgiven, Mr Malgieri.”

Erm, it is not to be.

First, his recipe called for too little flour to be rubbed into the dough to make the crumble. Second, his instructions for caramel (yes, again!) was suspect. The butter, condensed milk, brown sugar and vanilla concoction has to be heated over an extremely low flame. No warning was given so my caramel burnt and sprouted unsightly brown specks. Furthermore, his 30-minute baking time was way too short. The cookie base emerged undercooked and I had to pop them back in for another 20. By the time the base was cooked, the caramel was hard and gluey. I flossed really hard that night.

It pains my heart, Mr Malgieri. But you leave me no choice:

Crummb 3, Malgieri 0